Update on BatteryGeek

This is a follow-up to my last review of BatteryGeek.

On September 15th Sean from BatteryGeek contacted me about a review of his battery pack I’d posted on Amazon. He was "painfully disappointed" about it and wasn’t sure where the ball was dropped but suspected that their relocation from Texas to Oregon was the source of the customer service problems I’d experienced.

He asked if I would "kindly consider removing your negative amazon.com feedback and whatever other negative comments you have left for my company and products anywhere else on the web."

That was a bit much to ask but I said I’d be willing to re-run my tests and amend my reviews with the latest information.

With that in mind I began a series of reasonably careful tests to see both how much time I could squeeze out of the pack and how little. At each stage I let Sean know how the test had fared and solicited his feedback.

My general usage on my laptop involves email, text file editing and web browsing. There isn’t a lot of disk access and I rarely use the CD-ROM drive (IE, almost never). In other words, my power needs are minimal. On the other hand my Averatec C3500 uses an AMD Athlon XM-M processor which runs quite hot and that’s why I use a coolpad. In general I keep power consumption as low as possible even when I’m running off wall power just to keep the machine running cooler.

The one test I ran that was atypical was test 3 where there was very regular Ethernet network traffic going while I was running a program that was in constant communication with another PC on my local network. I also had the screen brightness turned up to 66% which is more than three times higher than I normally leave it.

Test 1

Started 7:53am, full charge, laptop battery removed, screen brightness at 12% (the controls have 15 steps above "off" but I’m using % for clarity), coolpad connected, 802.11b radio off, Ethernet connection on. Audio turned off. Screen set to turn off after 1 minute. Speedswitch set for max battery. Computer died ~1:00pm – 5hrs 10 minutes runtime.

This test wasn’t much fun since there was no battery backup but Sean had asked if I could try running without the internal battery and so I did. I suspect that he’s had problems with people running their computers off the pack with a dead internal battery and complaining about short runtimes on the pack. This makes sense as with the computer pulling power from the pack to run the CPU as well as charge the internal battery you’d see quite shorter runtimes. I always use the pack with a fully charged internal battery for just this reason.

Performance wasn’t great since the machine was running at 400MHz the entire time but since I was doing text editing and browsing during the testing period, it wasn’t that bad either.

Note that I had stepped away from my desk when the computer died so I’ve given the pack the benefit of the doubt and estimated the runtime on the high end.

Test 2

Basically the same as test 1 except that for this test the 802.11 radio was used instead of the 10/100 Ethernet connection, the internal battery was hooked up and the screen was set slightly brighter. This time the computer ran for 5hrs before switching over to the internal battery.

Test 3

Test started 11:10am Sept 23, 802 off, Ethernet on, usb mouse, coolpad, screen brightness at 66%, dynamic switching, audio off, screen off in 1 minute, regular network traffic on the Ethernet line
Battery died at 3:30pm – 4hrs 20 minutes.

Test 4

No USB connections, 802 on, 100bt off, screen brightness at 20%, internal battery connected, speedswitch at max battery, audio off, screen off in 1 minute. This is basically the same test as #2 except that the coolpad isn’t connected. Started at 10:10pm Sept 24 battery died at 2:40am Sep 25 – 4 hrs 30 minutes

This result was interesting. It’s clear that running with the coolpad increases runtime by allowing the computer to run cooler.

Summary

By turning everything down as low as possible I can squeeze five hours out of the battery pack. It’s at the low end of the 5-7 hour estimate given by Sean when I placed my order so I’m not thrilled by that. Especially since Sean’s original estimates were based on my purchasing the 15-21-118 battery pack which is rated at 118WH rather than 130WH for the model 130 which is what I actually received.

During this testing I’ve been regularly sending the results back to Sean at BatteryGeek and he still hasn’t come out and said why his original estimate was so much higher than the actual runtimes. The best he’s done is say "My theory is that 5 hours is all that you will be able to get out of this battery. Based on your test the reason why you are getting less than 5 hours is obviously because of your USB mouse & coolpad running along with your screen set at the brighter level. Also, I know that having the Palm connected does also reduce your run time however minimally."

To me, those statements aren’t much different than his saying "I expect you’ll get the runtime you’re getting". This is the rough equivalent of buying a car that’s advertised to get 35mpg, actually getting 30mpg and having the salesman respond with "yep, that’s the best I’d expect." Add to that the fact that running with the coolpad actually extends by runtime and it seems like his response was simply off the cuff.

With an estimate of 5-7 hours I expected that in power saving mode I’d get at least something close to the middle of that range rather than the low end. In an ideal world I’d expect that I’d get 7 hours in power saving mode and 5 when running in "who cares about conservation!" mode.

So, would I recommend BatteryGeek? I’d have to say I would with reservations. In my opinion their customer support went from abominable to barely acceptable with Sean’s recent attention but given that he still hasn’t responded to the differences in estimated vs actual runtime (and their web site claims 4-10+ hours of additional runtime with this battery) I’d recommend that if you’re going to buy a pack from BatteryGeek, ignore their estimates and get the biggest pack you can afford. If you’re lucky you’ll get something over twice what you’re used to.

Originally posted 2005-09-28 13:00

Updated: 2005-10-01 05:05

Two days before this update was posted I sent an email to Sean at BatteryGeek with a copy of the update attached and let him know when the update was scheduled to go live.

I didn’t receive a reply.

A day after the update went live I received an email from Sean merely asking that I remove the batteryGeek email addresses from the original review.

Amazing.

Updated: 2006-01-22 12:10pm

Apparently BatteryGeek has also been operating under the name New Laptop Batteries for some time now. Beware. They’re the same people, same products and I’m sure exhibit the same behavior.

Author: Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

32 thoughts on “Update on BatteryGeek”

  1. I have been trying to contact BatteryGeek.net for ten days now, via 4 emails and 2 calls to the order center. They do NOT offer a complaints line, nor a real customers service telephone number. They only give out the 3rd party “give us your card number” order line.

    TERRIBLE.

    1. This is a note to William and Giordano
      and Michael Harrison as well…
      You slander a fine home based company–their customer service is excellent and now that they have expanded have added a fine customer service rep located in Texas. If you asked for a replacement you would have received one, but it is apparent from your epistles that you are more interested, Michael, in a slam dunk disguised in technical garble, all your testing, all your naming in lowers caps speaks of malicious internet posting. Your website, huh?, well I was just trying to explain how much I have gained from the expertise, patience, and good customer service and prompt deliveries received from batterygeek. And you don’t think Sean should have asked that you remove his company name from your diatribes? All of you: low running examples of ongoing agendas. Wouldn’t you say? Get over yourselves.

      1. Ted,
        There’s no “low running agenda.” I received bad service from BatteryGeek and let my readers know. Other people have chimed in to say the same and some like yourself have noted that they’ve received good service.
        It’s all part of a free exchange of information.
        I have no idea what you mean by “naming in lowers caps” as “malicious internet posting.” though.
        You also write as though we’ve corresponded before. Have we?

    2. I gotta say I am worried as hell. The exact thing happened to me when I bought a laptop mount for my car. They send you the product, it doesn’t work, you send it back- and then you never hear from anyone again. It was ok to lose 100$ laptopmount- but a 300$ batterygeeks powerstation !!!
      my on off switch got stuck on, I asked them for a return or refund- they said I could only return it for exchange of credit, their website says that if you are not satisfied then you can get your money back. That’s a lie. If these jokers don’t answer the phone I am gonna file a suit with small claims, and I am gonna try and get all the dissatified customers together and form a coalition, we are gonna file suit together…. I have been emailing and calling them for 2 weeks now and answer phone everytime. Gonna give it till the end of the week. I am not gonna be f@$ked by another cowboy Internet scam artist loser like batterygeeek or autolaptopstands.com one more time….. Bbb here I come, small claims here I come, campaign to raise awareness of batterygeek.net malpractice here I come….

  2. After over two weeks, I got my powerpack 130. I bought this specifically because they personally recommended it based on what type of laptop I have. Well, their ‘personal recommendation’ was BS: none of the 12 plugs were the right one for my laptop. In fact, because I stupidly tried various plugs that were not the right size, even my normal power plug doesn’t fit right anymore (some plugs were apparently too large and stretched out my female plug).

    I am returning this. I do not recommend this product. I do not recommend this company. They are amateurs. I wish them well, and if they get their act together and run a more professional business with better customer service and actual individual attention, perhaps I would reconsider.

  3. This is the biggest load of crap I’ve seen in a long time. It appears to me that BatteryGeek is a small-time company with delusions and a total inability to follow through when it comes to real customer service.
    Offering to take a product back doesn’t fix the inaccurate claims made before the sale. Now many people are getting burned by BatteryGeek and we’re just not hearing about it because the complaints disappear? There were some products from BatteryGeek on Amazon with several complaints but now they’re gone.

  4. Hi guys. I bought a battery from Battery Geek and although I did have a problem it was handled very well by Battery Geek and I personally would recommend them based on my experience. I had a problem with the original connectors that were sent with my battery not fitting my laptop but after notifying them, they 2 day aired me an extended set of connectors free of charge and then it worked just fine. For me at least this was very impressive service. Thanks guys.

  5. Hey Michael, I love your web site and appreciage your efforts at finding consumer related facts, keep up the Great work! I wish I knew how this battery stuff worked being I bought a BG 18-21-111 (111 watt hour) battery from Battery Geek 2 weeks ago for my 19 Volt HP Compaq Presario laptop and am getting about 6 hours of runtime per charge without my internal battery (I take it out when I use the Battery Geek battery). Granted I only use word processing and internet, but do not know what factors there are for runtimes. I am happy with the performance of my Battery Geek battery but am just wondering what effects runtimes.

    1. It appears that the main page is up but the linked pages are all gone at the moment. Probably just a server hiccup

  6. I think batterygeek products are GREAT products. They work very well and their response time is AWESOME. I recently purchased the battery for my HP Laptop and it works great for me. I travel a lot and back up helps me work for longer.

    They are highly recommended.

  7. Hi Michael,

    You responded to a short entry on my blog about BatteryGeek. I edited it a bit and suggested that maybe the homemade power units were possibly better.

    But this morning I had this appear on my blog from anonymous.

    “Thank you MrLithic for your interesting review. A few months ago I picked up the Battery Geek GeekPod 100 battery pack and this thing has been a lifesaver for me. I own a Video iPod and as far as run time goes, i’m getting 100+ hours of audio run time and a countless number of hours of video run time. I also picked up thier Foreign Travel Adapter Plug for only $10 which allows me to plug into all international outlets most importantly for me the U.K. outlets since this is where I travel to frequently. Also, just recently I lost my iPod cable and the same day I called them to get a replacement, they sent me out a brand new one free of charge which I received the very next day. Bravo for thier awesome display of excellent customer service.”

    This is getting a bit nuts. I appears that BatteryGeek are googling for their name and salting the blogs with wonderful statements.

    1. I too have doubt about the authenticity of some of the favorable reviews here and on other blogs.
      As I mentioned in email I’m working on an article covering what I’ve found and hope to have it out “soon”

    2. My god… I thought it was just me being paranoid. This is coming at an extremely interesting time as I’m evaluating external batteries for my company’s technical sales folk and while doing all this research, I got this eerie feeling something seemed amiss every time I read a BatteryGeek review. MrLithic’s comments are EXACTLY what I’ve been suspecting… the reviews on all the sites for BatteryGeek are so overly positive, they border on the absurd. I simply can’t see myself or any of my associates ever writing the kind of comments/reviews I’m reading in these ‘supposed reviews’ – they all sound so damned unreal and Pollyanna-ish… just as if they were the result of some sort of guerilla marketing campaign to salt any place someone might read a review of BatteryGeek’s products.

      One of the things that really seems to stand out is that BatteryGeek miraculously manages to get these incredibly-sparkling minty-fresh reviews posted about them under very generic names… and their competitors don’t have even a single review. And I’m talking about much longer lived external battery products like Valence, Electrovaya, and Laptops for Less.

      Here’s an experiment:
      1) Go to SEARCH.MSN.COM and search for “valence n-charge”. Look at the first paid for ad on the right: “Different than VALENCE N-CHARGE”… which is a link to http://www.batterygeek.net.
      2) Go to GOOGLE.COM and do the same thing. Look at the sponsored links: Yep – “Batterygeek.net”.
      3) Go to YAHOO.COM. Yep. You guessed it.

      1. I am not sure but as a user my experience with them was great in terms of product and customer service.

        They are responsive and fast in response.

        1. hi,we produce battery pack much better than batterygeek.Our website is http://www.owellpower.com

          Our battery battery had made the charging control in the house,so we use AC ADAPTER instead of AC CAHRGER.And our battery can share the same adapter of your laptops ,so surely,you can save once additional AC adapter ‘s price and weight when you purchase.

  8. What do you normally think when you get a sales call and the person on the other end says he is responding to a request you made online? Many people would respond that the person made a mistake, ask to be taken out of their database and forget about it.

  9. While looking through my server logs I found that the person from this story is still periodically checking my site, so I did another search on the web for stories talking about Battery Geek and Dragon’s Eye.
    Even the Better Business Bureau isn’t fond

  10. I received a battery for my mac laptop. Lasted a few weeks. Then the on off button got stuck in the on position. I notified them of the problem and sent my battery back after they gave me an email with an rma number. I then tried calling them for two weeks. Have not been able to get in touch with anyone, voicemail. I have a feeling these guys have done a cut and run like another company i used for laptop mounts for the car. They told me to f myself and ran with my money. That was one hundred dollars. This battery is 300$ or so. If they do that i am gonna be real angry.

    1. Dear Simon,I used work for batterygeek’s suppliery in China.The usual way to get a solution is to contact batterygeek.Tell them the series code first ,as you know products have one year guarantee.Series code is tracking No.Then told them the defective performance.Usually.BG will pass the defective performace to their supplier in China,and engineer of their suppplier will guide them by E-mail according to the performance.Is this way,they can analyse if which part is wrong,and will told you send back for a new one if this products really have problem.All of batterygeek notebook battery has an on/off button,you need to press it constantly 3-6sec to start the battery output system. I think they will get back to your claim soon.Frankly,I don’t like voice phone either,I hate it.

      If you want to buy battery directly from manufacturer in China ,you can contact skype:kathy_yuan80
      or sales@owellpower.com

      1. Just a note about their “Phone”. It is disconnected folks. I have been trying to contact them for a part for 7 weeks and day or night, any time AM or PM the msg says “All circuits are busy, please try you call again later etc etc” well,I guess by later they mean 2011 or never. They don’t answer emails and can’t get the part I need from them so I will look elsewhere!

  11. Battery Geek is a SCAM!! I ordered a battery from them and they charged me an extra $50 on top of what they were supposed to. I was told my item would ship NEXT DAY and the extra $50 charge would be adjusted. 15 DAYS LATER and after i sent many emails with no response, i called them until I reached someone. They told me that the battery was on back order and they promised to ship it by the next day because the shipment would be in by then. Thee days later I had not heard anything from them. I checked my credit card account online and it said that they had charged my credit card the same day I made the order EVEN THOUGH they are not supposed to charge a card until the item is shipped. I then called again a nd they said it was still on back order. At this point i told them to cancel my order through phone as well as email. They said it was cancelled and I was refunded. One week later I still had not received a refund. At this point I called again and they promised me that they fixed the issue and i would receive my refund within 1-3 business days. Now it is 8 business days later with NO refund. I called my credit card company about this a couple weeks ago because i suspected foul play and today they officially completed a dispute with batterygeek and my credit card company (NOT Batterygook) refunded me.

    Stay away from them, it’s a scam!

    1. So, I am a fashion photographer and need to be able to power my laptop all day. I shoot tethered to the laptop and currently use four Apple MacBook batteries to get the job done. I am constantly charging batteries in the motor home to keep up. I was excited to hear that someone made a battery that would power my laptop all day. Is there any other External Batteries on the market that I can consider. I looked at the ACB UPB90 but I don’t think that they make an Apple power connector. Anyone have a suggestion?

      Thanks!

  12. My battery is now a dead brick under warranty. I too am finding no one answering my emails and finding the number disconnected. Spent hundreds, too.

  13. Update: So after following someone else’s advice and outlining legal actions I would take against Sean Murray or Melissa Murry or whomever is actually running this company (I even got a package from another Murray in Texas!), I was finally given a replacement battery. This battery, too, was a brick in a matter of days, despite the most careful treatment by me. I couldn’t believe it.

    I wrote and complained and got no response. Now I’ve revived my plan to take action against these people, among other things, by sending letters to the state attorneys of Oregon and Texas.

    I’m getting childish threats my Mr Murray, one that he’s going to report me, the customer, to authories, and the other one insulting me for not calling him. Please, anyone, find me a visible phone number for this company anywhere and I’ll gladly call them.

    Unbelievable. Avoid this company at all costs. Definitely don’t buy their older battery product. It appears to be completely defective after receiving 2 bricks.

    1. Battery Geek is a Scam! Bougtht battery in 2008. Sent it back at Sean’s request and never recieved a new one back. Would feel safer sending my money to be invested by the Iraqi Government.

      1. I had the worst experience with Battery Geek. Their customer service was by far the worst I had experienced. I would highly recommend Tekkeon battery instead. I ordered two from newegg and has been working well for me. I use it for my Asus netbook and for cell phone.

  14. In fairness, I see that the company is now listing phone numbers again. I’ll call them and report what happens.

    phone: 512-692-6837

    toll-free phone: 1-888-547-9405

  15. They are Crooks ..I ordered several batteries from them. When they didn’t work They wouldn’t answer my calls…. They need to be in jail.

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