First, the Duracell. My particular Duracell is a vintage of JAN2000. It has a classic presentation, both simple and elegant. Upon tasting, it gives a nice, balanced jolt. It's moderately dry, without an overbearing tannic aftertaste. I can't think of any piece of equipment that this would not go well with, which is why it has been a choice of millions. I would recommend Duracell for more conservative people who are not looking to be at the front lines of battery technology and style. Keep in mind that it's always a good fallback when stuck for a choice.
The Energizer has a bold, flashy presentation. A vintage JAN99, it's a little too pretentious for my taste. Upon first taste, what is most noticeable is its sweetness, which is slightly overbearing. But it makes up for that with a nice buzzy aftertaste. I would recommend this for use with sugary sweet devices, such as Baby Wets-A-Lot or mechanical pink bunnies. Maybe Energizer is as uniquely familiar with their product as I am.
The Radio Shack "Super" Alkaline doesn't live up to its name. For its level of acidity, it severely lacks the appropriate fruity flavor. It was also substantially more mild than the other two. I'm tempted to guess it actually comes in at around 8.5 volts. For the record, it's a MAR2000 vintage, the second freshest of the bunch, yet it didn't live up to its freshness expectation. This is not the type of battery that you waste by throwing it away, but it's not a first choice. If you don't hold your expectations of it too high, it might come through in a blackout or natural disaster.
The Panasonic does not have a vintage. Its presentation is bland and so is its taste. It's mediocre and I shed no tears that it's not available for retail sale. If you find one of these in a device you bought that is "battery included", don't panic—use it until you can find a replacement.
The ProCell, vintage JAN99 has a gentle presentation. It has the same gold black and silver coloring as the Duracell, yet with a much less corporate image. This will appeal to those who have had their fill of corporate slickness. It also refers to itself as "Professional." Can you think of any professional electronic equipment that runs on batteries? I think not. Have you noticed any other similarities between this and any of the other batteries besides its color? ProCell. Duracell. If you take the time to read the label of the ProCell you will see that its, in fact, made by Duracell and that this is just more of that advertising-weenie, corporate, pseudo-micro-brewery, bullshit that is the new sham of the Nineties. If they have to try to trick us with the packaging it can't be any better or they wouldn't need to. I'm not even going to bother trying this one; I'm going to put it in the trash with all my mail that says "CAR-RT SORT" on it.
I'm now down to the last two. The Sony, vintage JAN99 has the most colorful presentation of my selections. Going on appearance alone, it's the battery I'd most like to see when prying off the back of my favorite electronic toys. Upon tasting, this one is clearly a winner. Very pleasant and with no aftertaste, this one hits you with a wallop. This is a battery my tongue will not forget and I would recommend it to anyone.
And now we come to the Ultralife which I have been saving for last and greatly anticipating. Being a vintage 2005 (no month) it's by far the freshest battery of the seven. It's noticeably lighter than the rest and has a pleasant and elegant presentation while still staying within the traditional color scheme of most batteries. Lithium has been rumored to be one of the most exquisite sources of battery flavor, but this is the first time I've ever seen a lithium nine volt. Boy does it live up to its reputation! What a jolt! It's so strong you can still feel it after you've removed the battery from your tongue. It says on the package that it is the longest lasting battery ever. I have not yet had the opportunity to thoroughly test that claim, but I can tell you that in ten minutes of holding it to my tongue, the charge has not diminished the slightest bit. This battery is the one that lit up my day the most. Even though it is twice the price of the others, this will be my choice.
You now know my opinions on these various batteries, but there are plenty that I have not yet reviewed. Get out there and start licking so that you can find the battery that best suits your needs. If you notice any shortage of Ultralife batteries at Radio Shacks in Manhattan, you'll know I've been there because I just can't get enough! I'm interested in hearing other people's experiences with batteries. You can email me at, and in the mean time, keep on licking so you know if they'll keep ticking!    </end>
Photos taken by Greg
Illustrations by Georgia

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