An Efficient Camera Battery Charger That Lessens the Mess: XTAR SN4 Review

Having more gear is usually fun. Until you have to pack for a big trip or shoot and charge all your batteries, that is. 

Shooting with multiple cameras and having multiple spare batteries can be quite tricky. It’s not much of a huge problem, but it can be quite messy to deal with, especially when you need to charge your batteries on location or in transit. Most camera manufacturers only sell chargers with single slots for your batteries. and having to charge them one after the other can be a chore. 

Xtar SN4 modular charger with 2 dual NP-FZ100 docks

This new camera battery charger from the brand Xtar offers a convenient way to solve that problem. This uniquely designed charger might not be so sleek, but given the modularity and convenience that it offers, it is worth taking a look at. 

Inside the Box

The Xtar SN4 set comes in a padded case with dedicated pre-cut foam for the individual parts. This package may vary, however, depending on which variants you order. 

SN4 Sony kit in the padded case

The Sony variant that was sent to me contains a charging hub with one side cover, a USB-C cable, a charging brick, a charging dock for NP-F5XX and 7XX series batteries, and two docks for NP-FZ100 batteries. Material is made up of lightweight, matte black, hard plastic on the charging hub and docks. 

How It Works

The Xtar SN4 charger’s main piece is a square charging hub with four charging level indicators in front, a single USB type C input port on top, and two modular mounts on either side. The charging hub is powered by an included PD 45-watt power brick through a USB-C to USB-C cable. 

Modular contacts on the main hub (left) and docks (right)

The modular mounts on the sides of the hub are compatible with a wide selection of charging docks for a variety of camera batteries of different brands. 

Compatibility

The modular charging docks currently come in seven different variants for Sony, Canon, and Nikon cameras. For Sony cameras, the NP-F550, NP-F570, NP-F750, NP-F770, and NP-F970 batteries for larger Sony video cameras all share one NPF dock variant with two slots each dock. 

Other charging docks for Sony NP-FW50, Canon LPE6, LPE8, LPE17, and Nikon EN-EL15

Other variants are made specifically for Sony NP-FZ100 and NP-FW50 batteries, Canon LP-E6, LP-E8, and LP-E17 batteries, as well as Nikon EN-EL15 batteries. The brand also mentioned more compatible charging docks for Fujifilm and Panasonic cameras shortly. 

There are currently no available charging docks, however, for smaller and lower-capacity batteries for compact cameras such as the Sony RX100 or ZV-1 cameras. 

Charging Performance 

With both modular mounts utilized, the Xtar SN4 can charge up to four batteries of two different variants at the same time. This means that one side can be charging a different type or brand of battery than the other side.

The included power brick delivers 45 watts with a current of up to 3 A depending on the combination of currently mounted batteries. While charging speed generally varies depending on the combined capacity of the batteries being charged, it is quite impressive that the Xtar SN4 can fully charge four empty Sony NP-FZ100 batteries in under two hours. This rate may be slower for charging larger NPF batteries and faster for the smaller NP-FW50 or equivalent battery variants. 

Overall, this is a convenient solution for photographers and filmmakers who own and use multiple batteries, especially those who use different battery variants. While the included storage case is rather bulky, the charger itself takes up very little space, which makes it convenient to carry around in camera bag pockets. The PD 45-watt power brick makes the process faster and more convenient for multiple rounds of charging. 

What I Liked:

  • Nice modular design
  • Multi-brand compatibility
  • Fast charging speed

What Can Be Improved:

  • Lightweight plastic
  • Short supplied USB-C cable
  • Compatibility for compact camera batteries
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2 Comments
Jacques Cornell's picture

Looks handy. But, I've already got three Pearstone/Watson Duo chargers in my office with plates for all my various Panasonic and Sony camera batteries (five battery types in all). I got two of them used on auction for $15 each. For location charging (mainly conferences) I have two fairly fast USB-C dual-bay NP-FZ100 chargers bought new on auction for $10 each (including two NP-FZ100 batteries!) and a Watson single compact charger with swappable plates for other battery types.

This unit looks nice though, as a single solution IF it covers the main battery types you use. At first glance, I thought the price seemed a bit high, but it does include a 45W charger, which makes it seem reasonable. It doesn't, though, have adapters for anywhere near the huge range of batteries possible with the Watson system. Still, this is the most appealing such product I've seen announced in recent years.

Mike Ditz's picture

It looks pretty slick compared to my location recharging solution, a Vagabond pack and a power squid with 5 outlets and chargers...not as elegant as this ^
Right now I am in the gadgetry downsizing mode but if I was still in the buying stuff mood I'd give it try.