Hahnel UniPal Mini II review: The ultimate travel charger?

A portable universal charger to give all of your cameras extra juice on the go

Hahnel UniPal Mini II universal charger
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The UniPal Mini II is a great option for those looking for a portable battery charger that can charge up different Lithium-Ions from different camera types and models. It would also be a good option if you’ve lost your original camera charger. It is missing some noteworthy features, such as an LCD screen, ability to charge AA or AAA batteries, a supplied car charger and plug adapters for the US, UK, EU and AUS, so if you’re after those more advanced features it would be worth spending the extra on Hahnel’s Unipal Plus instead.

Pros

  • +

    Very portable

  • +

    Charges over 300 different Li-Ion batteries

  • +

    More affordable than many proprietary chargers

Cons

  • -

    No LCD to indicate charge percentage

  • -

    No USB for smartphone charging

  • -

    No ability to charge AA/AAA batteries

  • -

    Doesn’t come with power plug

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While battery technology gets better each year, we still need a way to ensure that our cameras stay topped up and full of juice. 

Hahnel UniPal Mini II: Specifications

Works with: Li-Ion
Car charger: No
LCD screen: No
USB port: Micro USB Type B
Size (WxHxD): 115x26x61mm
Weight: 72g

Hahnel’s UniPal Mini II is aimed at travel and business, claiming to be the one charger for all. To do this, the Mini II uses a pair of large thumbwheels so users can adjust the terminals to fit the positive and negative connections of “practically any” Li-Ion battery. There are two positive and negative connections to help fit batteries at different angles that might suit them best, the polarity is also automatically reversed which will help fit a wider assortment of Lithium Ion cells too. This could make it an ideal replacement for bulky chargers for your cameras, video equipment, drones, and peripherals that use removable Li-Ion cells.

Hahnel’s universal charger range has been simplified and now consists of the UniPal Mini II which we’ll cover in this review, as well as its bigger brother: the UniPal Plus which is a larger unit with an LCD display, more power plug options, and the ability to charge AA and AAA batteries. So if you're looking for a universal charger with a few extra features the UniPal Plus could be one to consider too.

(Image credit: Future)

Hahnel UniPal Mini II: Design & Handling

The design of the UniPal Mini II is very simple and straightforward. It comes with a Micro USB to draw power, though doesn’t come with a power supply plug, which Hahnel says this choice is for environmental reasons.

Unlike its more expensive sibling, the UniPal Plus, the Mini II swaps an LCD panel for an LED light which flashes to show battery status. It also omits a USB for charging phones and tablets, or a dock to charge up AA and AAA batteries, but this is the trade-off for making the Mini II a more portable and budget-friendly model.

We loved how small and portable the Mini II is. It can do the job of multiple different camera chargers so is a great way of streamlining your workflow and replacing lots of different chargers with one simple solution. It can also be a much better value buy over a proprietary charger, so could be a good choice if you’ve misplaced your original battery charger.

(Image credit: Future)

The Mini II can draw power from a 12v cigarette lighter adapter for charging in the car on the go, though it doesn’t come with an adapter so you’ll need to buy one at your own cost if you wish to do this. However, if your car has USB ports it can plug directly into these instead.

Overall, the design is foolproof and robust. Made from plastic it feels sturdy and solidly built. It also doesn’t matter which way around you put in the battery (so long as the positive and negative terminals are lined up correctly) as the polarity will automatically reverse if needed.

Hahnel UniPal Mini II: Performance

Impressively, the UniPal Mini II has similar charging times to its bigger UniPal Plus sibling, taking roughly one hour to charge 1000 mAh. 

Its small form factor and slender proportions mean it takes up hardly any space in your camera bag or luggage. This is particularly handy if you’re usually fighting for space in your camera bag with various chargers for your cameras, gimbals and drones etc, as this can replace them all, providing they run off removable Li-Ion cells with terminals that fit up with its adjustable pins.

The build quality feels strong and sturdy and although only made from plastic, we get the impression it could survive a tumble or two. 

(Image credit: Future)

One downside of the UniPal Mini II is the omission of an LCD screen. The LCD on its bigger brother, the UniPal Plus clearly shows the charge status as a percentage so you know roughly how long is left on a charge. With the Mini II, you have two simple LED lights, one which lights up red to indicate the unit is turned on, and another which flashes red to show the inserted battery is charging, then turning constant red to show when charging has finished.

There’s no ability to charge up AA/AAA batteries or from a USB port to charge up peripherals like a smartphone. Though, this is a compromise you’ll need to weigh up as it trades these features for a more portable build and lower price point.

The Mini II is powered by the included Micro USB cable, though we’d expect to see this be changed to a more modern USB-C if the product was refreshed down the road.

Hahnel UniPal Mini II: Final Verdict

The UniPal Mini II is a great option for those looking for a portable battery charger that can charge up different Lithium-Ions from different camera types and models. It would also be a good option if you’ve lost your original camera charger. Priced reasonably at around half the price of its bigger brother: the UniPal Plus, it is missing some noteworthy features, such as an LCD screen, the ability to charge AA or AAA batteries, a supplied car charger, and plug adapters for the US, UK, EU and AUS. So if you’re after those more advanced features it would be worth spending the extra on Hahnel’s Unipal Plus instead.

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Hahnel UniPal Mini II?

✅ Buy this if...

  • You want one charger for all
  • You want to keep your batteries topped up on the go via USB charging
  • You've lost your proprietary charger

🚫 Don't buy this if...

  • You only have one camera with one charger
  • You have a more advanced Hahnel UniPal Plus or UniPal Extra
  • You need AA/AAA and USB charging

Alternatives

Image

If you’re looking for a universal charger like the UniPal Mini II but with extra features then the UniPal Plus would be worth considering. It’s another universal charger from Hahnel with the same high build quality, but with added USB and AA/AAA battery charging options, plus an LCD screen that clearly shows the charge level and comes with a car adapter for on-the-go charging.

Hahnel ProCube 2

The Hahnel ProCube 2 comes in different iterations for many camera brands, including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and Fujifilm. It allows two Li-Ion batteries from your camera brand to be inserted and charged simultaneously, reducing space on your desk and helping to keep your charging station clean and tidy. It also features an LCD display to show the battery charge level of both inserted batteries and can also charge up to four AA rechargeable batteries.

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Dan Mold
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, Dan also brings his technical wizardry and editing skills to Digital Camera World. He has been writing about all aspects of photography for over 10 years, having previously served as technical writer and technical editor for Practical Photography magazine, as well as Photoshop editor on Digital Photo


Dan is an Adobe-certified Photoshop guru, making him officially a beast at post-processing – so he’s the perfect person to share tips and tricks both in-camera and in post. Able to shoot all genres, Dan provides news, techniques and tutorials on everything from portraits and landscapes to macro and wildlife, helping photographers get the most out of their cameras, lenses, filters, lighting, tripods, and, of course, editing software.