Here’s a neat take on the small pocket strobe or flash. Instead of forcing you to buy and manage the charging of a ton of AA batteries to use it, the Neewer TT850 is a hot-shoe strobe that uses a 12-volt li-ion battery. This not only makes charging easier, but also means you get a lot more pops per second thanks to the fact that the battery can dump 12V instead the flash instead of the paltry 6V that 4xAAs can manage.
The downside is that this costs $100, and even in the product photos it looks cheap. Then again, that does mean you can outfit yourself with a whole bagful, plus a clutch of $32 spare batteries, for the price of one Nikon SB900.
Over at Fstoppers, Austin Rogers tested one out and found that the battery managed 650 cycles compared to 200 from an SB900 packed with Eneloop batteries, and this was at full power. Seeing as how most photographers never use their strobes at 1/1 power all the time, the Neewer TT850 should last you a few shoots easily. It also recycles fast, at 1.5 seconds on full power.
Problems? No way to plug in a cable to trigger the flash. You’ll have to use a hotshoe adapter. Still, I can see these being workhorse machines if they’re reliable. What I’d really like to see is a version of the amazing Lumopro LP180 with custom batteries..