Editors' note: Thanks to a calculation error, the cost per minute of life for the Apple batteries had to be adjusted down to 8.25 cents after this story was posted. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Last year I posted aand showed how they compared with each other in terms of battery life. The testing methodology I used last year, although only slightly complex, was very easy to implement. By turning on three identical flashlights, I drained two AA batteries from each of the three brands while recording the whole process with a Webcam.
I then went back to the recorded video and pinpointed the time each flashlight died. Wash, rinse, and repeat two more times and there were my results. Like I said, easy.
Easy, but perhaps not as satisfying as I'd hoped. A few users, thoughtful enough to comment, suggested some alternative tests. One of which was to use a point-and-shoot camera, set it to record video, and drain the batteries. Then check the video length of the recorded video to yield the battery life duration. So simple! This would even be easier and simpler than the flashlight tests.
One huge problem with that method, which we'll get to later.