In praise of in-camera charging
The more I get used to in-camera charging the more I prefer it. It's a controversial issue, however. Almost every test of a camera that relies on in-camera battery charging lists this aspect as a negative. A pity, they say, that the manufacturer couldn't run to the expense of providing an external charging unit. As if expernal chargers were a positive advance.
In my opinion, external charging units, which are almost always proprietary, are a royal pain. Every camera and, seemingly, every Leica, has a different charger to accommodate one specific battery. When you own several cameras it is frustrating to have to juggle all these disparate units.
Travelling, too, is a pain. Forget your charger (or pack the wrong one by mistake) and you are in trouble ― especially if you own a Leica M and have to shell out the equivalent of £140 to replace the "compact" charger. And this presumes you are travelling to somewhere civilised where there is a Leica store to hand.
It's also possible to forget your mains plug. If you do that with the Leica X Vario, which sports a charger using one of those proprietary slide-on plug attachments, you are totally scuppered. At least with most chargers, which have a two-pin socket on the side, you can buy a local cable or, even, attach an Apple plug from your iPad charger.
How much simpler is in-camera charging? Sony and Panasonic to my knowledge ― and probably other manufacturers ― have already moved over to in-camera charging and have been roundly criticised for it. Even Leica's Panasonic-made compacts, including the C and D-Lux 6, benefit from in-camera charging.
Apart from general convenience, the big advantage of in-camera charging is for travellers. No longer do you have to remember to pack a charging unit. Instead, the Micro USB cable used for your Kindle, your Android phone, your iPad keyboard or your Bose SoundLink Mini, will happily charge your camera from any USB power unit (even the USB port of your computer). And if you forget that vital cable you just walk into a mobile phone shop anywhere in the world and buy a cheap replacement.
The argument against in-camera charging is that it is inconvenient when you wish to charge a spare battery (or two) while the camera is being used. I don't see this as a problem: I simply make sure that my two (at most) batteries are fully charged overnight and I'm good to go for the day. If I desperately want an external charger I can buy one from Amazon for a few pounds.
I'm a firm advocate of in-camera charging and I am glad to see it being adopted more widely.