Updated 17 Aug 2016

Panasonic

Eneloop (blue) 3MCCE/4BA

Eneloop (blue) 3MCCE/4BA
Consumer score
SCORE
Avg price

$6.85

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Test results

Overall score
78
Battery life
?/10
Long term endurance
?/10
Charge retention
?/10
Ruggedness
?/10

Good points

  • Good battery life per use.
  • Very good long-term endurance.
  • OK charge retention.
  • Exceptionally rugged construction.

But

(No obvious bad points.)

Review

The two versions of Panasonic’s Eneloop rechargeable AAs are the clear-cut winners in our test, though they each represent a trade-off between long-term endurance (the amount of charge/discharge cycles before they need replacing) and their average life per use.

The slightly more expensive Eneloop Pro (2550mAh) has a longer average run-time than the standard Eneloop (2100mAh), at 118 minutes and 92 minutes respectively. However, the cheaper Eneloop endured 225 charge/discharge cycles before failure, more than twice as many as the Pro version.

The upshot is the Eneloop Pro is the best option for applications like outdoor photography, where you need your devices to run for as long as possible and don’t have ready access to a charger. But if you’re OK with slightly shorter run-times, as long as you’re getting the most value (i.e. total lifetime energy) out of each battery, then your best bet is the cheaper Eneloop in the blue-pack.

Like all rechargeables, neither battery is a good option for your survival kit: Panasonic claims 85 percent annual charge retention for the Pro, and 65 percent for the blue pack. In our self-discharge test both batteries achieved the equivalent yearly charge retention of only 54 to 55 percent.

NOTE: Panasonic Eneloop AAA also available in 950mAh pro version or 800mAh for the blue pack.

How we test

We place the batteries in a computer-controlled test rig that charges them, then discharges them at a rate equivalent to the demand of a high-drain device — like a remote-controlled car. Once the cell voltage reaches 1.0V, equivalent to empty for most power-hungry devices, the rig charges them again.

  • We judge each battery’s long term endurance by measuring how many cycles until its capacity falls to half its initial value.
  • The battery’s average capacity over the amount of charge/discharge cycles before failure gives our battery life per use score.
  • Rechargeable batteries gradually lose charge while sitting idle. We measured this rate of “self-discharge” for each battery to get our charge retention in storage score.
  • We also look at the ruggedness of each battery’s construction by placing them in a rotating cylinder (a bit like a gentle tumble-dryer) for 24 hours, before taking them out and sorting them from least to most damaged.

Key data

Product

Avg price
$6.85

Specifications

Type
NiMH
Cycles to failure
225
Total lifetime capacity (mAh)
420000
Measured initial capacity (mAh)
2060
Average capacity (mAh)
1651
Average discharge time (min)
92
Annual charge loss in storage (%)
46