Though a casual user by CPF standards, I'm a longtime rechargeable fan and I'm sold on Eneloops as the best rechargeables ever. I had a very pleasant finding this weekend and wanted to share it with the forum.
Saturday, I decided to refresh/ analyze some Eneloop AAA's and AA's I've had since May of '08. I have two sets of AAA's I use weekly around the year in a Princeton EOS for a couple of hours per week and three sets of AAs for general use - flashlights, portable radios, etc.
I put the batteries in my Maha charger for a refresh and I was absolutely astonished to find the AAA's showed a capacity of ~825 MAh (rated 800) and the AA's showed ~1945 MAh / 2000 rating after nearly two years of use.
I've been using rechargeables since the eighties and I've tried a bunch of brands over the years. I'll pick up a half dozen of whatever the hot brand du jour is - Sanyos, Panasonics, Powerex, etc. but they never seem to live up to my expectations; capacity fades quickly or they won't hold a charge after a year or so.
It always seems when I need a fresh battery, my rechargeable let me down. (Though I'm not a hardcore user by CPF standards - I bought only one new light in the past year - I do take care of my cells.)
For me, the Eneloops do exactly what I want and when I need them to.
What I'm learning is that consistency and reliability are much more important to me than who wins the ultimate capacity shoot-out. A battery may have great specs on paper but when I pull the battery out to use and find it has self discharged or the cells are no longer matched, who cares.
I think Eneloop has the right formula; perhaps they don't have the highest capacity but you can count on them when you need them and they will perform as promised. That's a winning formula for me.
Though I hope there's no need to buy any replacements soon, if anyone asks my opinion, I point them straight to the Eneloop rack.