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on 23 July 2011
Buying batteries when you already know what brand (Eneloop) and size (AA) and configuration (4 batteries plus charger) that you want would seem to be a straightforward process, but because of the multiple listings/product types here, I spent longer than I had expected to simply comparing the various prices/configurations/product reviews in order to decide which item to purchase.

I ended up choosing this product listing (there were at least 2 or 3 others), and I'm glad I did.

Firstly, there are a lot of reviews of Eneloop on this wider site that mention that chargers have been sent out to UK buyers (by some sellers) which have built-in European plugs which require UK plug adaptors, making the unit bulky and often too heavy for the UK wall socket to hold up. It is not clear which sellers are doing this, but I can report that I ordered this item from the seller iCell in July 2011 and it came with a built-in UK plug, which is what I wanted.

(By the way, you can always email a seller before you buy an item to ask any questions, which I suggest you do if there is any uncertainty about what you will be receiving. I don't think any seller here should be able to sell electronic products that aren't "wired for" the UK market, but if it's happening, and apparently it happens a lot, you can still do what you can to communicate with your seller of choice to make sure that you'll get what you are expecting.)

Secondly, there is a thorough and intelligent review of one of the other similar Eneloop items on this site that says that the new model of charger is being sent out with the old model of battery. He said something about how the old batteries (if unused) stay 85% charged for one year and can be charged around 1000 times, while the new batteries stay 75% charged for three years and can be charged around 1500 times. I didn't go for the item sold on that product listing, and instead went for this item with this product listing (under which there does not seem to be any review that discusses the two battery models), but I wondered if this charger is the old or new model, and if the batteries that come with it are of the old or new model....

In case it helps anyone determine if this model of charger / model of battery is what he/she is looking for, I will describe exactly what I received from iCell today:
Charger: MQN04
Bar code: MQN04-U-3UTGA
Printed on packaging next to a drawing of a 3/4ths full battery: "After 3 years, 75%" and "up to 1500 times"
4 AA Eneloop Batteries: Voltage 1,2 V, Typ. 2000 mAh, Min. 1900 mAh

Because the packaging talks about 75% charge for 3 years, I am assuming that I have received the NEW model of battery. That probably means that I have received the new model of charger as well, but I am not motivated enough to try to find that other review to read about how to figure this out. (I was looking for a basic charger with good batteries at a decent price, so I would have been happy with the old models of the charger and batteries, as long as I got a unit with a built-in UK plug, because I have too many other electrical items that I have to use a UK plug adaptor for, which can be fiddly and a hassle.)

Thirdly: This thing is pretty heavy. Not something I'd take travelling unless I had a definite need for charging batteries on the road.

Fourthly: Although this comes with AA batteries, you can also charge up AAA Eneloop batteries in it. You can buy those separately. I believe I had an Eneloop charger in the US that also charged a third size of battery (the big type of battery that often go in American smoke alarms; I think it's called "D" or maybe "C"), but this one only takes AA and AAA.

Fifthly: The charger will not charge up only 1 battery, nor will it charge up 3 batteries. You must charge either 2 or 4 batteries at one time. There are 4 slots, and you have to fill either the right 2 or the left 2, or all 4. You can't, for example, put 1 battery in the far right slot and 1 in the far left slot. You should not put an AA and an AAA in the 2 slots on the same side of the charger, but the instructions imply that you can charge 2 AAA in the 2 slots on one side and 2 AA in the 2 slots on the other side simultaneously.

Sixthly: The instructions say that Eneloop AA batteries take approximately 10 hours to charge and Eneloop AAA batteries take approximately 8 hours to charge. It says to remove the batteries after you expect that they have charged sufficiently. The little LED light does not tell you if the batteries are charged or not -- it simply tells you that the device is on, and it has an automatic timer to turn itself off after 16 hours, at which point the little light will go off. Therefore, don't look to the little light to tell you if the batteries are charged and ready to be taken out -- that is not what this LED light is for. There is actually nothing on the unit that indicates when the batteries are charged up. It appears that they are not recommending that you routinely leave the batteries in the charger for 16 hours until it turns itself off, just that this is a cut-off mechanism in case you forget about them, kind of like many modern clothes irons which shut off if not moved for a set number of minutes.

Seventhly: It is only meant for Sanyo Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, not ordinary disposable batteries or other manufacturers' rechargeable batteries. (Apparently Sanyo makes other brands of rechargeable batteries, other than the Eneloop brand, and it seems you can use those in this charger. They require different amounts of time to charge up - details of that are in the instructions).

Eighthly: You need to put the batteries in the charger before you plug it into the outlet - don't plug it in and then add the batteries to it. Apparently the shut-off timer will not work if you add additional batteries to the unit after you have begun to charge some batteries, so make sure you have it loaded up the way you want before you plug it in for a charging session, and don't take batteries out or put batteries in while it is plugged in.

Seller ICell sent this lightening-fast to me - I got it by regular post something like 36 hours after I ordered it, even though it had to go from Guernsey to the UK mainland. The package had an import/customs label on it but had not been opened at the border.
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on 12 July 2009
I have tried many different Recharchable batteries & Charges over the years for my digital camera
But this latest one is without doubt the best ever
Delivery was Excellent.

i only wish i had found them earlyier i would not have a draw full off duds

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on 26 April 2008
The manufacture date of the batteries supplied was August 2007 and yet straight out of the box they were charged and immediately usable.

These are the batteries I've been wanting for years - they can go in the case with my flashgun and will always be charged and ready even if they've been left unused for several months.
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on 26 June 2013
I'm sure that Eneloop batteries are excellent, but this charger isn't up to the job and this combined package should be avoided. The charger is technologically from the dark ages and I'm surprised that Sanyo will put their name on it.
I don't know where to start with reviewing it:
- it charges batteries only in matching pairs, you can't charge 1 or 3 batteries, or a mixture of AA and AAA
- it is completely dumb and doesn't even try to sense when the batteries are charged, it just carries on over-charging
- there is a 16 hour safety timer, but this (according to the instructions at least) only turns off the LED indicators (I have difficulty believing this, but that is what they say)
You need to consider what this means for your batteries - some batteries will charge in 6 hours, but the charger will continue with the full charge current for a further 10 hours - it is then unclear whether the safety timer will actually shut it down or just turn off the LED.
If you've spent good money on premium batteries, then this isn't the charger you want to be using.
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on 19 December 2009
Seems nice (haven't really used it that much yet). The batteries come charged which is a nice touch.

HOWEVER! It really does come with a 2-pin european plug! And it's built in to the charger so it's not like you can even rewire it to a UK plug.

This is massively stupid for a product that is sold on*uk* and somewhat deceptive of them not to mention it in the description.
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on 4 July 2011
Just about over a year from purchasing this items, the charger stopped working.
Whilst the quality feeling remains good, the same cannot be said for its reliability.
It is a pity that the charger does not match the batteries, which remain exceptionally good.
Therefore I scored down two stars from the original 4, to reflect the hint of unreliability and for failing to match the expectation and quality of the batteries.

My feeling is of a greater disappointment, but I can only reflect my own experience, which relates to just one sample.

I had a change to deal with the supplier

Eneloop rechargeable batteries are wonderful. They easily earn a 5 star rating and are in my experience the best batteries on the market. I reviewed them separately.

This review concerns mostly the recharger.

This is the most basic unit in the manufacturer lineup. Contrary to some other reviews, it did come with a UK plug. It is designed to recharge one or two pairs of fully discharged batteries overnight. It is not a fast recharger and I don't think it is best suited to automatically recharge partially discharged batteries. Thankfully Enloop batteries do not really need top ups as they retain their charge admirably.
Notice that the unit does not allow to recharge a single battery at all. It only works with one or two pairs at the time.

Bearing this in mind this charger is a good buy, but in my view it is to unrefined to earn a full 5 star.

Detailed review
The unit can recharge both AAA and AA types of batteries, being somewhat optimised for the latter.

The charger is extremely well built and practical to use but is not particularly light (230g) and features an unsophisticated charging control mechanism. From the information on the manufacturer website this is based on a simple 16 hours timed cutoff, rather than the more refined Delta Voltage or Peak cut Control mechanisms. , I believe that the unit is equipped with two independent circuits, each designed to fully recharge a single pair of fully discharged batteries of the same kind, delivering 125 mA of constant current to each of the AA and 60 mA to each of the AAA type. Notice that the rated energy capacity for AA and AAA batteries is respectively 2000 and 800 mAh, so fully discharged AA batteries will indeed require 16 hours (2000 mAh/125 mA), whilst AAA batteries would be charged after about 13.5 hours (and needlessly sustain further current flow for another 2.5 hours).

Whilst this low charging current will put minimum stress on the batteries and will prolong their lifetime, the unit is clearly designed to recharge fully discharged batteries overnight and should be used in this way. Else it is energy and time inefficient, especially for topping up partially discharged batteries. In this case the automatic cycle will be too long, also exposing unnecessarily the batteries to the flow of current even long after they reached their full charge.
This is unlikely to cause lifecycle big problems as these batteries have a very low internal resistance, but it is certainly wasteful and time consuming.

To be fair there is good logic in this design simplicity when used with the Enloop batteries, since their excellent energy retention makes it pretty unnecessary to top them up after an even long storage time. Indeed most of the time I believe with these batteries there is no need for a fast recharger at all, as one is simply better served by a set of spare batteries.

However if such need should arise, then there are much better recharging options around including other dedicated units of the same manufacturer.

Incidentally It should be noticed that the gentle vs high current delivery (or absorption) sustained by any rechargeable battery does greatly affect its lifetime. From the manufacturer website, the Eneloop typical value is quoted at 1500 recharge cycles, but it is also rated as high as 2000 cycles for a low to medium use and as low as 500 cycles for heavy current duty.

All in all, considering that excellent batteries are included and the overall price, this package is still a 5 star buy. The charger alone however is only worth four to me since despite being well built and very cost effective it is also unrefined and inefficient when used sub-optimally. However it does the job well when used for the application it is designed for and can extend the life of the batteries.

Final note
The Eneloop batteries are never lower than 75% of their full charge capacity even when left unused for over a year. Therefore even in applications where the maximum energy capacity was required, I believe it is pointless to top them up with this recharger for more than 3-4 hours despite the LED still showing an ongoing operation.
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on 11 April 2010
Seems to do everything it promises however if you're in Ireland (or UK presumably) you have to use a European to square pin adaptor which makes it stick out of the wall quite a bit.
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on 23 June 2011
I`m very happy to use this eneloop batteries on my kids toys and my digital camera, they seem to last for ages then to charge them with this great Eneloop Charger!!! - i was unsure of the reviews stating 2Pin Plug - Happy to report mine came from iCell Media with a UK 3 Pin Moulded Plug - I recommend it to everyone to have more hours with these batteries!
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on 25 September 2012
I have purchased Sanyo batteries before from Amazon and find then excellent. This purchase was for a Church radio mic and the reliability, long life and efficient charger is of major importance. I also use the eneloop batteries in my Apple wireless keyboard and wireless mouse and find them excellent. I have recomended these battries to several friends.
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on 23 June 2008
I don't know why this product is not more widely known. Although initially expensive, they should very quickly pay for themselves. Anyone who cares about the environment, should be trying to cut down on the use of disposable batteries. I am gradually replacing all my disposables with eneloop batteries and they are working a treat. They do take a long time to recharge, but because, unlike traditional rechargeable batteries, they hold their charge, you can keep spares to replace those that have run down. WIth enough spares you need never run out of batteries again.
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