With the advent of the wireless controller, gamers everywhere have been seeking the best, most affordable way to keep these controllers powered up whenever they are playing. Fortunately, coming on the heels of their popular Intercooler, Nyko has expanded its line of Xbox 360 accessory offerings just in time for the Holidays. The two latest additions, the Nyko Power Kit 360 and the Nyko Charge Station 360, are both designed to make sure your Xbox 360 wireless controllers never are out of battery life. Having used rechargeable batteries user since I first powered up my 360, I was eager to see how the NiMH units would perform.
Nyko Power Kit 360
The Nyko Power Kit 360 is very similar to the Microsoft branded Play & Charge Kit. Each product is designed to allow you to plug your wireless controller into a USB port on the 360 and charge the NiMH battery while continuing to play. However, the Nyko Power Kit 360 retails for $16.99 which is $3.00 less than the Microsoft version.
The Power Kit 360 comes packaged with an 11' long USB charge cable and a NiMH Battery pack. A couple things jumped out when I was hooking it up. The first was how snug (in a good way) the NiMH battery fit into the Wireless Controllers battery slot. This was different from the plain 'AA' battery pack, which always felt loose and like it could pop out. The other thing that grabbed my attention was how the 11' of cord length was more than ample for my set-up. After having the freedom of wireless for so long, I wasn't sure how being tied to a cord would impact my gaming. I can say that 11' of length left me with plenty of slack to comfortably sit on my couch and not interfere with my play.
The NiMH battery pack that accompanies the Power Kit 360 is advertised as holding up to 25 hours of battery life on a full charge. Over a two-week period, I was able to get close to 22 hours of gameplay before the pack ran out of juice. While not quite the 25 hours advertised, the two-week interval and countless power-ups more than likely bled off some battery life that would have put it close to 25 hours.
One item to note is that the Xbox 360 cooling fan does not immediately power off with the console when the Power Kit 360 is attached. This is expected though, as power is still moving through the Xbox 360 to charge the controller, and the system fans remain on to cool the unit. Microsoft's Play and Charge kit causes the same reaction.
Nyko Charge Station 360
Much like the Power Kit 360, the Charge Station 360 mirrors the functionality of a Microsoft branded product called the Quic Charge Kit. And while they retail for the same price ($29.99), the Nyko Charge Station 360 offers one additional NiMH battery included, making it a sound value.
The Charge Station 360 comes packaged with a Dual Port rapid battery Charger and the aforementioned two (2) NiMH Battery Packs. The charger base is sleek and low profile, sporting the familiar Nyko logo and colors as well as two battery bays, two LED indicator lights and a chrome bottom plate. It utilizes a standard plug, and can charge any place there is an outlet.
The visual battery indicators (LED Lights) are easy to understand, with a green display for charged and red for charging. The recharging pace claimed is two hours for a single battery and four hours for two, and testing confirmed these time frames were accurate. The NiMH batteries are identical to the one included with the Power Kit 360, and the testing results were very similar. After taking about 2 hours to fully charge, the controller was put through close to 17 hours of play over a four-day period and held the charge well.
The end result is very good, as both of these solutions from Nyko not only do the job as advertised, but are easier on the budget than the competition. If Santa has anyone on his list that needs an extra battery and charging system for the Holidays, the Nyko products would have to be a strong consideration. Both the Power Kit 360 and Charge Station 360 can be purchased directly from Nyko's Website (redirected to participating retailers), or at major retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City.
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