One of our last appointments at CES was with the good folks over at Nyko. Chuck, John and I were able to get some hands-on demos and a look-see at the Nyko product lines for the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. To say we came away impressed would be a mild understatement. Below are some of the info about the products and our impressions......
The majority of of the Nyko product line for the Xbox 360 has already been released, so we wont go into great detail. However, a few items we hadn't yet seen were the Multi-Reader 360 and the Zero controller (debuting) for the Xbox 360.
The Multi-reader 360 just screams flexibility. It supports up to 3 USB devices, can read the four most common flash memory (Smart Media, Compact Flash, Sony Memory Stick and Secure Digital) and is powered by the USB connection. While it may look a little funky with so many things connected, it would allow someone to use up to four wired controllers, listen to music through a MP3 player or view photos and play music off a memory card. This looks to be a good product if your Xbox 360 is reaching maximum connectivity.
The Zero controller for Xbox 360 (debuting at the show) is a very slick unit we were fortunate enough to demo at the show with Call of Duty 3. A couple of design standouts were the grip and wireless connectivity. The Zero for 360 is designed to allow a gamer with any sized hands to be able to use the unit in comfort. A great example is that the three of us all have different sized hands and held the Zero at different pressure points, but were in agreement that it fit into our hands naturally. The fact that the Zero is wireless normally wouldn't be anything to get excited about, but with this being the first third-party controller for the 360 that doesn't need a cord to the console is a major breakthrough. A rechargeable battery pack and USB charging cable complete the package.
With the launch of the Nintendo Wii less than two months in the past, Nyko has a large quantity of products available that we were able to take a look at. The Wii product line features the ChargeStation, HD-Link and Wireless sensor Bar. The DS products included the ProPoint Pack and the ChargerGrip Lite.
The ChargeStation for Wii looks to be a great add-on for any Wii owner. It includes two NiMH batteries with grips and recessed contact points and a vertical dock. While inspecting it, the thing that caught my eye immediately was the addition of the rubberized non-slip grips. Not only did it make the Wii-mote fit more naturally in my hand, I felt more comfortable with my motions while using it on bowling. The dock itself allows two Wii-motes to sit in an upright position begging to be grabbed quickly and put to use. I also appreciated the recessed contact point on the back, which should help prevent corrosion.
Another Nyko product that is a smart buy looks to be the HD-Link for Wii. It appears to be solidly built with an ideal 8' length and comes in at $10 cheaper than the official Wii version.
A cool addition to the lineup was the Wireless Sensor Bar for the Wii. It operates off four 'AA' batteries and will give you approximately 30 hours of use. It appears to be a bit heftier than the official Wii bar (a good thing) and extends the range to 25 feet. It will also alert users when running low on battery and has an auto shut off feature to conserve juice.
The ProPoint Pack for DS included a pair of internally lit stylus that were the thickness of a large pen. They had snappy neon colors and were comfortable to grip.
The Charger Grip Lite for the DS is a slick product that not only allows up to 8 hours of additional gameplay to your DS with the lithium-ion battery, but adds a comfortable grip (similar to a console controller) to the bottom of the DS. When I picked it up, the unit felt balanced and comfortable in my hands and would definitely be of help during marathon game play. The best thing is that it works with your existing DS lite charger.
Like the Wii, the Playstation 3 is only a couple months old, but Nyko has made a great effort in providing some unique and quality solutions available to gamers. The unveiling of the Zero for PS3 was the big catch, but the rest of the product line has some good looking accessories including the Dual Charger, ChargeBase, Wireless Headset, Play adapter and the Intercooler.
The PS3 Zero Controller appears to be a solid option for those looking for a wireless third-party controller. It's design is similar to the PS2 version including wireless connectivity and the aluminum panels to help dissipate heat. While handling it, the comfort factor was evident as it just felt right in my hands. Most of what I mentioned in the Xbox 360 impressions holds true for the PS3 version including a rechargeable battery pack and USB charging cable.
One of the more practical products was the Dual Charger for the PS3. This device allows you to charge your PS3 controllers with a USB connection without having to leave your PS3 on. By plugging the unit into a wall outlet, the PS3 can be powered off, yet your controllers are ready to roll when you are. It can also charge any other device that utilizes USB connections for charging.
My personal favorite was the Charge Base for PS3. This handy device allows up to four PS3 controllers to charge at one time. It sits on a flat surface and the design allows for quick grab-and-go when you need a controller and are ready to game. It appears to be solidly built, and the design not only looks cool, but is extremely practical.
Nyko also introduced a Bluetooth enabled Wireless Headset for the PS3. It was lightweight and appeared to fit comfortably in the ear. It is to have 8 hours of battery life while utilizing Bluetooth 2.0 technology.
The Play Adapter for PS3 is a unique piece of equipment that is designed to allow your PS2 peripherals to hook up to your PS3. This would include Racing Wheels and the Guitar Hero controllers. It was built sturdy enough and appears to be the perfect gadget to bridge last-gen with Next-gen. by the way, the Nyko representatives said it will support the Guitar Hero II wireless controllers.
The last PS3 product we took a look at was the Intercooler. Much like its Xbox 360 cousin, the Intercooler for the PS3 passed the eyeball and touch tests. At first glance, the Intercooler was all but invisible, with the finish and design allowing it morph right into the PS3 chassis. We all had to take a closer look to figure out where the PS3 ended and the intercooler began. As for how it well it does its job....we all agreed that the Intercooler removed a significant amount of heat off the PS3 units and made a noticeable temperature difference when we did comparison touches (no jokes please!).
Not to be forgotten, Nyko had available the FrontMan Wireless Guitar and the Zero controller for the PS2. These products were great additions to the Playstation 2 console and laid the frame work for the Next-gen platforms to have their own more refined versions.
GamingNexus.com plans to provide full reviews on these products as they become available from Nyko.