Wireless really is the only way to go if you’re a serious gamer. Gamers wishing to harness the full power of the Xbox 360 will have a large high-definition display, and must sit 6 to 8 feet away to game comfortably. Even though the wired controllers have long USB cables, they drape down from your home theater rack, begging to be pulled out by the cat, dog, or wandering toddlers.
So, you have a wireless controller, but do you have the NiMH rechargable battery? The wireless controller uses two AA alkaline batteries, and they just do not last as long as the NiMH rechargable batteries; one of the reasons for this is that many alkaline batteries supply a strong charge at first, and then the charge starts to fall off as the battery drains.
A typical AA battery (rated at 1.2 volts) will supply 1.3 to 1.4 volts at first, then 1.2 volts for a few hours, and eventually falls below 1.0 volt until it is unusable. There is probably still a decent amount of life in the battery, but just cannot be used by many high-drain devices today. In contrast, NiMH batteries supply their rated voltage consistently until they are completely drained.
The Play and Charge Kit will get you by, if you want to charge the battery overnight. Snapping this cable onto the controller and plugging it into the Xbox 360 console, provides a recharge and also allows for game use during the process. If you’re a serious gamer, you will run into the situation where the controller will start blinking, and you find yourself tethered to the console for 3-4 hours. If you have more than one wireless controller, or regularly have friends over to play games, then you need a quick charge kit and several other batteries. The controller’s battery life is prolonged by turning off vibration, but you probably want the full gaming experience.
The footprint of the Quick Charge Kit is small (approx 2.75” x 3”) and is styled in a manner to perfectly complement the Xbox 360 console. It doesn’t look out of place at a computer desk either. The indicator lights easily shows the status of a battery and the entire process only takes a few hours per each battery. With a price tag just under $30 that comes with a battery (which is usually $12 by itself), the entire package is a great value for the serious Xbox 360 gamer.
Now you can have set of fully charged batteries on deck and ready for service with Microsoft’s Quick Charge Kit. This little wonder includes the charger, a power cord, and one NiMH rechargeable battery pack. Here are a few feature highlight:
The Quick Charge Kit has some intelligence built into the unit. It features a user friendly lighting system – a red light indicates the kit is in “charging” mode and a green light indicates that batteries are “fully charged.” Additionally, the Quick Charge Kit automatically powers down after each charge is complete.
The setup is ultra-quick: simply plug the power cord into the charger unit and the other end into a power outlet. The charger is shaped just like the battery compartment of the Xbox 360 controller, meaning that the rechargeable batteries simply drop and “click” into place. The base is contoured with a notch so it is very easy to remove the batteries, and the battery’s own locking mechanism makes sure it is secured to the base.
The indicator lights at the bottom of the charger glow red when a pack is being charged, and green when it’s full and ready to go. It took just under 2 hours for one fully depleted battery pack to be recharged. Obviously, you don’t have to wait for a full charge to use the battery, but it’s nice to know you have enough juice to last through an entire night of gaming.
A 15 or 30-minute charge can get you through a few hours of gaming if you find yourself low on ammunition. When charging two batteries simultaneously, the process can last up to four hours, but in my experience didn’t last more than 3 hours.