We've seen plenty of attempts by third-party accessory manufacturers to revolutionize the way we charge our controllers. From cradles to docks, we've definitely tested our fair share of chargers good and bad. But perhaps the most interesting of all the charging tech we've seen comes in the form of the Psyclone TouchCharge Kit.
Instead of placing your remote in a charging cradle, the TouchCharge Kit provides you with a magnetic charging pad. You simply place the entire controller--or just the battery itself--anywhere on the surface of the pad and the built in LED light will display the status of the charging process. The TouchCharge Kit is also available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The latter comes with adapters for the controllers as its batteries are not user-removable. Conveniently enough, you can buy just the batteries or adapters for each console you need them for. Various circular metal contact dots on the bottom of these batteries and adapters allow for the charge to pass, also acting as magnetic placeholders.
The charge pad itself is about the size of a mouse pad and is covered with horizontal magnetic strips. Not only does the pad charge your batteries, it forces the items to stay in place. Even though you can choose to place the disconnected batteries on the pad themselves, we still would have liked a larger surface area for the pad. If you own adapters and batteries for all three consoles, you'll only be able to charge one controller from each simultaneously, as there's simply not enough room. Disconnect them from the controllers and you'll fit more batteries.
At first glance, the replacement Wii batteries may look similar, but there are a few changes that we noticed. First, the batteries are a bit bulkier, shifting the remote's center of gravity. When laid on a flat surface, the device see-saws a bit. This new design may affect the controller's use in adapters that fit the Wii remote, so definitely take note. We became a bit concerned that this would also affect normal gameplay (since it relies on tilting and motion), but we could not tell a difference during our testing. We did, however, like the pass-through reset button on each pack, allowing you to press the internal button without removing the battery. Lastly, we would have liked to have seen some sort of grip added to the battery packs now that it does seem to be the norm for third-party Wii remote accessories to do so.
The Wii battery replacements, like the Xbox 360 ones, have LED lights built into the batteries themselves, clearly displaying the charge progress. The lights will blink while charging and remain lit when fully powered. This process takes around 4 hours to complete. While Psyclone does not quote the amount of playtime you'll have with each charge, we were successfully able to play more than 8 hours over the course of a weekend with a single charge.
Overall we really enjoyed the TouchCharge Kit, which is priced around $50. It's definitely a unique, hassle-free way to charge your controller batteries, without the annoyance of wires and plugs. We just wish we could have gotten a larger surface area for the pad and that the batteries didn't change the shape of the controller.