Of the trio of current-generation video game consoles, only the Nintendo Wii lacks a first-party recharging solution for its controllers. If you don't want to go through an endless stream of AA batteries, that means you'll be turning to one of the increasing number of third-party charging accessories becoming available. We're still very happy with our Nyko Charging Base that can simultaneously power up to two Wii remotes and adds a nice rubber grip to the back of the controllers as well. But the 4X Quad Charge Station from Penguin United ups the ante: now you can simultaneously charge up to four remotes at once. The added capacity plus some smart design decisions makes the Penguin a contender for the best Wii controller charger to date.
The Quad Charge Station is a circular base that won't go sliding away thanks to its rubber feet. The four Wii remote docking slots are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern on the unit's topside, which is sloped upward. The bright blue LEDs under each docking slot aren't the tackiest thing we've ever come across, but in a dark room they may become distracting. Unfortunately, there's no way to turn these lights off once the charging base is plugged in, but the AC adapter cable is detachable from the base itself.
The Quad Charge Station ships with four rechargeable battery packs that snap into the battery compartment of any standard Wii remote. These battery/cover combinations are actually lighter than the standard AA batteries and battery cover they replace, and the result is a Wii controller with a slightly different weight. We detected no change in gameplay experience, but hardcore Wii fans might need awhile to adjust to the new feel.
We also though that the addition of a recessed sync button built into the back of each controller cover was a great idea, as anyone with a Wii is certainly aware that the controllers can occasionally lose their connection. While Nyko added a nice rubberized grip to the back of their battery covers, the Penguin covers feature a rigged plastic. While it's not as slippery as the original Nintendo cover, the Nyko rubber covers perform a lot better. Feel free to use the rubber Nintendo sleeves with the Penguin covers, but be warned you'll have to remove them upon charging. Wrist straps, by contrast, can be easily tucked to the side so that the charging contacts can touch.