May 22

Written by: Thryon
5/22/2006 12:54 AM  RssIcon

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"Never be caught without power again"
Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit
Release Date: May 03, 2006
Developer: Microsoft
Hardware Category: Accessorie
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
Here I was in the middle of a fight for survival versus a 50' snow worm. The battle raged on for what appeared to be an eternity (about 5 actual minutes). I was feeding my nemesis rocket after rocket and was sensing that victory would soon be mine. All of a sudden, I got this divine message that indicated “Please reconnect your controller”. In my moment of madness, in my frenzied state I did not notice that my controller lights flashed indicating that my controller batteries were dying and are now D.E.D dead. Then began the mini-game of searching, locating, testing and inserting replacement batteries.

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of the Xbox 360 console is the wireless controllers. The only problem with the controllers is that without those pesky wires to provide power to the controller, it must now be supplied via batteries (a couple AA is plenty sufficient). A good brand name (sorry, no Dollarama brand here) set of regular batteries can provide up to 20 hours of gaming, but for some reason they will always die in the middle of an important battle. Never once has batteries died on me while navigating the blades menu.
Since only regular AAs are required, that does provide gamers with many options to power the controller. Once could purchase regular batteries or like myself, invest in some quality NiMH rechargeable. NiMH does have some drawbacks. The biggest is the discharge rate. NiMH will drop 5-10% of its charge in the first day and another .5-1% daily. This rate is even greater with cheap batteries. This inconsistent discharge rate makes it very hard to find two NiMH batteries that are at the exact same charge level as one battery is usually a little more charged than the other. When the lower charged battery dies, both batteries must be assumed drained, while only one battery is fully drained. The other problem is that cheap chargers and “quick” chargers do not actively drain batteries before recharging them resulting in a shorter life span for the battery. NiMH batteries have another issue in that each battery can vary in voltage somewhat. This is not a major issue for most battery operated devices, but for electronics it can cause lost of signal at times.

On one hand, regular AA batteries are the perfect answer, but their single use makes them an expensive option. NiMH batteries are more expensive short term, but their re-usability makes them extremely cheap in the long run, but their output is unreliable making paring of NiMH batteries extremely difficult to manage. Microsoft has a solution for gamers. The Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit is the best the best of both worlds. The kit comprises of the Xbox 360 Quick charge station and 1 battery pack. The Xbox 360 battery pack is in fact a pair of NiMH batteries that have been linked together so that they will always have the same discharge/charge rate and voltage. This ensures a more reliable gaming experience.
The Quick charge station can charge a single battery pack in about 2 hours, or two battery packs in about 3 hours. Another bonus is that the charged batteries can sit on the charger with no risk of damage (thanks to an internal sensor) and be used when gaming is needed. Not to mention that no one can “borrow” the batteries to power other devices. The downside of the battery packs being cost. A single battery pack sells for $14.99 and a Quick Charge Kit rings in at $39.99.
--Brian Wray

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