Getting excited, without having to worry about cords…
With the introduction of the current generation of gaming hardware, we saw that much-needed transition to wireless control functionality—finally, an end to inadvertently pulling your console from its resting spot because you thought moving the controller around translated into onscreen movement. However, the grass isn’t necessarily greener with wireless controllers, as battery life has become an issue. Although first-party PS3 controllers come with rechargeable batteries built in to the unit, the less-than-forgiving short length of the charge cable, coupled with the fact that the console has to be powered on in order to charge the controller, has left players with a dilemma.
Naturally, third-parties have jumped all over the prospect of providing players with solutions to their powerless problems. The Charge Base 2 is Nyko’s smaller offering for PS3 owners, and just as the number in the name suggests, its charge base supports two controllers at one time (their first PS3 charge base supports up to four controllers).
Instead of relying on the PS3 to power the charge cycle, the CB2 uses its own, hidden, AC adapter, to plug into any outlet you have room for. By not requiring the unit to be close to the actual Sony hardware, you can choose where in your entertainment center, living room or garage you want to charge your controllers.
However, if you choose to place the unit next to your Playstation, there’s no worrying about aesthetics. The entire base fits in well with the PS3’s look, as it’s all black with a chrome finish.
No, the red light doesn’t mean you have a Bat-phone…
Even the mechanism for signaling the status of the batteries mixes in well with the console’s own color scheme. At the top of the unit, there are two LEDs which relay different statuses of the charging controllers, and correspond to one of the appropriate docks: red means the battery is charging; blinking red and green lights signify the controller is almost fully charged; and green shows the controller is completely ready to rock.
They’re not the most detailed indicator, but the LEDs are a nice, quick reference for showing the status of your charge, even if they are extremely bright, and without an option for turning them off. So, if your controllers are charging in the same dark room where you’re watching a movie in, don’t be surprised if you think it’s [insert non-denominational holiday here] with the blinking red and green lightshow.
“Dongle.” ‘Nuff said…
Perhaps the best part of the setup is the ease. By using the power outlet, instead of a USB, you’re able to drop two controllers in the unit overnight--or keep two on standby, if you’re a marathoner—to ensure you’re ready to go the next day. A full charge is purported to clock in around 2 hours if your controller is totally depleted.
Hooking up the CB2 is easy right out of the box—though opening the box is another story—and only requires you to plug the power cord into the AC adapter. Once plugged in, controllers are charged by attaching the accompanying clear plastic “dongles” to the controller. The dongles use the same mini-USB plug found on the controller-end of the charging cable, and discretely fit both the SIXAXIS and DualShock 3 controllers. Once married, the controller sits upright in the base as the dongle side is cradled in a recessed hole, with simple touch-contacts for charging; there’s no need to worry about cheap materials breaking off.
It’s a bit strange, however, as even though Nyko releases its own controller solutions, they have failed to account for letting third-party controllers, in general, get into the power outlet-charging action. It’s apparent the dongle molds were designed solely with the Sony-branded controllers in mind, and don’t appear to be compatible with third-party hardware—at least when tested with Nyko’s Zero controller. Also, make sure not to misplace those plastic bits.
Not much worth in having a charge cable anymore…
Aside from the perceived inability to work with third-party controllers, and an excessively-bright LED setup, Nyko’s Charge Base 2 is a user-friendly, reliable option when it comes to charging your PS3 controllers. The charging dongles integrate seamlessly and discretely with both Sony manufactured controllers, and sit well in a stable charging base. Ultimately, however, the price tag holds Nyko’s charger back a bit. Even if Pelican’s similarly priced charging dock (MSRP $29.99) offers two additionally-extraneous USB ports, the availability to double the number of charged controllers, for the same price, is just too good to overlook.
+ Easily identifiable charge status
+ Stable, sturdy base
+ Discretely integrating dongle for charging
Oh, hell no:
- Extremely bright LEDs
- Dongles not designed for third-party controllers
- A bit pricey for only two charging slots