Lightning Review: Penguin United Quad Charge Station Juices Four Wiimotes at Once

The Gadget: Penguin United's Quad Charge Station, a device that sits in silence as you cram four Wiimotes into it and expect it to come out fully charged four hours later. It also comes with four rechargeable battery packs, which saves you money on AAs in the long run.

The Price: $US45

The Verdict: It's good. Not only does it come with four rechargeable battery packs for your Wiimote—which dock into contacts in the slots on the base station—there's also a complementary set of four coloured wrist straps so you can tell your controllers apart. All four Wiimotes are charged in about four hours, but you do have to remove the rubber safety condom prior to docking. You might not personally use them, but if you're like us, you force your clumsy family members to use them in order to protect your HDTV.

One complaint is that the base station's blue lights are always on, even if a Wiimote isn't docked. That blue neon look is fine for a casemodder's alien skull PC, but it looks out of place in a more subdued living room. It's a small complaint, but might be a dealbreaker for some. Also, the rechargeable battery place in the Wiimote makes contact with the charger via two metal pins that might wear down after a year or two; similar to the way Logitech mice wear down the contacts in their chargers after a while. We've no way of telling if it will, but it's something to watch out for. Our other complaint is that the four lights that indicate battery state default to on when nothing is docked. If you the Wiimote doesn't make proper contact with the charger, that means you may think it's full even when it's not!

If your family plays 4-player Wii games a lot and are always hunting around for batteries, $US45 isn't too big an investment for the convenience of just shoving your Wiimote into a dock. If you're not a huge gamer or already have rechargeable AAs, this might not be as worth it to you. [Penguin United]

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