At our house, a mission to complete Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars on the Wii has been undertaken by my son and me, with assistance from my daughter (Mom’s not so into it). As you might imagine, this tends to drain a lot of Wii controller batteries. Rather than waste a small fortune buying standard batteries, I’ve started to convert to rechargeable battery packs and chargers, like the Revolution 2 Universal Controller Charger by LevelUp. Let’s have a look!
The exterior packaging illustrates the product inside the box pictorially. While I realize it may not always be practical or cost-effective, I do prefer gadget packaging to have a window or some way to actually see what is inside, particularly if it is sold in a retail store setting. The packaging is cardboard and so is recyclable.
The Revolution 2 contains:
- 2 battery packs
- 2 Wii battery pack adapters
- 2 XBox 260/Playstation 3 battery pack adapters
- Charger base unit
- AC power wall adapter
- Instruction manual
The Revolution 2 Universal Controller is a system for charging game console remote controllers. It is called “universal” because it can charge controllers from what are arguably the three most popular consoles, Nintendo Wii , Microsoft XBox 360 and Sony Playstation 3. It can charge two controllers at a time or a combination of them by using two sets of adapters, one set for Wii controllers and one for XBox 360/Playstation 3 controllers. The battery packs and adapters are shown below.
Below, a shot of the two battery packs and XBox 360/Playstation 3 controller adapters. On the left, the battery pack is partially snapped into the adapter, on the right, it is completely snapped in. Contacts are only present on the near end of the battery pack, so it is fairly simple to determine the correct orientation of the battery pack in the adapter. It is easily inserted and locks in securely.A small tab on the opposite end from the contacts allows the battery pack to be removed should you need to snap the batter pack into a different adapter.
Once the battery packs have been installed into the adapters, the entire assembly locks down into the Will controller easily, as shown below. I suspect that the black color scheme may have been designed to visually match the current generation of Wii systems, which is all black. However, functionally they are fully compatible with both the older and newer Wii systems.
Just for giggles, I’ve shown what the battery pack looks like when installed in the Wii controller, but without the adapter. It is possible to use it in this way; the battery pack locks securely into the Wii controller even without the adapter. But it is a bit ugly and a uncomfortable to hold while gaming. Make note of the three contact pads on the battery pack and the indentation in the center; we’ll come back to these in a bit.
Below, a shot of the charging base itself. The three small wires are actually spring-loaded contacts that touch the three contact pads on the battery pack. In addition, the protrusion just below the three wire contacts fits into the similiarly-shaped protrusion in the battery pack, ensuring alignment of the controller when docked in the charging base.
The one drawback to the Revolution 2 is its large footprint. I have seen other charging bases that allow the controllers to stand vertically while charging, which minimizes the footprint area required.
It took a few attempts at docking the controllers in the charging base before getting the feel of it, but then it became quite easy, as it just clicks in place. As the instructions note, the charging base has two red lights which indicate the charging status, one for each controller. This is a fairly clear indicator but could be made to be a bit more obvious and visible.
The longevity of the battery packs, at least through several full charge/discharge cycles, seems to be comparable to a fresh set of non-rechargeable batteries. How quickly they begin to acquire a “memory” and how this affects the overall ability to hold a charge remains be be seen over the life of the product.
The Revolution 2 Universal Controller Charger performs as advertised, charging two Wii, XBox 360 or Playstation game controllers at a time, or a combination of them. The battery packs and adapters are easy to install and easy to dock into the charging unit. The battery longevity depends on how heavily you are using your game controllers of course, but seems to be comparable to standard batteries, and at least you won’t have to continue to feed them batteries. The only drawbacks I found were the large footprint area required, which takes up a fair amount of space, and that the charging indicator lights could be a bit more obvious. In all, not a bad product for the $29.99 price tag.