by Craig Lloyd on
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Modern wireless controllers are great….until they run out of juice. If you’d like to avoid that horrible moment when your buttons stop working, a recharging dock is a great way to go about it.
There’s nothing particularly complex about these controller accessories: plug them into a wall outlet or open USB port, plop the controller down into the slot, and wait for the battery to recharge. But getting in the habit of using these docks will mean you’re almost never out of battery power during an intense gaming session, since most console controllers can go for at least twelve hours of continuous play. We’ve selected the best option for players on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
The Dual Shock 4 includes an internal rechargable battery that can draw power from either the standard MicroUSB port on top of the pad, or the proprietary expansion port on the bottom. This whitebox design from BEBONCOOL opts for the latter, since for some reason it’s a lot less finicky in accepting a charge than the top port.
This design can accommodate two controllers at once, and unlike some others at this low price range, it includes a basic LED display that will flash red for a charging controller and green for one that’s fully charged. It doesn’t look half bad, either, which is more than I can say for some of the other third party models. At just thirteen dollars at the time of writing, it should be no problem to double up on this charger if you want to keep four Dual Shock 4 controllers charged at once.
Unlike its current competitors, the Xbox One’s controllers don’t include a rechargable internal battery, instead using standard AAs for both the original design and the Xbox One S controller revision. That being the case, we recommend simply buying rechargable AA batteries and a compatible charger. Keeping pairs of batteries charged in reserve and swapping them out will mean your playing sessions are unlimited. This solution gets a +1 bonus to practicality, since you can power remotes and other devices that still use AAs with the same setup.
if you’re set on getting a dedicated charging dock, if only to keep a place to set your controllers when they’re not being used, we recommend Nyko’s Modular system. It includes a dock that attaches directly to the Xbox console and two sets of rechargable battery packs. The model for the original Xbox One looks better than the one designed for the newer One S and X, but the newer designs can charge without removing the battery covers.
The Switch has some unique controller options, so it follows that its recharging accessories aren’t so straightforward as the Xbox and PlayStation. This KINGTOP design can accommodate two pairs of left and right Joy-Con controllers, two of the more conventional Switch Pro Controllers, or one Joy-Con pair and one Pro. It’s an elegant little package if you need anything more than the built-in charging ports on the Switch tablet itself. The red and green LED indicators for the Joy-Con charging ports aren’t mirrored for the Pro’s USB-C dock, but the simple port design can accommodate some other USB-C wireless controllers like 8BitDo’s SN30 Pro. The package includes a USB-C wall adapter.
If you’re still using just the Joy-Cons that came with your Switch and you want a way to extend its docked playtime, check out the official charging grip from Nintendo. It includes an internal battery that can recharge both Joy-Cons while playing, just like the Switch itself. When both are full, you can slide them out and use the non-charging version while the new one recharges.
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