While the wireless controller for the Microsoft Xbox 360 is considered by many to be the best ever created, gamers were offered few solutions to battery-drain dilemmas. In order to juice up your controller's optional rechargeable battery with Microsoft's original Play and Charge Kit, you have to attach the kit's cable to your controller and run the other end into one of the system's USB ports, thus wiring your wireless controller. Another problem is that the battery charges only when the Xbox 360 is on--and slowly, at that.
Now Microsoft is serving up the Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit ($30), a docking station that allows you to recharge two of the 360's battery packs at once. One battery pack is included with the kit, and you can recharge a fully depleted battery in about three hours--or half the time it takes the Play and Charge Kit to do its job (we managed to recharge in a little less than three hours in our tests). The docking station powers off automatically after the battery packs are fully juiced.
Aside from its dual-charging capabilities, the nice thing about the Quick Charge Kit is that you can keep it tucked away (near a power outlet, of course) and not worry about dealing with any cables associated with what are supposed to be wireless controllers--or about keeping your Xbox 360 powered up just to recharge the battery. Those who've already bought the similarly priced combo of a Play and Charge Kit and a rechargeable battery pack may be disappointed that this option didn't arrive sooner, but we suspect most Xbox 360 owners with wireless controllers will ante up for this must-have accessory. In the future, we wouldn't mind seeing a Quick Charge Kit with three or four battery bays for power gamers, but right now, this is a pretty ideal solution that should make the flawed Play and Charge Kit quickly disappear from store shelves.