There's literally nothing worse than running out of controller juice as a console gamer. Having to either resort to a shorter-than-optimal cable to charge the gamepad or turning the system off altogether is not something that anyone wants to have to do mid-game. This is where accessories like the Venom Docking Station come into play. This affordable platform allows for two controllers to be simultaneously charged from a single USB port.
What's included in the box:
- USB cable.
- Docking station.
- Two rechargeable battery packs.
The two battery packs are 700mAh nickel metal hydride (NiMH) units that provide up to 18 hours of game time, though actual sessions between full charges may vary depending on use and other factors. The batteries themselves do not need to be removed, nor do they require official Xbox One controller backplates. Simply install the battery pack into a controller (both standard and Elite gamepads are supported), and the unit will sit flush against the rear.
As for the docking station, all that is required is for the supplied USB cable to be plugged into the base and an Xbox One console (or other USB output). This then allows for up to two controllers to sit atop the docking station, which negates the need to continuously plug cables into the rear of the gamepad. Charging is quick and stable, and we never found ourselves needing to alter the position of the controllers to maintain a connection.
The station itself is made of plastic. It's no premium setup, but you shouldn't expect this with a product that costs around $25. That said, it's more than stable enough to maintain position on a desk or floor and hold two controllers without issue. The unit itself has two LEDs on the front that correspond to the two chargers. Red shows power being transferred to the gamepad, while green means the packs are fully charged and ready to go.
The packs have two contacts on the rear that hook up with corresponding pins on the station unit. These contacts are recessed on the packs to help prevent fingers from touching them (though you won't get zapped if you do). It should be noted that inserting and extracting these packs should be done so with care as not to damage the controller or batteries themselves.
Because the battery packs contain less charge than official Microsoft solutions, you'll not be able to get as much game time before having to lay the gamepad on the station, but if you happen to have two controllers it's real easy to switch them out. It's also possible to simply charge the battery packs on the station and then quickly swap them out, depending on personal preference. Simply put, you'll no longer have to mess around with cables unless you plug in a headset.
Overall, if you're looking to take your Xbox One experience to the next level when it comes to keeping your controllers topped up on power, you can't go wrong with the Venom Docking Station. It costs $26.99.
Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
I've had one of these for ages and they're brilliant. Never noticed an issue with them running out quickly or anything. I leave my gamepads on charge whenever I'm not using them
Not bad, but I got 1100mh packs with base for £17.99 on Amazon. They are very similar, but have over 50% more capacity. The were called aplan, or something like that.
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