Microsoft Quick Charge Kit for Xbox 360 controller

Funky looking accessory for gaming geeks concerned about loss of power

When I first got the 360 I bought the premium package because it shipped with a wireless controller, no more twisty knotted cables for me! It's a decision that I stand by as it certainly provides me with a lot more freedom of movement, even though I'm sitting just a few feet away from the TV 90% of the time, just like when I had my first Xbox. The one consequence of that choice that's dogged me ever since is the stupid amount of batteries I have gotten through, I'm talking about boxes filled with packs of the things, all used up, all thrown away, all in some landfill somewhere spilling their toxic innards for the next thousand of years or so.

The time to do something about it had come, gone and been shrugged off too many times. I was going to make the small investment of a couple of rechargeable batteries and the charger to go with it, but just as soon as I finished this level/it stopped raining or whatever other feeble excuse I put in its way.

However, the other day I found myself in my local highstreet, as busy as ever. So I dived into a gaming shop I hadn't entered since I was 14 or so. Apart from the stock nothing had changed much: students behind the counter, 14 year olds in front of it, and twenty-something me feeling somewhat out of place.

 I was just about to leave and face the hoards when something caught my eye, hanging there on a display was the solution to my battery woes: the Microsoft Quick Charge Kit.

Now, this isn't your usual battery charger, this has some style and if you were to just happen upon it you most likely wouldn't know what it was. As this is Microsoft made, the plastic body of the charger continues the white sleek look of the 360, with subtle differences in the matt and gloss surface finish.

One thing it does have in common with most small electrical goods nowadays is that it comes in packaging that fights back. You know the kind, once you've cut the thing open it has edges as sharp as glass and when you do eventually open it, the contents fly to the other side of the room.

Microsoft couldn't have made a more easy to use accessory than this: you simply plug it in, whack the battery pack in to one of the two slots and a couple of hours later it's fully charged. Providing you with up to 25 hours of play.

When the designers from Microsoft came to the problem of people using the product and therefore what they were up against, they obviously paid a visit to my neck of the woods. The system implemented is one that even the idiotic can comprehend:

Red light = not charged
Green Light = Is charged

I only have a couple of gripes with the charger; the biggest being that it doesn't take AA batteries as I'd have expected, a surprise to me because the controller originally came with two. Instead the packs are a self contained battery in themselves. This is fine but it does limit the charger to support only one device.

The second moan is based purely on the aesthetic. While the kit can support charging two packs at once it only ships with one, which means that you'll have at least one side (and at most times both) open. This detracts from the clean lines of the object, but considering its purpose is functional and not to bring beauty to your room, I think it can be forgiven.

All in all this is a case of a product doing what it claims, a rare thing indeed. If you have a wireless Xbox 360 controller then this is a god-send, just keep that original battery pack around in case you run out of juice mid game.