Review: Nyko Charge Blocks

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Wow! It feels like E3 was so long ago, when in reality it has just been a few months. While at this year’s E3, I was fortunate enough to sit down with the representatives at Nyko and talk about what new and exciting products they have planned for the holiday season. It was there that we got our first glimpse of the brand new Nyko Charge Block. Just a few short months later, Nyko went ahead and sent us some review samples to put through their paces. I’ve spent two weeks with the Charge Blocks, and while there are a few product features that are missing that I loved from some of their other product lines, the new Charge Blocks are still very handy.

Now, the product that I used for charging before was the Xbox One Modular Power Station, which I reviewed in early 2015. While the Power Station still works perfectly, It is a system that requires you to have to swap batteries at least once a week. The thing I was most excited about was the Nyko “Drop and Charge” design, meaning no more battery swapping. The Charge Blocks come in singles and doubles for both Xbox and PS4. What’s awesome is that both Sony and Xbox versions of the Charge Blocks are compatible with each other; you just take the Charge Blocks and connect them, front to back, in series with each other in any order you prefer. For lack of a better example, think of it as a human centipede of chargers. For mixed console homes, like mine, this was a brilliant charge system that allowed me to use just one wall outlet to power the chargers for my two Xbox One controllers and my lone PS4 controller. It’s worth noting that if you are needing to power three or four blocks, then you  have to use either a USB 3.0 port from your console or the provided 120v wall power supply.

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PROS

There is a lot to love about the Nyko Charge Blocks. The first thing I love are the aesthetics. Nyko really nailed the looks of this product, which is actually more important than you might think. Unlike the Modular Power Station we reviewed in the past, this product doesn’t just blend into the background, as it’s also a cradle for your controllers, which makes it rather large. Ultimately, this means that this is a device that you and your house guests are going to have to look at. The Charge Blocks, while bulky, have a very sleek look, and serve as a functional display piece for your controllers. There is just something to be said for a product that serves as a cross functional device between two consoles that are at war with one another. It’s a little strange to see one cohesive charge device that displays both the Xbox and PlayStation controllers so beautifully.

Another huge pro, as I mentioned before, is that the drop and charge functionality for the Charge Blocks, means no more fussing with swapping batteries back and fourth, for you Xbox Users, and no sloppy micro USB cables for you PlayStation people. There is also a lot of utility here. Let’s say you decide in a few months that you would like to move your PlayStation 4 upstairs to the bedroom, all you have to do is separate the PS4 Blocks from the Xbox blocks and move them with the console. The customization for the configuration of the chargers never leaves you pigeon holed to having to keep the chargers away from the consoles.

Finally, and I don’t know if this applies to most of you out there or just my house, but it provides a much needed designated place for the controllers when you or your kids/significant other are done with them (Mostly your kids/significant other). My living room has been a black hole for television remotes and gaming controllers for years. Having the Charge Blocks on the entertainment center these past few weeks have served as a strong visual reminder of where to put the controller when we are done for the night. As a complete unexpected bonus throughout my review process of the Nyko Charge Blocks, I have not once had to spend 5 minutes flipping couch cushions trying to find my controllers!

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CONS

Thankfully, there is not a whole lot wrong that I have found with the Nyko Charge Blocks. I was not able to find any fundamental issues with the product not working, only a few things that I think fall into issues with interface and personal preference. The blocks each have large lights on both sides that are there to indicate the status of the battery. If the lights on the block are flashing white, that means that they are charging. If they are solid white that meant that they batteries are ready to go. Yes this is simple and easy to understand, but the problem is that they lights are a little too intrusive. Generally I keep charging interfaces with my consoles on the entertainment center. I also like to game and watch movies at night in a dark room. The lights are so bright that it becomes a distraction, especially when they are charging. The flickering is a little to intense especially when two different controllers are charging at the same time and the flashing is not in sync with one another, causing a double time flicker effect.

 

I would have rather seen more of a toned down red pulsing light, indicating that the controllers are charging, and then a softer white light indicating that the charge was complete. I really liked how the Modular Power Station had no lights unless you pushed a button, and then a very intrusive charge indicator would pop up, giving you an actual 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% battery charge estimate.

Final Reaction

It’s been a great two weeks with the Nyko Charge Blocks. While I had both pros and cons with this charge system at the end of the day, my wife and I have both decided that we will continue using the Charge Blocks rather than the Nyko Modular Power Station. The convenience of not having to swap batteries in and out any more is the biggest upside here. And I just love seeing my PS4 and X1 controllers charging together on one device in perfect harmony. I’m hoping that in a future version of the Charge Blocks they address the harshness of the lighting indicators, which is one of the only things keeping this product back from a perfect score.

The Nyko Charge Block is now available for PlayStation4 and Xbox One.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.