For all sad words of tongue and pen
The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.
I don’t often begin a review with a poem, but it somehow seems appropriate when discussing Energizer’s Induction Charging System for Wii Remotes. A beautifully designed device from a well known company, Energizer’s charger has only one flaw; it doesn’t work very well.
What It Does
When I first saw it, I thought that finally someone had created the perfect charger. The battery pack units that replace the standard AA batteries the Wii remote expects are charged simply by being near the charging unit, as opposed to chargers like the Nyko Charge Station that require the battery pack to have an exposed metal contact point that connects to a similar point on the charger.
This proximity charging, known as induction, means that if you want to keep your Wii remote in a silicone sleeve you can recharge without removing the sleeve.
Tekno Creations' Wii InCharge Dual Charge Station is the last induction charger I looked at, but while it was quite good, it had a couple of issues that kept it from being perfect. Energizer doesn’t have these problems; you can charge a remote even if it’s attached to the nunchuk, and it doesn’t flash an annoying blinking light at you all the time.
It’s also a lovely looking device. The charging unit is shaped like a shallow archway with impressions in which to place two remotes. It can either lie flat, with the remotes lying on top of it, or it can be attached to a stand that holds it upright. It is easily the nicest looking of the chargers I’ve seen.
Where It Goes Wrong
But there is a serious technological shortcoming; Energizer’s induction charger can’t tell when the remote is actually charged. An amber light indicates that the remote is charging, and it is supposed to turn green when charging is complete. Every once in a while it actually does turn green. And then, without even being touched, it will turn amber again. Sometimes moving the remote a half inch one way or the other will change the color, and sometimes one of the two lights would stay green for a while, but for the most part the two-remote charger always has two amber lights. Even if I left a remote in for two days, the light would rarely turn green.
Perhaps this is why when you pick up your remote from the charge station it is quite hot. Not as hot as a light bulb, but perhaps as hot as the back of a CRT monitor or a sidewalk on a sunny summer day.
I can’t help but wonder how much electricity a charger uses when it never thinks it can stop charging.
Conclusion: Too Expensive for Something So Flawed
I was surprised by how poorly this charger worked, since Energizer’s previous attempt, the non-induction Power & Play Recharge Station, worked just fine. In fact, I contacted Energizer and asked if perhaps they’d simply sent me a defective unit. They obligingly sent me a second charger which didn’t work any better than the first. In fact, it was worse: one of the battery packs wouldn’t work at all. The charger indicated it was charging, but the Wii remote simply wouldn’t work with that battery pack in it.
Energizer’s induction charger is currently the most expensive charge station on the market, yet it is also the second most disappointing charger I’ve reviewed, beaten only by DreamGear’s Quad Dock Plus. Energizer’s new charger seemed so promising, but alas, it quickly fell into the category of “what might have been.”