Reduce your E-Waste footprint with a rechargeable tech for your Xbox One/Series X Controller
Growing up in Southern California in the ’80s and ’90’s, recycling and water management were everyday activities. Our family sorted recyclable items into appropriate bins and kept our used single-use batteries (AA, AAA, 9V, C, D, etc.) in another bin to recycle later. As I moved to Indiana and ultimately to Kentucky, recycling was nowhere near as prominent. I was rather aghast when I saw people throwing away all sorts of recyclables: aluminum cans, plastic bottles/items, and batteries. Interestingly, California is the only state that has made it illegal to throw away batteries of any type, including those listed above. Whether I wanted to power my original Game Boy, Walk Man, or one of the newer devices, I looked to rechargeable tech to reduce my reliance on single-use batteries. Unfortunately, the rechargeable battery tech has not kept pace with the devices that they were designed to power. Often, internal batteries work better than the rechargeable AA or AAA options on the market. Luckily companies like PowerA design products like the Charging stand that combine internal rechargeable batteries for our favorite tech.
The PowerA Xbox Charging Stand arrived in a classy 4 3/4 inches wide by 5 1/4 inches tall by 2 3/4 inches hanging-style package. The white-colored main panel provided the PowerA name/logo along the top left, three detailed icons along the top right (UP TO 20 HRS Per Charge, 1100mAh RECHARGEABLE, USB POWERED), “Charging Stand” centered along the lower edge, and flanking Xbox/Designed For Xbox icons. Despite the visual appeal of the icons/details and lime green XBOX icons, the main focus was the vibrant 3 1/4 inches wide by 3 inches tall image of the charging stand/controller. I liked that they chose to use a photo-quality image and that they added depth plus shading. The side panel closest to the PowerA icon provided a quality image of the charging stand, battery, and PowerA battery cover. The grey background paired nicely with the white/black colors of the stand, but I wish that they would have provided a clearer image of the battery. Instead, the battery was off focus and slightly blurred, which did not add much to the overall feel. The opposite white-colored side panel provided a list of packaging contents and a lower designed for XBOX icon: Charging Stand, Detachable 3.3ft USB Cable, 1100 mAh rechargeable battery, two charge-thru battery doors, and a user manual.
The rear panel could be divided into two sections, an upper image section, and a lower multi-lingual instruction section. The top black-and-white picture listed the PowerA Charging Stand name/logo along the top left, provided an oblique image of the “Easy-To-Use” charging stand and battery, and provided diagramed images of the XBOX Series X and Xbox One batteries. The lower left panel showed the installation process for the rechargeable battery. The lower right image showed a charging controller with amber LED charge status (Amber while charging, White when complete). The lower section provided a bulleted list of instructions: *Click down to charge, up to store. * Works with Xbox One and Xbox Series X. * Includes 1 rechargeable battery + 2 doors. * LED indicator for charge status. The lowest panel provided the @PowerAExperience Facebook link, @PowerA_Gaming Instagram handle, @PowerA Twitter username, and the PowerA.com website address. Atop the packaging, you will find a white-colored panel with a thin, black-colored product hanging tab. Lastly, the lime green-colored bottom panel provided an SKU/barcode sticker and detailed the 2-year limited warranty.
To access the product, lift the bottom flap, slide the clear tray out from the main product packaging, and remove the top plastic cover. Within the tray, you will find two upper compartments. The top left compartment provided the 1.4-ounce, 2-inches long by 1 1/8-inches wide by 9/16 inches thick Power A battery, and two 0.1 ounce battery doors. At first glance, the outside of each of the doors appeared to be congruent. However, upon closer inspection, there were a few subtle differences between the Xbox One (A) and Xbox Series X (B) battery doors. Most of the differences could be found in the flare near the bottom of the A door and the inner connectors (three for A and two for B). The lower tray cutout housed the 4.1-ounce connector base. At first glance, the device reminded me a bit of a tape dispenser, but without the cutout. The lower black base measured 3 7/8 inches long by 2 5/16 inches wide by 3/8 inches thick and had four 3/8 inches diameter rubberized feet. The PowerA specifications/product manufacturing labels plaque could be found centralized upon the base of the product. The white-colored top section resembled a tap dispenser or ski jump. The base dimensions were the same as the upper section, except for the height (2 3/8 inches tall at the back, 1 1/8 inches tall at the trough, and 1 1/2 inches at the front high-point). The battery charging connector was easily accessible, and the controller fit snuggly within the cradle.
Before you toss the clear plastic tray into the recycling, make sure that you set aside the 40 inches long USB-A to USB-micro charging cable and the multi-lingual instruction manual. The instruction manual provided four detailed product utility diagrammed instructions. To use the device, plug the 3.3ft (40-inches long) cable into the rear of the charging stand and then into your Xbox. Remove the rear battery compartment door from your Xbox controller (not Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2), remove the batteries, install the rechargeable battery into the compartment and then attach the charge-thru battery door. Place the controller onto the charger, press firmly downward until the Charging Stand clicks, and then notice the amber color. Once the charging cycle has completed, press downward again to raise the stand. This will allow you to store and display your controller when not in use. The instructions recommended to charge only via Xbox and to not utilize any other charging blocks. Furthermore the instruction manual detailed leak precautions, battery warnings, troubleshooting, and FCC statements. Easy to install, intuitive, and reusable, the device seemed to hit every one of my charging needs.
I was impressed with the ~16-18 hours of battery life for the rechargeable battery. The product promised 20, and I was able to get 16-18 hours regularly. This depended heavily on the length of gaming sessions, though. Compared to the 40 hours of life for standard batteries, I needed to charge the batteries at least once to make up for the difference. Assuming you can get two Energizer Max AA batteries for ~$2.50, you will need to charge the device about 9 times to equal the ~$20 cost on Amazon. When my boys are home during the summer, they play Minecraft, Fortnight, Overwatch on Xbox One for a few hours per day. They often forget to recharge the battery. Luckily, the 16-18 hour life provided enough power to cover the week, and I was able to put it back onto the charger on Sunday nights, only to have it ready by Monday morning. I liked the backplate design and felt that they truly attempted to match the color/consistency of the controllers. My only complaint was that I received a white edition of the single charger and had black controllers. Although this may set off the OCD Aesthetic warnings for some, it was not worth sending the device back to get a black one.
We have used the charger over the last 2 months and have found the device has paid for itself in battery savings. More than the cost savings, I feel like I am impacting the carbon footprint and trash generation. I’m not too fond of the throw-away culture that many have for printers and electronics and do my best to recycle E-Waste. I now save batteries and take them to local batteries and bulbs establishment to recycle. Next, I hope that my county re-initiates product recycling to better attempt to do my part to maintain resources. After all, we teach our scouts that a Scout is Thrifty and Clean (and others). If you are looking for an inexpensive, reliable means to keep your Xbox One or Series X controllers charged, look to the charging stand from PowerA. Like my experience in testing the device, I was impressed to find 93% 4-5* reviews from the 6514 Amazon ratings. With a favorable price point, functional design, and aesthetically pleasing colors/textures, the next question is, when should I buy more batteries for my other controllers.