There was a lot of controversy when it was revealed that Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S controllers would still utilise removable AA batteries back in 2020. Even if you weren't happy with that decision though, it does come with a plus side in that you can get all sorts of battery solutions now, from standard AA batteries to rechargeable stations like the one being offered here by PowerA, and it's worth exploring all the different options.
This latest line from PowerA actually comes with a couple of affordable variants. The first is a standard "Charging Stand" for $19.99, or you can double up with the PowerA Duo Charging Station for $29.99, and that's what we've been reviewing over the past couple of weeks. The Duo Station features two 1100mAh rechargeable battery packs, two last-gen and two next-gen battery doors, and space for two controllers (Series X, S or Xbox One variants).
So, here's how it works. Once you've unboxed the charging station, you'll need to plug it into a nearby power outlet — no USB connections here. Then, you'll need to fit the removable batteries into two controllers of your choice. We've tested the batteries with standard Xbox One, Series X and Series S controllers, along with a Design Lab controller, and they work in all of them. The fitting is definitely not as snug as an official Xbox rechargeable battery, so it requires a firm press, but they slot into place fairly easily. Then it's time for the battery doors.
As mentioned before, the Duo Charging Station comes with two battery doors for Xbox One controllers and two for Xbox Series X and S controllers, so you just pick the one you need, attach it to the back of your controller, and you're ready to go. The two controllers can then be placed onto the Charging Station, where two orange lights will display if they're charging properly. In our experience, you're looking at around 2-3 hours for a full charge. We've had issues in the past with charging stations losing connection randomly, requiring us to keep adjusting the controller, but fortunately this hasn't been a problem with the PowerA Duo Charging Station as of yet.
In terms of how much juice you'll get out of the batteries when they're charged, keep in mind that the official Xbox One rechargeable solution is a 1400mAh battery, whereas these are just 1100mAh. As as a result, you're not going to get quite as good performance out of them, but we haven't noticed much of a difference so far, and the fact that you can charge two controllers at once means you can essentially get double the performance out of one charge if you're happy to swap controllers / batteries when one runs out. We haven't had a chance to measure any specifics, but PowerA says it's over 20 hours of playtime per-charge, and that seems about right.
Naturally, the PowerA Duo Charging Station (and the single Charging Stand) don't allow you to play while you charge, so if you want a separate option, PowerA also offers a Rechargeable Battery Pack with a micro-USB connection embedded into the battery. This is basically your standard rechargeable battery solution (very similar the one offered by Microsoft), but the difference is that you get an LED charging indicator built into the battery so you can monitor progress, along with two more battery doors for optional use with the two charging stations.
In terms of our thoughts on the Duo Charging Station, it does what it says on the tin. It's a no-fuss solution for charging all of your Xbox Series X, S and Xbox One controllers, the station itself seems to be well-designed, the battery life is good, and it's particularly useful if you like to mix-and-match with last-gen and next-gen controllers. Thumbs up from us!
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Have you tried any PowerA charging solutions for Xbox in the past? Tell us down in the comments.