Venom Twin Docking Station – Hardware Review
How time flies. I remember the days of being shackled to my console by a small cable attached to a joystick unable to move barely a metre away from the TV. Then came longer cables which would end up being yanked out of their sockets by a dog or cat running past.
But then came the wireless controller revolution and I felt like a caged animal set free from all constraints. Little did I realise the cost involved with going wireless though as my controllers chomped through batteries like no tomorrow. Then came the next evolution with rechargeable batteries built in although Microsoft still refuse to include this as standard in their controllers.
Stepping into this breach are Venom with their Twin Docking Station for the Xbox One which allows you to charge two controllers at once which you can do even with your Xbox turned off. The first thing that struck me after opening the box was how easy Venom had made it to get to all the parts. Usually with these peripherals you need to arm yourself with a hammer, chisel and hacksaw to get at everything you need. Thankfully that’s not the case here.
Inside the box you get the Charging Dock, 2 x 700 Nimh rechargeable battery packs, a USB cable and a manual. There are no nuclear welded shut blister packs to open here. The docking station is covered in a plastic sleeve and the batteries and USB cable sit neatly in a plastic holder which makes the usual chore of getting into these peripherals simple and kudos to Venom for making it that way because I’ve lost count of the times I’ve cut myself while trying to prise blister packs apart.
Straight out of the box this looks sexy and not cheap or tacky. It has the look of a premium product and looks great sat alongside my Xbox One X. The batteries are finished off in the same premium design as the Charging Dock so as a whole the aesthetic is very pleasing and thankfully it blends in well with the Xbox One.
Setting up the Docking Station is simplicity itself and it’s just a matter of plugging one end of the USB cable into the Xbox and the other end into the Docking Station and it’s ready to go. To prove how simple to set up it is I asked my technophobe girlfriend to have a go at settings it up. Now bare in mind that she struggles to use the TV remote-control and you’ll see what I was up against. But much to my surprise after a few minutes head scratching she had it all set up. So if my girlfriend can set it up anyone can.
The battery packs fit very, very tightly into the battery compartment but with some gentle persuasion it soon clicked into place. I like that because it let’s me know that no matter how hard I’m flinging my controller around in frustration that battery pack isn’t going anywhere. It’s just going to sit where it’s supposed to and keep supplying my controller with its much needed life blood. It sits well it the battery compartment and if it wasn’t for the Venom logo you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and the official Microsoft rechargeable battery pack.
The process of charging your controllers couldn’t be simpler. You simply place one or two controllers into the Docking Station and hey presto. The controllers fit snuggly into the Docking Station without any messing around and don’t move around once they are placed into position. As soon as the charging pins on the control connect with the pins on the Docking Station it’s springs to life.
There are two lights on the front of the Docking Station that glow an angry red when a controller is charging in its cradle. When fully charged they glow a welcoming green to let you know that they are ready and able for battle. Each cradle has its own light so you can see which controller is charged and which one is still charging.
The battery packs hit full charge quite quickly which was a pleasant surprise. With each battery pack charged you should get eighteen hours of gaming time out of them at least that is what Venom claim on their website. I’m happy to report that those claims as slightly misleading but I got an easy eight hours gaming time out of a full charge so I’m not going to cry over an odd hour.
It’s not advisable to leave your controllers sat on the Docking Station charging permanently and Venom do state this on their own website which should allow the batteries to last a long time. The only problem with this is that once the Docking Station is plugged into your Xbox it’s permanently switched on. The only way to turn it off is to unplug the USB cable from the back. This is quite awkward for the setup I have and over time you will eventually damage the connection inside the Station which can’t be replaced or easily fixed. I would have preferred a simple on/off switch but you can’t have everything.
If your like me and your sick of spending money on rechargeable batteries that claim to last for hours on end but usually only last a couple of hours then this piece of kit is for you. I’ve had a lot of eight hour sessions on one rechargeable battery before I’ve had to swap to a new one. Priced at a measly £14.99 I’ve fallen in love Venoms Twin Docking Station and it’s now found a permanent home sat next to my Xbox One X.
Product: Twin Docking Station