A couple weeks ago, we discussed Nyko’s Power Pak for the Dualshock 4 controller, and gave our thoughts on the product. Today, we’re bringing you a review of the Wii U equivalent: The Uboost. This external, rechargable battery doubles the life of the Wii U Gamepad without adding much weight, and with hardly a complaint to boot. Take a look at why this is a must have for Wii U owners who find that the GamePad’s screen saps too much battery life in a session.
The Uboost is a great item for Wii U owners to have, and it’s quite easy to install and use. It plugs into the terminals at the bottom of the GamePad usually reserved for the charging cradle, and it also secures into place using a screw that slides in on the back side of the controller. Installation requires no tools; not even a screwdriver. It takes only a few seconds, and just like that, it’s done! The Uboost comes in two colors: black and white, so it doesn’t matter which version of the GamePad you own, by the way. It’s easy to install, and it matches the controller.
Immediately, you’ll notice that the Uboost really doesn’t add much weight to the controller. It is distributed nicely, and it doesn’t make the controller uncomfortable to use. Even better, it does not get in the way of your hands, which is probably the best feature to note. Both other Nyko batteries I’ve used (for the 3DS and PS4) get in the way of fingers to some degree, and it can cramp your space and make holding the controller for extensive periods of time somewhat uncomfortable. This is not the case for the Uboost. It doesn’t alter the way you hold the controller at all, and it doesn’t get in the way of any triggers.
As far as usage, the Uboost is extremely easy to use. Just like the Dualshock 4 Power Pak, it doesn’t interfere with the way the controller measures its battery usage. So when the Wii U GamePad gets low, it knows, just as it always would. When this happens, just press the power button on the Uboost, and it will immediately begin charging! By the time it’s finished, the Uboost will have doubled your GamePad’s battery life.
When you have depleted the battery, you have plenty of recharging options. You can charge simply the GamePad by using the charge port on the top of the controller. Secondly, you can charge the Uboost and the GamePad by plugging into a new charge port that the Uboost provides. Thirdly, you can charge both by plugging in the Uboost’s terminals into the GamePad’s cradle. Because of the way the Uboost is designed, it allows you to use your Nintendo made cradle without having to buy a new one, which is a relief. When it’s all charged up, you’re ready to roll once more.
I only have one unsatisfactory note concerning the Uboost. It also has an extendable arm that allows you to put the GamePad on a flat surface and watch movies or shows without having to hold the pad. Although it props up the controller nicely, getting the arm to extend is difficult. Pulling it into its telescoped form takes some effort, and it worries me because I don’t want to pull too much and put stress on the back of the controller. So, keep that in mind if you do a lot of video and movie streaming.
But on a more positive note, Nyko has another item that works in nearly perfect conjunction with the Uboost. It’s called the Nyko Charge Link. If you’re anything like me, your entertainment center is overrun with cords. Want an example? I have 4 consoles, a TV, cable box, my 3DS charger, Wii U charger, and Hauppauge all in the same place. If you count those up, that’s 9 AC plugs… I only have 6 outlets in my power strip. The Charge Link is USB charger that plugs right into the Wii U, and it completely eliminates my need for the Wii U’s AC adapter, allowing me to eliminate one of my cords.
Furthermore, the Charge Link is 9 feet long, which is much longer than most USB cables. It plugs either into the Uboost, or to the standard charge port on the GamePad, which keeps the gaming going as long as you want. When you’re finished, just wrap up the cable with the attached Velcro cord, and you’re good to go.
All in all, the Uboost and Charge Link are both great products. The Uboost provides doubled battery life without adding weight to the GamePad, getting in the way of buttons, or altering the way the GamePad reads its battery life. Because of the overwhelming pros, the con about the extendable arm is small in comparison. Add the Charge Link to your Uboost, and you have a nearly perfect accessory combo!
If you are interested, you can pick up a Uboost on Amazon at this link, and the Charge Link is listed here. Note that the Charge Link listed is NOT the version reviewed; the one pictured on Amazon is a 3DS cable, but it comes with a GamePad converter (since the ports for the 3DS and GamePad are different sizes). Mine is only for the Wii U. Alternatively, here is the link to Nyko’s Wii U product page, where the items are listed as well.
Verdict: 4.5 of 5 Stars