My favorite third-party peripheral maker, Nyko, has come out with several new charging solutions for the PlayStation 4, among them the Modular Charge Kit. Its modular design, which makes it look like a natural extension of the system, is supposed to help you keep your DualShock 4 controllers charged-up and your PlayStation 4 dust-free without distracting from the slick form factor. It is good looking. It is well made. And it is not a product I could recommend anyone purchase.
Nyko makes a similar product for the Xbox One, called the Modular Power Station. But whereas the X1 power station seamlessly extends the look and texture of the console on the outside while re-juicing a pair of rechargeable battery packs for the controllers on the inside, the PS4 charge kit is a Trojan Horse. It looks absolutely amazing, and will provide nice symmetry if you also own an X1/Modular Power Station combo, but you are gonna be seriously disappointed when you find out what’s inside.
Two tabs on the interior side of the dock slide into the all-around groove in the PS4, helping you line things up perfectly for an almost seamless look. And if we were judging by looks alone, this would be a winner; the shape, the texture, the color are all a perfect match, looking like a natural extension of the console. But beneath the Modular Charge Kit’s high-tech skin beats a low-tech heart. Because the DS4 controllers are sealed, Nyko can’t provide a cool hidden compartment for recharging batteries. So instead you get a cool…brush and cables. Damn you Nyko, and the giant hollow horse you rode in on!
The Modular Charge Kit comes with two retractable micro USB cables that work just like the cable that comes with the PS4, except they’re skinnier and shorter and have the Nyko logo slapped on them. If you’re going to replace my cables with more cables, be sure they don’t feel less expensive and less functional than the ones I already have. On top of this, the supposed selling point – that they’re retractable – poses its own set of problems.
The retracting mechanism is sensitive. Like really sensitive. It clicks and locks in place, but will retract again with a strong breeze. So even if the cable was long enough, you wouldn’t want to use these to charge your controller while still using said controller. I also found it necessary to pull on both ends of the cable simultaneously, to prevent the mechanism from getting jammed. On a positive note, once you get them to cooperate, its nice not to have cables hanging all over the place while your controllers charge. But my favorite feature remains how discreetly and completely they tuck away. It’s not good when the thing you like best about a product is how easy it is to forget it even exists.
The cleaning brush, a seemingly tacked on accessory that makes up the bulk of the charge kit, is actually the best part. Though called a brush, it’s actually a super soft cloth material that works really well to pick up lint and dust. And the PS4 is a lint and dust magnet. The cloth is mounted on a nice, solid sliding mechanism so that it can extend to clean the crevice that runs along the middle of the PS4.
It worked wonders on the textured side, but on the acrylic side it left little micro scratches. Well, the dust left little micro scratches. Honestly, that’s the fault of Sony’s choice of materials, not the brush. But for cleaning the rest of the system, as well as detailing those hard to reach areas with the aptly named detail brush, this does precisely what it says on the tin. Still, $19.99 for a box that holds a couple of charging cables and a brush is too high an ask.
Perhaps this would have worked better for me if it was marketed as a cleaning accessory (with a couple of retractable cables thrown in for free), but it’s the charging solution-aspect that takes top billing. And as a charging solution, Nyko’s Modular Charge Kit is a miss. If you’re looking for a charging solution that’s both elegant and economical, then try Nyko’s Modular Charge Station.
For those with OCD only
The only person I could imagine choosing the Modular Charge Kit over the identically-priced, but in every other way superior Modular Charge Station is someone with an obsessive compulsion to clean. But I doubt such a strict neat freak would ever bring a dust magnet like the PS4 into their hermetically sealed sanctuary in the first place.