Finally, you can save on purchasing all those AA batteries weekly for your Wii remote. Nintendo has teamed with Sanyo in Japan to come up with a custom battery back based on its eneloop technology--a low self-discharge NiMH battery that charges on contact.
This is also the first Nintendo-licensed recharger. The Contactless Charger Set for Wii Remote Control (as the product is called) uses an electromagnetic induction system to charge the batteries, even through the silicon jackets that are now available for the remote. Battery life on a single charge is about six hours. And it takes around 220 minutes to fully charge--not bad for an overnight session, considering the base stations can be daisy-chained together to subsequently (not simultaneously) charge up to four remotes from one AC adapter.
Sayno claims its eneloop technology retains its charge much longer than the average NiMH battery: about 90 percent of its charge is preserved after six months, 85 percent after a year, and 70 percent after two years. So you can expect many replay sessions of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in the future without cashing in on a new battery pack.
While the Contactless Charger Set looks promising at first glance, there are a couple of red flags. In addition to the long (and non-simultaneous) recharge times, we wonder if the Sanyo system could accommodate the Wiimote once the recently announced WiiMotion Plus is connected. The other big problem: as of now, the product can only be purchased in Japan, though those outside that country should be able to order it for about $74 from GeekStuff4U.com starting August 25.
In the meantime, remember that Nyko's similar Wii Charge Station is currently available. While it won't work with the controller sleeves (and compatibility with the forthcoming WiiMotion Plus is also a question mark), it's pretty cheap--just $25 for two controllers, or double that for four. Likewise, you can always just invest in some off-the-shelf rechargeable AA batteries and matching chargers--they'll keep your Wiimotes going just as well.