PowerA DualShock 4 Controller Charging Station for PlayStation 4

I had a Nyko drop-in charging cradle for my Xbox 360 controllers for a couple of years and always loved the convenience of being able to leave the controllers in the cradle when not in use and have them available with a full charge at any time.

Alas, the relatively short battery life compared to rechargable AAs eventually made me give up a little convenience for the much longer battery life.

I never saw any need for something of this nature with my PS3 controllers, as their 30-hours on a charge battery life made charging the battery a once a week at most affair.

The 4-hour charge of the Dualshock 4 is a different story. An easy to use daily charging solution was needed.

For awhile I used a 4-port USB hub located on the table next to my seating area, but the frequent use of the micro-USB port worried me when it came to the frequent charging required of this generation of controller.

I looked at the various cradle types of chargers and found most had a feature that wasn't to my liking.

Storing a controller upside down connected to micro-USB port on the top struck me as possibly too stressful on the port, with the port seemingly supporting the entire weight of the controller and had the same frequent insertion and removal of the USB cable as a potential problem.

Perhaps this isn't an issue and I'm worrying where it isn't warranted,but the upside down positioning also seemed . . . inelegant.

The Nyko drop in charger appealed due to its familiarity with a product I liked a lot, but the dongle constantly attached to the USB port looked ungainly and caused fear of putting undue stress on the port.

The PowerA port seemed to be what I was looking for. It uses the sturdier port on the bottom of the controller, the spring-loaded design allows for easy alignment without close inspection, the controllers are stored in a more attractive (to me) upright position, and it has the drop-in functionality of my old Nyko without the dongle.

It works just as I hoped. Installation was easy - plug the adapter into the outlet, the micro-USB cord attached to it into the port on the bottom of the cradle, and thread the cord through the channel built into the side for that purpose.

The separate components area nice touch. Lose the cord and you can substitute any micro-USB cord to replace it. Lose or damage the cradle and the cord will still function to charge the controller directly.

Use is simple. Drop the controller into the cradle, press straight down until it clicks. The flashing light on the controller itself tells you the charging status (flashing yellow - charging; off - charged), so there is no need for lights on the charger itself.

One last note - the Dual Shock 4 comes with a lithium battery. Unlike older rechargabley nickel cadmium batteries, lithium batteries don't become "conditioned" by frequent charging and don't have a "memory".

There's no need to periodically drain them completely to refresh the battery. It's perfectly safe to recharge them after every session and leave them plugged in (cradle down position) all the time, as the controller has a built in voltage regulator that turns off the charger when the battery is full.

The spring loaded design is there to ensure that the controllers are aligned properly when seating them, not for storing without connecting to the charging port.

There is no danger to storing your controllers plugged in (cradle down position) all the time, or to "topping off" the charge after a relatively short charging session.

You do not have to drain the battery between charges, and shouldn't drain it completely. Lithium Ion Batteries are fundamentally different from the nickel cadmium batteries of some early smartphones, which would be damaged if left in the charger every night.

This is not the case with any modern device with an internal battery, almost all of which now use lithium batteries. It can actually be harmful to fully drain them every session and they should be charged as soon as the "low charge" warning comes up rather than waiting for the controller to shut off completely. And to reiterate - there is no harm to charging your Dualshock 4 every day, topping it off, or leaving it plugged in all the time. None of this causes a lithium battery any damage or shortens its lifespan.

There is a misconception regarding frequent charging shortening the lifespan of a battery due to frequent charge cycles.
A "charge cycle" isn't every time you charge your battery, it's a full charge from an empty battery, or with some devices, from the point at which you get the "low battery" warning, usually at 15-20%. Thus, draining a battery halfway and recharging it is half a charge cycle.

Store your lithium battery devices on their chargers while you're not using them. It does them no harm, doesn't shorten battery life, and you always have a full charge.

Also note that if you use NIMH rechargably AA batteries, such as with a 360 or Xbox One controller, go ahead and empty those suckers completely between charges. Different technology, different usage.