When I was reviewing a few cordless controllers, I thought someone should come up with a receiver transmitter combo so that you can plug any controller in and make it wireless. Lo and behold, Saitek has released such a product and it works to a T.
The Saitek With Out Wires, or WOW, consists of one transmitter with two controller ports, and one receiver that plugs into both of the PS2 controller ports. The transmitter has a little rotating antenna, rumble button, and a battery indicator on top. You can save battery power by turning off the rumble feature. The battery indicator has four LED’s that let you know how much juice is left. It’s nice to see when you’re about to run out so you’re not guessing on how much power you have left. The middle of the transmitter holds the battery pack. Four AA batteries power the unit and Saitek has included four Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries that give you eight hours of continuous play.
The receiver has two LED’s that indicate charging batteries and signal reception. A rotating antenna is also attached to the receiver here. The receiver doubles as a battery charger and it will take two hours to fully charge the batteries. Saitek did a good job in designing the battery compartment to fit on the receiver at the bottom and helps provide support to the receiver. Rather than having just the connections be the only support for the receiver, the battery compartment provides a nice base to help prevent damage in the controller ports because the receiver sticks out pretty far from the front of the PS2.
If you need to use a remote or a corded controller, the receiver features a pass through plug that allows you to attach another device. Say your batteries die out and you don’t have a spare. Just plug a controller into the pass through and you can get back into the game. Or if you have a DVD remote you’d still like to use, just attach it to the pass through. With a peripheral plugged into the pass through, port 1 of the transmitting unit will not work but port 2 will. Part of the limitation of this device: you can only have a maximum of two devices attached.
You can use any four AA batteries you would. The good thing about the WOW setup is that you can charge one set of batteries while using another set. Two battery compartments allow you to keep a set in each and just rotate them out. While Saitek had good intentions in not having an external plug charge the batteries, you do have to have the PS2 on for it to charge. It’s not enough to have the PS2 in standby mode so the first time I got the unit I had to have the PS2 charge the included batteries. While I waited for the batteries to charge, I popped in four of my own batteries and tested out the unit. I do like the setup in terms of being able to use your own batteries instead of some rechargeable units that have a specific battery built in. Just make sure the only ones you are recharging with the unit are Nickel-Metal Hydrides or otherwise you might have a big mess on your hands.
To save power, there are two sleep modes. After three minutes, the battery LED’s will start flashing to signal that it is in sleep mode 1. The unit will shut off after ten minutes of inactivity and all lights will turn off. You have to press the rumble button to turn it back on.
Plugging a standard ole PS2 controller into the transmitter, I tried out Tony Hawk 3, Grand Theft Auto 3, and Virtua Fighter 4. I usually play these three on cordless controllers to test out the responsiveness along with the accuracy of the analog buttons. For VF4, I did a few fights and found that the WOW unit held up really well. Fighting the computer, I had no trouble pulling off any move and it was pretty responsive. Combined button presses registered perfectly along with any combination I pulled. So far so good.
Grand Theft Auto 3 showed me that the analog buttons and sticks were transmitted flawlessly. A light press on the accelerator and the car responded with a slow acceleration. I pressed harder and the car quickly got up to speed. Pushing lightly on the analog sticks produce a slight turn while a hard push gave me a tighter turn. All in all, the WOW unit also performed well here.
Finally, I tried Tony Hawk 3. If I could generate the same scores as I normally do and pull off the quick combos, then Saitek’s really got a quality product here. I’m glad to say that I was pulling off grinds and combos without any problems. The unit transmitted my commands quickly thus minimizing the lag. All the games I tried worked out great thus showing that the Saitek WOW unit works as advertised and works wonderfully.
Oh I almost forgot to talk about the range. The unit worked great at around 20 feet away and started to become more erratic as I inched away. 20 feet is pretty far and unless you have a really big TV, I doubt you'll move to a point where the unit is out of range.
I also tested the unit out with a few different brands of controllers and all seem to work fine with the unit. So for those that don’t have the standard PS2 controller but some third party device, you shouldn’t have a problem with it.
Saitek’s With Out Wires has succeeded in providing gamers with the power to turn their controllers into cordless devices. It’s designed well and provides a flawless game playing experience. At $39, it isn’t priced too badly. Unfortunately it only works with two controllers. But I can’t tell you how nice it is to sit far away from the TV, play games, and not worry about anyone tripping over cords. The unit does a great job and I highly recommend it if you are in search of a cordless setup.
If you want a cordless controller but donâ€™t want to give up your old ones, then the Saitek WOW unit is for you. Recharging capabilities, solid design, and great response time makes this one of the best PS2 peripherals around even though you are limited to two controllers.