Monday, July 09, 2007

Nyko Wireless Wii Sensor Bar Review

A review of the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar for the Wii - (or) - How to use the Wii when it isn't near the TV.
This past week I spent a great deal of time helping my dad set up a home theater in his theater/game room. In this room we installed a front-projection TV, a projector screen and the components that go along with it. One of the key components in my parents eyes was the Wii Game Machine. My folks love the Wii sports game and it is a favorite when they have their friends over so it was important to them to have the Wii work with the projector. The problem with this was that their home theater components were a great distance from the projection screen. Far enough that the wii sensor bar wouldn't reach. Thus began my search for a solution.

First it is important to explain what the sensor bar really does in the first place. The sensor bar doesn't really "sense" at all. Instead, it emits infrared lights from the right and left side of the sensor bar. The wiimote "reads" the infrared from the sensor and sends that information via bluetooth to the Wii console and thus tells it where the Wii remote is pointing. Thats about all it does. The cord going from the Nintendo Sensor Bar to the Wii powers the IR lights on the sensor bar.
I considered making a diy sensor bar with the help of this site or modding the original sensor bar like this, but it looked like more work then I had time for so I decided to buy the Nyko Sensor bar for $20 at Amazon. It was just too cheap to not try it!
The Nyko Sensor Bar comes packaged in a plastic tube
The Nyko Sensor Bar looks similar to the Nintendo's wired sensor bar except it is a bit bulkier, has a battery compartment on the bottom, a switch on the back that tells it whether to auto-off after one hour or two hours and a button on top to power it on. When its powered on, a blue led light glows on the front. The wireless sensor bar is powered by four AA batteries and Nyko includes a set of four batteries in the package. Nyko says it will allow up to thirty hours of use, but I wasn't able to test the play time (although it didn't run down the batteries after several days of play). Once you press the power on button, it will run for either one or two hours depending on the setting you select with the switch. Once it runs for that period of time, it begins beeping and flashing to warn you it will turn off soon. To avoid it turning off at this point, you press the power button for another hour or two of use.

Below is a photo of the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar in front and the Nintendo Wired Sensor bar behind. Notice the IR lights on the left & right of the wireless sensor bar. These lights only show up in a photograph and can't be seen with the human eye. The bright blue led light close to the right side is the power on light
This is the bottom of the wireless sensor bar. The compartment for the AA batteries is found here.

On the top right of the wireless sensor bar is a power button and speaker for alerting you to a pending power off.
Nyko says it's wireless sensor bar has a 25 foot range compared to the standard sensor bar's somewhat shorter range. I had no problem with sensitivity of the controller after switching to the wireless sensor bar, but I did have to adjust the sensitivity settings a little. For our projector setup we put velcro on the bottom right and bottom left of the sensor bar and on the bottom of the projection screen so we could attach and remove the sensor bar when needed.

I highly recommend the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar for anyone who needs to have the sensor bar and tv screen to be far away from the Wii console. The price is right and it does exactly what it's supposed to.