I love my Nintendo Switch. Breath of the Wild helped me to see the Zelda franchise anew (especially through my children’s eyes), updated versions of Mario Kart 8 and Pokkén have re-popularized those Wii U-era favorites in my house, and Splatoon 2 remains the title to beat for my game of the year.
But I reckon I’ve been one of the lucky ones. I’ve had to deal with none of the Joy-Con, wireless connectivity, or screen scratch issues that some other users have experienced.
Still, despite my good fortune and overwhelmingly positive view of the machine, even I can admit the console isn’t without its flaws. Thankfully, Nyko has recently set about fixing at least two of them.
For those who live in fear of scratching their Switch touchscreen but simply can’t abide by slapping a cheesy screen protector on such an expensive device, Nyko has come up with a unique, affordable solution: Dock Bands.
These semi-rigid bands slide onto your console face alongside the right and left Joy Con rails. (They’re labeled with a + and – to help you know which is which.) Then you simply dock as normal. The grooves in the Dock Bands hug the sides of your Switch dock, making sure your system rest firmly upright, assuring a solid connection to the internal USB-C connector and preventing you from accidentally grazing the screen when docking/undocking.
Even with the bands in place, you can easily attach and detach your Joy-Con controllers. In fact, other than providing a slightly raised ridge where the Switch meets your palms in Handheld mode, they are practically undetectable.
Putting them on is a delicate science, but one that is summarily explained via the pack-in instruction sheet. Basically, you slide the bands onto the bottom of the Switch first, where a raised bump “locks” into a conveniently placed screw hole, then you slide the top part of the band into position. To remove them, start by pulling the top of the band off first. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, installing and removing the bands becomes second nature.
Nyko Dock Bands retail for $4.99, which is a small price to pay for a little piece of mind.
Second, perhaps, only to screen-scratching woes, the Switch’s most frequent design complaint is an inability to charge your console while in Tabletop mode. This has led fans and peripheral designers to a number of interesting solutions, from fancy stands to the old stack-up-a-couple-of-books trick.
Nyko’s solution, however, takes a cue from the ubiquitous smartphone battery case. The Nyko Power Pak for Nintendo Switch is a plastic case that surrounds the tablet portion of the device, with a 5,000mAh battery built in.
A pair of sliding switches on the Power Pak’s back releases a detachable top cover. With that removed, you just slide your Switch comfortably into the case, taking care to gently attach it to the internal USB-C connector. Snap the top back into place, and your Switch is now cradled in a battery booster that doesn’t obstruct any other connections—save, of course, for the standard docking functionality.
Obviously, this adds a bit of bulk to the svelte Nintendo Switch, but it beats running out of juice halfway through your play session. Also, while this makes the system a little too big to fit in standard clamshell cases, I did find that it still fit in my Splatoon 2 system pouch.
At $39.99, the Nyko Power Pak for Nintendo Switch is a solid deal, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a few hitches. For example, if you want the Power Pak to work its magic, you have to manually press the power button on the back to engage the charge function. To its credit, though, while the device won’t auto-charge, it is smart enough to automatically stop charging once your console is full.
That minor nitpick aside, the only other negative is its rather flimsy kickstand. It is loose and rather insubstantial, and I would’ve really like to have seen Nyko equip this otherwise enticing accessory with its own sturdy metal kickstand.
Review materials provided by: Nyko