System accessories are a great solution for both personalizing and protecting your console investment, not to mention the perfect way to surprise the gamer on your gift list during the holiday season. Over the last couple of months, Nyko has been cranking out Nintendo Switch accessories like nobody’s business. And with the help of a little PR magic—Thanks, Samir!—I’ve managed to get my hands on most of them for a few rounds of in-home testing.
Here are my picks from the current Nyko Nintendo Switch accessory lineup. I’ve included prices, notes about any unfortunate incompatibilities with these or other Switch accessories, and my own (weird) thoughts.
This one addresses one of the Switch’s lingering problems, its flimsy kickstand. If you’ve ever played the Switch in Tabletop mode, you likely know what I’m talking about. Noticeably brittle and otherwise insubstantial, it’ll usually keep your system upright, but just barely. Replacing it with Nyko’s metal offering is as easy as popping off the original factory stand—it’s designed to release from the Switch housing if you hyperextend it upward—and slipping in this sturdier substitute. Its all-metal construction makes it noticeably more durable, a hidden notch beneath the stand can be used to store an extra microSD card, and it’s the perfect way to subtly differentiate systems in multi-Switch households.
Incompatible with: Nothing—This guy sits flush with the system shell when closed, and it didn’t interfere with any other accessories during my testing.
Nyko’s innovative Charge Block technology for the Switch comes in two distinct flavors, the Charge Block for Joy-Con and the Charge Block Pro. The former has slots for four Joy-Con controllers, while the latter, using an unobtrusive dongle attached to the controller itself, offers a drop-in charging solution for your Pro Controller. Even independently, these are high-quality chargers that work great whether you’re using a wall outlet or the USB port on your system. The real magic happens when you pop off the charger’s front cover exposing its rail system. This allows you to daisy chain multiple Charge Blocks together creating your own configuration of modular chargers pulling from a single power source. (Note that you’ll need to be drawing electricity from an outlet or USB 3.0 connection to power more than two connected blocks.) Perfect for multi-console households—I’ve set up a charging station to keep my Joy-Cons, Pro Controller, and my DualShock 4s all topped off—or anywhere wall outlets are in short supply, Nyko’s Charge Blocks are surely among the easiest of accessory recommendations.
Price: $19.99 each
Incompatible with: Nothing—In fact, Charge Blocks are the perfect cross-platform solution for all your controller-charging needs!
If, however, you’re interested in a full console power solution, Nyko’s new Boost Pak is surely more your speed. Unlike the earlier Power Pak, which was a bulky supplementary battery back-up that surrounded the Switch like a case, the Boost Pak is a rectangular module that clips directly to the system’s bottom USB-C charge port. Inside is a 2500mAh battery (compared to the Switch’s internal 4310mAh cell) that’s worth an extra half-charge or so during on-the-go play. While that might not exactly sound groundbreaking, the shape of the device is what makes it a real crowd-pleaser. The Boost Pak is specifically designed to clip firmly to your Switch, even when the system is docked. Yes, it’s a battery pack that doesn’t interfere with docked play, and better yet, its own USB-C connector acts as a pass-through port, charging both itself and the Switch’s battery when docked. Just charge your system as usual and then flip the Boost Pak’s selector to transfer that extra juice when you need it during handheld play.
Incompatible with: Cases—While it doesn’t interfere with those Keys Factory flip-down Front Covers that I love so much, other snap-on system cases—basically, anything that adds bulk around or otherwise covers the bottom USB-C port—are incompatible with the Boost Pak. It also doesn’t play well with tempered glass screen covers, although the thinner traditional film covers pose no such problem.
I’ll open this entry with a warning—specifically that some users have reported that the Nyko Portable Docking Kit has damaged their systems while others have cited it as an unreliable Switch docking solution. Personally, though, the Portable Docking Kit has worked like a charm for both my family’s Switch consoles. While obviously not as robust as the first-party dock, this little jewel does boast the same charging and HDMI-out capabilities of Nintendo’s bigger, more expensive solution, and even a trio of USB ports of its own. To use it, simply connect the Type-C AC adapter and HDMI cable, turn your TV to the appropriate input, and dock your Switch. A removable stand slips behind the USB-C input for added support, and there’s a little play in it that allows your console to rest at the right angle. Obviously made for travel, the Portable Docking Kit and its power adapter fit perfectly in my new WaterField Arcade case, and coming in at $40 less than the official Nintendo dock, it’s quite the bargain to boot.
Incompatible with: Nyko Boost Pak, bulkier cases, anything that adds significant weight to the Switch—This thing is really small, y’all, so mind that delicate support stand!
Nyko’s wired Core Controller lacks the NFC functionality, vibration, and gyroscopic control options of the Switch Joy-Con and Pro Controllers. What it does offer, though, is lag-free play, a 10′ cord, and a programmable turbo button—all this at a $20 price point. While the face buttons are nice and responsive and the triggers extra clicky, my only real beef with the Core is that its analog sticks seemed to lack a little of the Joy-Cons’ finesse; this was especially noticeable when picking locks in Skyrim, an activity that is also usually aided by the rumble feature. That said, the Core controller is a solidly constructed, solidly reliable third-party solution, and it’s an amazing value for the price.
Incompatible with: Handheld and Tabletop modes—This thing only works if there’s an available USB input, so it’s only a real option for docked play.
Of all the accessories Nyko provided for this review feature, none surprised me more than the Thin Case. The Portable Dock and Kick Stand addressed existing shortcomings with the original hardware, while things like the Charge Block and Power Pak made the Switch’s good parts better. Hell, even the Core Controller, which I probably liked the least, was still perfectly serviceable. The Thin Case, though, went from throwaway item to indispensable add-on in a matter of minutes. Made up of a thin plastic membrane into which you slide either Joy-Con coupled with a two-piece system shell that snaps on over the Switch itself, this case instantly made my Switch feel better in my hand—gummy but not sticky, warm to the touch but not hot (unlike that metal Kick Stand during long play sessions). And its all-over red-to-blue color scheme even made me do the unthinkable: go back to using my original Joy-Cons. With a bundled tempered glass screen cover, the Thin Case is a great investment for those looking for a little extra protection in a minimalist footprint. Unfortunately, while it looks great on the Red and Blue units (and even the Grey vanilla models), I wouldn’t recommend mixing it with the new Neon Joy-Cons.
Incompatible with: Boost Pak, Power Pak, Charge Bands, and other cases (obviously)
Review materials provided by: Nyko