My original Nintendo Switch is still great. But over the last three years, I’ve realized it’s not the most comfortable to hold. Also, the battery life seems worse than ever. I don’t know if that’s because the games are more intensive or if the battery is just losing some of its integrity. Whatever the underlying issues, though, HyperX thinks it has an answer in its new ChargePlay Clutch battery case.
The ChargePlay Clutch is available now for $60 on HyperX’s website. It features a battery that increases the total power capacity by nearly 150%. The peripheral also improves the ergonomics and functionality of the Switch both as a handheld or for tabletop use.
Let’s take a closer look.
What you’ll like
The HyperX ChargePlay Clutch adds significant playtime to your battery
Battery manufacturers measure capacity in milliamp hours or mAh. The original Nintendo Switch has a 4,310mAh battery. HyperX’s ChargePlay Clutch has its own battery with a 6,000mAh capacity. This more than doubles the playtime you can get out of the system.
This will also work with the revised Nintendo Switch with the improved battery life. That model also has a 4,310mAh battery, but it is more energy efficient. So the ChargePlay Clutch is even more effective in that case.
Two things to keep in mind. The ChargePlay Clutch does not work with the Switch Lite. And while you may have heard about third-party Switch docks bricking systems, that doesn’t apply here. That fear is only in regards to devices that replace the TV dock. No one has confirmed any issues with third-party portable battery chargers that do not output to a TV (and therefore need to ramp up the voltage).
Improves the usability of the Switch
But if you are going to slot the Switch into a plastic exosuit, you should probably get more out of it than just battery life. And HyperX made sure the ChargePlay Clutch brings along other improvements as well.
The shell itself will likely over some protections to your device. It’s easy to break the latches that hold the Joy-Con controllers in place when you drop the console. The Clutch should guard against that.
Hyper also included a much better kickstand that is more than sturdy enough. It should prop the Switch up even on a flimsy seat-back tray on a turbulent airplane.
ChargePlay Clutch’s best secondary feature, however, is its ergonomics. It comes with grips that slot into the main battery unit to create a much more comfortable portable. If you are someone who plays for long enough periods of time that you need a battery extender, then these grips will ensure your hands don’t shrivel in the process.
The grips are magnetic, so you can pull them off when you’re not using them. But they also connect together to create a dedicated, comfortable Joy-Con grip controller.
It’s all very smart. And it helps that the plastic and the hinges that hold everything in place have a high build quality.
What you won’t like
The HyperX ChargePlay Clutch is heavy and bulky
The ChargePlay Clutch’s big battery is also the source of its biggest drawbacks.
It is big — both in terms of mass and size. HyperX says it weighs 400 grams. The Switch itself is just under 300 grams. So while you’re more than doubling your battery, you’re also more than doubling the heft. The entire package weighs nearly as much as Sega’s portable Genesis Nomad that could play full 16-bit console games on the go.
If you are sitting in a comfortable position, you shouldn’t have an issue handling that weight. But if you try to hold it over your head in bed or in any position prone to fatigue, you’re gonna notice it.
The bulk, meanwhile, doesn’t cause many issues during use. But it is a problem when you need to put everything away. A Switch and ChargePlay Clutch are going to take up more room in your bag, and it’s not going to fit in a lot of carrying cases.
For traveling, I would choose the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch as a must-have Switch accessory. The battery life and comfort you get for $60 is excellent. And as with other HyperX devices, it seems like the company built this to last.
If you find yourself constantly running out of juice during your Switch sessions, the ChargePlay Clutch is easy to recommend.
HyperX ChargePlay Clutch is out now for $60. HyperX sent GamesBeat a sample unit for the purpose of this review.