The ChargePlay Clutch is a fascinating accessory for the Switch from one of my favorite PC accessory companies, HyperX. The new ChargePlay category represents HyperX stretching into the console gaming space, and the ChargePlay Clutch is by far the most innovative product in the line.
The Clutch is a 6000mAh battery for your Switch in the form of an ergonomic grip, but that’s not all. The Joy-Con grips detach from the battery and connect to each other to form a controller grip similar to the comfort grips that come with the Switch, while the battery has a kickstand, making the ChargePlay Clutch a battery extender for both handheld and tabletop play.
More Life = More Fun
I’m still rocking the launch version of the Switch, so battery life is a pretty big concern for me. Even with the new upgraded version, the Switch averages about 3-5 hours of play time depending on the game.
The ChargePlay Clutch took my Console from completely dead to about 55% in an hour or so. I then plugged the Clutch in and was pleasantly surprised to discover it has pass-through: my Switch continued to charge until 100% before the Clutch began to charge up. I’m really glad that you can plug this Clutch in and charge both it and your Switch without needing to take your Switch out, it makes it far more likely my Switch will stay in the Clutch.
This is the first solution I’ve seen for the Switch’s weak battery life and I love that idea that it’s a multi-functional device. I get the sense that HyperX really understands the way people use their Switch and have designed the the Clutch around the console’s strengths. For example, the charging port for the Clutch is on the back, rather than on the bottom like the Switch. This means you can keep the Switch plugged in and powered while you play in tabletop mode. I once bought a stand for my Switch just so I could charge it in tabletop mode, the Clutch solves that problem.
Weighing Me Down
My problem with the Clutch, at least in handheld mode, is the weight. At 400 grams, the Clutch very nearly doubles the weight of the Switch, making it (ironically) more uncomfortable to hold the longer you play. I think there’s some opportunity to displace the weight a bit better as well.
I found that while sitting up and looking down at the Switch the weight was distributed to the tips of my fingers resting in the curve of the grips, which wasn’t too bad, but when laying down and holding my Switch up all that weight rested in my palms. The corners of the grip are slightly rounded, but without any kind of soft material on them, I found that supporting the weight from the corners of the grip with my palms got to be pretty uncomfortable quickly.
As far as handheld mode goes, I’ll be sticking with something like the Satisfye Grip that I can wrap my hands around. I’d be really interesting to see if HyperX can get the weight down and tweak the design to be a bit more ergonomic.
Tabletop Is Where It’s At
It’s a whole different story in tabletop mode though. The center kickstand is great for setting this thing down on any surface, even a bed, and being able to plug the Clutch in to charge both it and the Switch in tabletop mode is a blessing. I think between docked, handheld, and tabletop, that tabletop is probably the least common way to play the Switch – but if you’re playing tabletop then the Clutch is the absolute best way to do it.
I like the controller grip as well. I’m more likely to hold the Joy-Cons separately in each hand when I play in tabletop mode, but the weight of the controller grip actually feels nicer than the stock one that comes with the Switch. Transitioning the console is a bit of an ordeal though: you have to slide the Joy-Cons out, then take off the grips, snap them together, then lift a little door on each one that holds the Joy-Cons in place before sliding them back in. It would be really nice if you could just slide the grips off with the Joy-Cons and snap them together, but I’ll admit I don’t know how that would work.
The Best Way To Get More Power
I’m really happy with the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch overall, despite my issues with the weight and ergonomics. I’d like to see a version of this with more comfortable grips that help make the extra weight more manageable, but batteries are heavy and I realize there’s only so much you can do.
I really like the detachable grips because they complement the design of the Switch and the way we use it. You can even drop some of the weight by removing the grips altogether and just mounting the battery on. The use-it-your-way appeal of the ChargePlay Clutch is something you’ll find in a lot of HyperX products and why they’re one of my favorite brands. If you’re on-the-go and you need some extra juice, the ChargePlay Clutch is the by far the best solution I’ve seen yet.
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