REVIEW – There’s nothing worse than getting a low battery notification when in the middle of a gaming session on your Switch. But thanks to HyperX and their ChargePlay Clutch Charging Case, you can more than double your Switch’s battery life on the go. But is it worth the weight?
What is it?
The HyperX Charge Clutch is a charging case for the Nintendo Switch that provides and extra 6000mAh of power to more than double the console’s battery life. It also doubles as a much better tabletop configuration with its extra-wide kickstand.
What’s in the box?
- Charging case
- Detachable Joy-Con Grips
- USB Type-C cable
- 6000mAh battery capacity
- Dimensions: Length 273.9mm, Width 40.2mm, Height 114.1mm
- Weight: 400g (14.1 oz)
- Wide, stable kickstand
- Detachable textured grips
- Input 5V ⎓ 1.5A Max, Output 5V ⎓ 2.0A Max
- 1.8m USB Type-C charging cable
Design and features
I’ve been gaming on handheld devices for (checks calendar) nearly 75% of my life — or 30 years — whichever sounds more impressive. And my first handheld was the big, chunky, original Gameboy.
There have been many iterations of Nintendo’s handheld devices since then, and I’ve owned them all, from that gray brick all the way up to their most recent hybrid TV/handheld console, the Switch. But when I docked my Switch into the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch, something amazing happened… my sleek, lightweight console transformed into something more like the thick, chunky beast from 1989.
Setup is very simple. Just slide the Switch down into the Clutch, lining up the charging port, and flip the locking tab down to firmly secure it. To activate the battery charge, simply press the button on the back, and the charge LED indicators will turn on, both letting you know that the case is actively charging your Switch, and displaying how much juice the case’s battery still has.
The first thing you’ll notice is the extra wide, chunky grips that your Switch now has. If you’ve ever felt that the Switch is perhaps too thin or small to be held comfortably for extended periods of time, then this might be a welcome feature. Personally, it didn’t take long for me to get used it, and sort of had the hand feel of a larger controller, like an Xbox or Switch Pro controller.
The second thing that you’ll notice, perhaps more immediately than the grips, is the weight.
It’s important to stress just how much extra bulk adding a battery pack onto what is pretty much a portable device. The Switch, on its own, weighs in at 10.5 ounces. (Just for a fun reference, the Gameboy, with batteries, was 13.9 ounces!)
The Clutch alone weighs 14.1 ounces, bringing the grand total of the Switch/Clutch combo to 24.6 ounces, or 1lb 8oz. It’s a very noticeable difference in your hands, transforming the small tablet — one that is often held up and rotated to interact with accelerometer-enabled games — into more of a lap-held device.
That alone might be enough to turn off a sizable number of readers, but, you can rest assured that this was the only major knock I had against the Clutch.
Inside the Clutch rests a 6000mAh battery, which compared to the Switch’s 4310mAh battery size, more than doubles the play time of the Switch in undocked handheld mode. The total amount of battery life will vary, not just by how graphically taxing the game is, but if you happen to have a newer model. The latest iteration of the Switch comes with “new improved battery life.” Interestingly enough, Nintendo didn’t increase the size of the battery — it’s identical to the launch version — but the processor is much more efficient and manages to squeak a few more hours out of that same battery. So if you happen to be sporting a new model, you could be looking at 9-18 hours or more with the battery case.
Probably one of the best use cases for the ChargePlay Clutch is in tabletop mode. The Switch has a notoriously bad offset kickstand on the back of it making it extremely unstable. If you place it on a table or chair that is anything other than rock solid, it feels like the Switch is threatening to collapse with every bump and jostle.
The Clutch, however, has a very wide kickstand on the back that is nearly as wide as the central case. And while it only has one angle setting, it’s perfect for where it would sit on most tabletop or coffee table surfaces.
The side grips are held to the central case with powerful magnets, and are easily removed. There are pop-up rails in each grip, allowing the JoyCons to be inserted securely. And the magnetic notches in the grips fit together to form a single controller from the individual JoyCons. This is similar to the setup of the plastic joiner that comes with the Switch, and it’s a very clever addition to this case.
Now this configuration works very well, compared to handheld mode. You get the benefits of extra battery life, a secure dock, and a sturdy kickstand, all without having to feel double the weight in your hands. It’s without a doubt the most ideal setup.
One final point — and the only other negative besides the extra weight — that gives me pause to wholeheartedly recommend the ChargePlay Clutch is the price. One could easily pay half of the asking price of $60 and end up with a 10,000mAh or higher external battery pack that can be tethered to the Switch via USB cable.
This accomplishes the same primary function of the ChargePlay — bolstering the Switch’s battery life — without adding any direct weight to the Switch itself. True, it’s another cable to get in the way, but if you’re just sitting playing, anyway, it’s not really that much of a bother.
What I like
- All-in-one battery/case solution
- Comfortable grips
- Makes for a much improved tabletop setup
What I’d change
- Pare down the overall weight by spreading out the battery and removing the big grips
- This solution is expensive compared to an external battery pack
While it’s nice having an all-in-one battery pack and case that securely attaches to the Switch, it also more than doubles the weight of the handheld console, almost forcing you to cradle it in your lap in handheld mode. Also, cheaper options are out there for external battery packs. Personally, I didn’t think the grips and kickstand features were enough to overcome those negatives, but your mileage may vary.