Review: HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for Nintendo Switch
There are plenty of portable charging and protective case options out there for the Nintendo Switch. However, it is always a treat whenever we get to try an accessory has an angle on the rest, whether it be through functionality, efficiency, or even price. The HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for the Nintendo Switch we saw at CES 2020 is definitely one that tickled our fancy. It is part case, part stand, part battery, and part controller grip.
Let’s take the ChargePlay Clutch apart, literally…
Features and Build
Weighing in at 400 grams and housing a 6,000mAh battery, the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for the Nintendo Switch plugs into your console via USB-C. A flap on the top snaps down to hold the console securely into the case. Keeping heat dispersion in mind, the flap has openings that allow the Nintendo Switch’s vents to exhaust air freely.
As for the Joy-Con grips, there are two styles in which you can use the ChargePlay Clutch’s handles. The ChargePlay Clutch’s handles can snap either into the battery base where the console is stationed, or onto each other to form a standalone controller grip. In either play style, handheld or tabletop, the unit is held together with the aid of magnets.
In handheld mode, the console and its attached Joy-Cons slide into the ChargePlay Clutch entirely. The console as a whole fits into the case quite snugly, leaving no room for the console to wiggle or slide about. In terms of protection, in this format you have solid protection for the console’s rear, bottom, and sides.
This is pretty par-for-the-course when it comes to protecting the Nintendo Switch. As I have seen in other Nintendo Switch cases, you cannot do too much to protect the console’s top corners without effecting access to the bumpers and triggers.
In tabletop mode, the ChargePlay Clutch’s battery base continues to hold onto the console’s center.
The case has an embedded kickstand that you can pull out from the back. You then remove each Joy-Con and slide them into each of the ChargePlay Clutch’s handles. The case’s handles feature tabs that swing out to grasp onto each individual Joy-Con. You then snap both handles together and you have yourself a standalone controller grip that you can hold in a more traditional console gaming fashion.
The ChargePlay Clutch only begins to charge your console once you press the power button on the back. Next to the power button sits four LED’s indicators for the ChargePlay Clutch’s battery level. You can recharge the ChargePlay Clutch via its own USB-C port using the included USB-C to USB A cable. You can even charge the ChargePlay Clutch while the case charges your console. That is a nice perk to have whenever you are playing with the Nintendo Switch in the tabletop layout, especially if you happen to be next to some power outlets.
Comfort and Performance
The HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for the Nintendo Switch is indeed bulky, as you can see for yourself. However, for the sake of comfort, that was not a bad thing. In both handheld and tabletop modes, I actually relished having more surface area to grasp onto. The perforated surfaces on each of the handles allowed for a secure and non-slip grip. This is despite those perforated surfaces being of plastic instead of something more rubber-y. I was ok with this. I would imagine that a rubber surface had a higher chance at making your hands warm than with plastic. So at least this approach is better for promoting a somewhat cooler handling experience than it could have had otherwise.
In handheld mode, the coupling of the ChargePlay Clutch and the Nintendo Switch had some heft to it. Playing in a setting where you can rest your elbows or arms proved to be ideal. Granted, I rarely see anyone holding a Nintendo Switch out in front of themselves with zero arm support. Yet, weight and dexterity are even more in play here thanks to the extra weight that the ChargePlay Clutch’s battery adds in. However, I still found my grip to be more comfortable with the ChargePlay Clutch handles than without.
I very much enjoyed playing with the ChargePlay Clutch in tabletop mode as well. When I arranged the ChargePlay Clutch in the separated controller grip and stand orientation, I started to appreciate the ergonomics of the controller even more. The Joy-Cons sat securely in each side of the handles, remaining sturdy even in the most rigorous of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate matches. More importantly, the ChargePlay-contained Joy-Cons felt more comfortable to hold than they did with Nintendo’s out-of-the-box controller grip.
As for gameplay lifespan, your battery consumption is determined by how draining the game you are playing is. For our long-haul play session test, we looked into how long we could play Pokemon Sword & Shield, starting from a fully charged Nintendo Switch and ChargePlay Clutch. Starting at 7:30PM (Day 1), I started playing in handheld mode until the console complained about low battery. Once the low battery indicator showed up on screen, at around 10:35PM (Day 1), I then pressed the power button on the ChargePlay Clutch. So at least we know that the Nintendo Switch can last at about three straight hours with this game.
I then continued playing while the ChargePlay Clutch recharged the console until the ChargePlay Clutch’s battery drained, which was at about 12:45AM (Day 2). At this point, the console’s battery was charged back up to a respectable 59 percent. This is impressive considering that we were actively draining the console’s battery while it continued to charge.
I then turned off the system and passed out. The next day, starting at around 11:30AM, I continued to play with the remaining battery life until the Nintendo Switch had drained down to 15 percent.
In the end, we estimated a total of at least 7.5 hours of playtime, starting from a fully charged Nintendo Switch and ChargePlay Clutch. The ChargePlay Clutch added a strong 4.5 hours of additional playtime. That is a very solid chunk of game time, making the ChargePlay Clutch for the Nintendo Switch a strong companion for long trips or flights.
At $59.99, HyperX’s ChargePlay Clutch Charging Case for Nintendo Switch is a solid purchase for any heavy Switch gamer on the go. You have a solution that powers a Nintendo Switch for the duration of a flight from east to west coast in the US. More importantly, it is easier to hold than many of the battery-stand hybrid solutions out now, which simply attach a battery backpack of sorts to the center of your console. Those solutions would have you hanging onto a now-heavier Switch by its thin Joy-Con controllers. With the ChargePlay Clutch, the unit as a whole feels solid, while being bulky enough to grasp onto comfortably for long periods of gameplay.
If you are looking to improve both your ergonomics and your battery life when you game on the go, the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch is a solid and approachable purchase. Take a look at the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch Charging Case for Nintendo Switch for yourself by clicking here.
† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for the Nintendo Switch for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.