I love my Nintendo Switch. It's easily one of my favorite gadgets released in the past few years. I don't play as much as I did when I bought it shortly after launch, but knowing that I have a fully capable and portable gaming device ready for my next road trip is part of its allure.
So when the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch was announced at CES 2020, my interest was piqued. This $60 Nintendo Switch accessory is essentially a battery case, much in the same vein as Apple's Smart Battery Case for iPhone, but for Nintendo's portable gaming system.
There's no getting around it, the ChargePlay Clutch is big. It measures 10.78-by-4.35-by-1.57 inches and weighs 400 grams. The Nintendo Switch, for comparison, weighs 398 grams with the Joy-Con controllers attached and measures 9.4-by-4-by-0.55 inches.
The size of the ChargePlay Clutch serves a purpose by housing a 6,000 milliamp-hour battery. The Switch's internal battery is 4,310 milliamp-hours.
There's a USB-C charging port on the back of the case, next to four LED indicator lights that give you the current charge level and a power button. A charging cable that you can plug into your Switch's dock to charge the case is also included. Alternatively, you can use the charger that came with the Switch to charge the case.
The indicator lights blink as the case charges, and when all four lights are solid, the battery is fully charged. You don't have to remove the Switch if you need to charge both devices — plugging into the case's USB-C port will charge your Switch first, then the case.
The ChargePlay Clutch can be converted from an all-in-one arrangement, where your Joy-Cons are attached to the Switch, to tabletop mode. In that arrangement, the Switch is docked with the battery connected, and the case's adjustable kickstand props up your Switch. The kickstand can be used at multiple angles, which is a nice touch.
The two Joy-Con attachments detach from the battery and connect to one another to combine the Joy-Cons into one controller, similar to the Joy-Con Grip that comes with each Switch.
Sliding the Switch into place is done by rotating a small latch up, inserting the Switch and then closing the latch to hold it in place. When closed, I was surprised at how secure the Switch felt in the case.
I never felt like the latch would easily swing open and let my Switch fall out while carrying it. The rest of the build quality felt similar, with a sturdy feel to it.
The ChargePlay Clutch should, in theory, double the battery life of your Switch. I didn't have time for multiple 10-hour gaming sessions during testing, so I opened YouTube on my Switch, found a long video and pressed play. I created a time-lapse video using a Wyze camera to record how long the Switch played the same video powered by the battery case.
The results? It took 4 hours and 15 minutes of constant YouTube streaming before the battery inside the ChargePlay Clutch died. At the end of that time, the Switch battery was still charged to 100% and capable of playing the video for another four hours.
So, yes, the ChargePlay Clutch doubled the battery life of my Switch. At least when it comes to streaming a YouTube video.
Gaming with the ChargePlay Clutch wasn't as uncomfortable as I had imagined. Yes, it makes the Switch bigger and heavier, but I didn't notice the added size after a few minutes of "Fortnite."
That said, the thought of having to find enough space in my backpack to carry the ChargePlay Clutch and my Switch in the carrying case I already have feels daunting. It would be nice if HyperX offered some sort of carrying case big enough for ChargePlay Clutch and the Switch, along with any game cartridges and other small accessories.
It's not a must-have accessory, but one that's nice to have
The ChargePlay Clutch won't likely be at the top of everyone's Nintendo Switch accessory wish list, but it definitely deserves consideration. It's big, bulky and doubles the weight of the Switch — but it also gets the job done. It extends the battery life of your Nintendo Switch by a few hours, and if you're constantly on the go, that's a big deal.
You can buy the HyperX ChargePlay Clutch for $59.99 on Amazon right now.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.