Hey there brothers and sisters, welcome back to PixelEight. We are only nine days away from the release of the Nintendo Switch, but we are still getting more news about the system, the games and the accessories that will be available to buy come March 3rd.
With such a wide range, it can easily become disorientating, or confusing, trying to figure out what exactly you’re going to want or need to go with your new system, and out of the options available, which are the best. So for this PixelEight I wanted to put together a list of eight accessories that you are probably going to want, for your Nintendo Switch.
If you’ve gotten this far and are thinking to yourself “I don’t want any accessories, I’ve never bought them in the past and I never will,” at very least still take a read of this list. Some of the things on this list are simply suggestions and opinions from myself, and are useful for the sake of convenience, while other items on this list are a must have, such as protective accessories, that will keep your Nintendo Switch, safe and secure, and hopefully running for years to come.
We’re starting off with a broad topic here, but it’s something that needs be mentioned. When you buy the Nintendo Switch bundle, it’ll contain a pair of Joy-Cons, and the basic Joy-Con Comfort Grip, which unites the two separate Joy-Cons into a more traditional controller configuration, which may very well be all you need. However, there have been some mixed reviews about the square shape of the controller face, some people saying it’s awkward and uncomfortable to play for a long time, and that’s fair enough, everyone is different and what may be comfortable for one person, may not be comfortable for another. The important thing is to test out the system, and find out what feels best for you.
If Joy-Cons are your thing, then I recommend getting an additional pair. I’ve seen a lot of video and articles recommending the Joy-Con Charge Grip, a device similar to the Joy-Con Comfort Grip, that contains it’s own internal battery, used to charge the Joy-Cons when they are depleted. Except that the Joy-Cons have around a thirty hour charge, and provided that you put them on to charge before going to bed each night, you’ll never need for anything else in a domestic environment. Where as outside the home, the Switch which is likely to die long before the Joy-Cons do. In my opinion, I can’t foresee a situation where a Charge Grip would be preferable to a fully charged spare set of Joy-Cons.
Thankfully, if the Joy-Cons are a little difficult to use, or just aren’t your thing the Nintendo Switch will be receiving a variety of controller options, on top of the basic Joy-Con configurations. First and foremost the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. If you are looking for a simple, traditional gaming controller, you can’t go wrong with the Pro Controller. The configuration of the buttons and control sticks are the same as that of the Joy-Cons, but with a slight increase in the size of the ABXY buttons and the inclusion of a cross D-pad, rather than D-Buttons of the Joy-Cons, making it similar in many ways to an Xbox One Controller.
While the Nintendo-made Pro Controller is probably your best option, there is an alternate licensed Pro Controller coming out from accessories manufacturer Hori, and that one is a little… odd looking. The D-Pad is instead a circle, which appears to be similar to the D-Pad on the Xbox One controller, but much larger. I’m not sure how I feel about that one, I’ll have to get my hands on one to find out how it feels.
Finally, Hori are also releasing a version of the Real Arcade Pro – Hayabusa, an arcade or fight stick for the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo are not particularly well known for high calibre competitive fighting games on their systems that may necessitate the release of a fight stick on their systems, but with Ultra Street Fighter II coming out on the Switch, now might be an appropriate time to invest for that excellent arcade feeling. I’d suggest waiting however, some fight sticks can connect to multiple platforms, and if I can get one that works on both my Switch and PS4, then that’s the one I want!
Joy-Con Charging Dock
This dock can hold and charge four Joy-Cons (two sets) at a time from the mains. This means that if by some unlikely chance your Joy-Cons die before your Switch, you can place one set of Joy-Cons on the Dock, and take the other set off. Using the Joy-Con sets in a rotation, so there is always going to be one set of charged Joy-Cons even if you do forget to put your current ones back on charge.
I’ve always found that not only are charging stations more convenient, and more aesthetically pleasing than a few wires hanging around, but I also tend to remember to use them more often, always putting the devices back in their place, rather than simply leaving them around.
For as cool and idea that they are, Joy-Cons have already received a lot of harsh criticism, concerning their size and shape. Being so small, a number of people have complained that their hands just don’t feel comfortable holding them for prolonged gameplay, and I can certainly see this as a problem for people with larger hands. As such, controller peripherals, easy to grip sheaths, anything like that, is coming under the heading of “Grip Assistance”.
Firstly we have silicone sheaths. I have no doubt in the coming months there will be literally dozens of companies all producing their own variants on these accessories. They will coming in different colours, and textures, and different designs to try and help give the player the perfect grip. The ones that have impressed me the most thus far however are the Silicone Comfort Grips. These simple silicone sheaths fit around the individual Joy-Cons nice and snug, and have a bulbous booty on the back, creating a softer, ergonomic grip for your sweaty gaming hands.
As useful as these are however, it’s the fiddly nature of taking the sheaths on and off again, that have put me off using them in the past. I have similar sheaths for all of my Wii-motes, which never get used because they don’t fit into the charging docks. These on the other should fit just fine onto the above mentioned Dock, provided that the additional mass on the back isn’t too big for them to fit side by side. One other problem may be turning the Joy-Cons horizontal. Assuming they are uncomfortable before, having that lump on the back maybe more hassle than it’s worth when the Joy-Cons are used this way. Still, these are often a pretty low in price, so you’re not losing too much money to experiment with what’s best for you.
There are also a number of simple silicone sheaths and hard case Joy-Con protectors coming out from Japan in the next couple of months, that you may be able to pick up on ebay or Samurai Buyer.
Speaking of the horizontal Joy-Con configuration, there are also a number of accessories that are coming out to provide better purchase on the controllers this way too. While of course it’s better to play multiplayer games using Pro Controllers or better yet, multiple Switch consoles; for on the go, these cases may prove useful.
The Grip Kit from Surge, will allow you to slot your Joy-Con’s into a snap shut, hard plastic case, that gives them a far more ergonomic shape, for use individually. Alternatively, Nintendo are also offering Joy-Con Wheels, like the Wii-Mote wheels, but much smaller. While these wheels are less form fitting for the hand, and are primarily designed for racing games, the increased size of the wheels compared to the Joy-Con, may be comfortable enough. Meaning if you intend to play Mario Kart with the motion controls, you may only need these wheels to bulk up your Joy-Cons.
This one is kind of obvious. The Switch’s battery life on the go is abysmal, especially when playing top end games like Legend of Zelda, and presumably Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey. As such if you don’t have one already have one I strongly recommend that you get a powerbank and keep it with you at all times, and probably an additional USB-C cable to go with. Powerbanks can be pretty cheap and hold enough power to recharge a phone multiple times. What’s more come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can probably find one that will slip inside your case. Speaking of…
Hard Travel Case
A hard case.
A HARD case.
I cannot stress this enough, there is no good reason to buy anything other than a hard case. What you are going to be carrying around with you is an expensive games console, with one side being 80% glass, two quite tall analogue sticks on the Joy-Cons, and the device itself is packed full of expensive electronic parts, all susceptible to damage from a good drop. Soft sleeves and neoprene pouches should be avoided at all cost, because while they do protect from general wear and scratches inside your bag, they provide zero protection from impacts, which are going to deal this system the most critical damage.
The Official Switch Accessory Kit includes a hard case and a screen protector, but it looks a little too flimsy for my liking and includes the wrong kind of screen protector (more on that in a bit), but there are already a plethora of other hard cases that will be available for purchase come launch day, and you want to find the sturdiest ones, with the best padding.
RDS Industries are releasing a few variants of a hard case called the Traveler Deluxe Case, which I personally would recommend. There are four standard variants, and a larger version for carrying the entire system around. For fans of Legend of Zelda, there is a leather look case, that comes in blue or black with Link embossed on the front, a plain black leather-look case without the embossing and a Switch branded, nylon coated case, which I really like the look of.
All of these are a solid case, designed for the Switch to fit snugly in the padding, offering little to no movement for the device to rattle around. There is a slot underneath the Switch to store two game and memory card holders, and an additional flap over the top with a zip-up mesh pocket suitable for spare wires, a screen cleaning cloth, powerbank, etc.
If you need something to store or transport the whole system however, dock and all, then there’s also the large version of this case, the Traveler Deluxe System case. For general everyday use however, I’d probably recommend something smaller, or if it’s absolutely necessary to cart the whole system around, a better option my be the Switch Messenger bag by Power A.
Screen protectors are a must! Sure, the Nintendo Switch utilizes hardened glass, similar to gorilla glass, which is really hard to break and near impossible to scratch, but flukes can happen, and you want to keep your device safe. If you have a screen protector on and it gets damaged, you’re out a couple of bucks, if something happens to the screen, that’s going to cost a lot more.
When it comes to screen coverings I will always recommend the tempered glass protectors, over the plastic film ones. The plastic ones will do a decent enough job, protecting your screens from general wear and grime, but are far easier to damage, and almost never go on perfectly. No matter how clean your screen is, or much you try with the scraper, you’ll always have some bubbles. The Tempered glass protectors however, go on much easier, and are themselves scratch resistant, for double protection. Of course, for that double protection, you are paying double the price, but I believe it’s worth it in the end.
Switch Screen Stand
Now if there is one thing I’ve said from the start, I wasn’t fond if, it was the Switch Kickstand. It’s doesn’t look particularly sturdy, and so in order to protect the console, I wouldn’t recommend using it. The Switch Kickstand also serves as a cover for the Micro SD card slot, and maybe it’s best if that were it’s only use. Instead I’d recommend the Switch Compact Playstand from Hori. This playstand is far more robust than the Switch Kickstand, offers multiple angles at which you can orientate the screen, and it folds down mostly flat for storage. Unlike using the kickstand, because the screen is raised up off the surface it’s sitting on, you also have access to the USB port on the bottom of the Switch, to keep it powered while you play.
Bonus: A little of column A, a little of column B
Just as an additional entry, what if I told you where was an accessory that was both a stand and a screen cover?
This is the simply named “Front Cover” for the Nintendo Switch by Keys Factory. This is a semi hard screen cover, that is attached to the back of the Switch, and folds over the front, covering the screen, and adding an additional layer of protection, in a similar way to some iPad cases and the Window’s Surface keyboards. While this cover is attached, it will still fit into the dock, and can be folded back over to provide support as a kickstand.
Currently this cover is only available in Japan, but hopefully we will see a western release, if not as I said above, ebay and Samurai Buyer are your friends!
It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch isn’t particularly jam packed full of storage space. With an on board storage of only 32GB, and a number of modern games costing that much, it’s safe to say that the internal storage isn’t going to be used for much more than game saves and system logs. So you are going to want a decent sized Micro SD card. If you intend to buy most of your content digitally, then you may want to purchase multiple Micro SD cards, but let’s take this one at a time for now.
The Nintendo Switch can handle a Micro SD card up to 2TB in size, which is great news. Seeing as there are no Micro SD cards that reach 2TB in size, you can by as large a card as you can afford, and you are going to be sorted for the next few years, being able to upgrade to larger and larger Micro SD cards as the release or as you need them, whichever suits your needs.
Micro SD cards can be pretty expensive, so you’re going to want to buy the best ones you can afford for the system first time, to save the hassle of trying to replace it if it doesn’t run well. Generally speak all SHOULD be pretty good, but slower cards can increase loading times. If you are going for the higher storage top of the range cards, during the Nintendo Switch Treehouse Live event in January, Treehouse members inserted a 256GB Samsung Select Evo Micro SD Class U3 card (seen to the right) into the slot, and informed us that the slot supports SD, SDHC and SDXC.
If you don’t know what these terms mean, there is a simple guide to SD cards, terminology and classifications on How To Geek. For the Switch, I would recommend anything over speed Class 6 (C10, U1 and U3) and in any size you feel appropriate. The price can shoot up by great leaps and bounds as the speed and size get higher, so it’s important to shop around. Usually, though you can get these cards for good prices on Amazon.
Ok, ok, that was a lot more than eight… but hopefully with that information, you are at least a little better equipped for keeping your Nintendo Switch safe and secure, as well as appraised of what sorts of accessories you should be looking out for. If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’m interested in knowing what accessories you’re going to be picking up. Do you know of any that I haven’t mentioned here? There’s probably quite a few!
Thanks brothers and sisters,
Peace and High Scores!