The star feature of the Nintendo Switch is the way it can easily go from a living room console to a handheld in seconds. However, there are plenty of necessary tradeoffs related to that versatility. For example, the Switch’s portable size prevents it from being a graphics powerhouse. Thankfully, there are lots of third-party accessories that optionally make the Switch better and easier to use, and the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch is one of them.
In this HyperX Chargeplay Clutch review, we’ll tell you all about what it is and the various things it can do. We’ll also let you know if we think it’s worth its relatively high price.
HyperX Chargeplay Clutch review: What is it?
At its core, the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch is a portable dock that makes the Switch easier to hold in handheld mode. The Clutch’s extended grips surround the Joy-Con making them feel much closer to a “real” controller.
However, the Clutch takes things several steps further. It’s not just a classy dock system. It has a built-in 6,000mAh rechargeable battery that will help keep your Switch powered up on the road. The Clutch can recharge your Switch from empty approximately 1.5 times before it will need a charge itself. It also has a kickstand that is much more capable than the built-in one on the Switch. Finally, it also can be reconfigured to create a more ergonomic controller for tabletop gaming.
Essentially, there are two different modes in which you can use the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch. The first is a handheld mode with the entire system snapping onto the Switch. The second is an enhanced tabletop mode where the Joy-Con are separated from the console. These are things that the Switch can already do on its own, but the Clutch makes the experiences better for both.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Chargeplay Clutch when you take it out of the box is how premium it feels. It’s almost all plastic, but the materials are of a high grade. The ergonomics are well-designed so everything feels great in your hands.
To get the whole console into the Clutch, you attach all the pieces together and simply slide the Switch into the dock. There’s a latch on top that snaps the whole thing into place. It’s very sturdy; I had no worries that the Switch was going to fall out or become detached.
Putting the Switch/Clutch combo into tabletop mode is a more bit convoluted, but works as expected. First, you detach the Clutch’s grips from the Joy-Con, leaving just the base of the Clutch. The Clutch’s grips are magnetic so they just pop right off with little effort. Then you slide the Joy-Con off the Switch as you normally would and place them into the Clutch’s handles. There are little plastic latches in the grips that hold the Joy-Con fast. After all that, you’re ready to play.
On the back of the Clutch’s base, you’ll find a power button and four charging lights. A tap of the button activates the rechargeable battery, and it will immediately start pushing power to your Switch. Pressing the power button again shuts off the flow so your Switch will operate on its own power. It’s cool that you can choose whether to draw reserve power, and it’s also nice the LED lights are so easy to see and understand.
What’s not so good?
The kickstand on the back of the Nintendo Switch is objectively terrible. It’s thin, cheap, and located so far to the side of the console that a stiff breeze will blow the whole thing over. Thankfully, the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch solves this problem — while also creating two new ones.
The first problem with the kickstand is the way it’s attached to the base. Two metal pins hold it in place and the pins are easily removable. In fact, when I opened the Clutch for the first time, one of the pins was already dislodged and floating around the inner cavity of the base. I needed to use toothpicks and tweezers to get it out. This is just a bad design.
The kickstand on the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch is better than the one built-in to the Switch, but it also needs some work.
The second kickstand problem is how there’s no obvious way to pull it out. It snaps into place when not in use, but there’s no arrow, ridged marking, or other signifiers to suggest, “Hey, this is how you get the kickstand out.”
Once you do get the kickstand down, though, it works well. It gives you plenty of options for angling, and I had no concerns that the Switch was going to tumble over.
Outside of my gripes over the kickstand, there’s not much else about the Chargeplay Clutch I don’t like. It does everything it claims and does a great job doing it.
HyperX Chargeplay Clutch review: Should I buy it?
The HyperX Chargeplay Clutch is useful, versatile, and comfortable. It’s made of high-quality materials and can bring some real value to Nintendo Switch players who find themselves using it in handheld mode often.
If you have big hands or find that holding the Switch in handheld mode feels cramped, the Clutch will solve that problem. If you don’t like bringing your Nintendo Switch Pro Controller with you on the road, the Clutch easily converts into a pseudo-Pro experience. The fact that it will charge your Switch too is just icing on the cake.
All this versatility and convenience comes at a price. With an MSRP of $59.99, the HyperX Chargeplay Clutch is the same price as a Switch Pro Controller. For this product to have a decent value proposition, the buyer (or giftee) needs to be someone who uses their Switch in handheld mode a lot. If your Switch mostly lives in its dock attached to your TV, you probably don’t need to spend $60 on this. If you’re always on the road and your Switch is barely ever docked, that $60 will be money very well spent.
Do keep in mind that HyperX stuff goes on sale often. If you can find this at a decent discount, it would be a no-brainer purchase.