If you’re buying or gifting a Nintendo Switch this Christmas you may want to consider picking up some add-ons for additional features or to protect your console and games.
Accessory maker PDP offers almost everything you’d need in that department, and we have a box full of their accessories to look at and review today courtesy of their local distributor.
Proper availability and prices of many of these accessories have not been finalised for South Africa yet, but we do have some preliminary RRPs for some of the accessories.
We have also been informed by the local distributors that some of them will be on sale at various Nintendo Switch Pop Up Zones ahead of a wider launch. As soon as we know where they’ll be available for sale on a regular basis, we’ll let you know.
Premium Console Case
This soft case is made up of a canvas-type material with a very prominent Switch logo on the front. The large zip ends in a metal hoop that can be attached to removable strap, if you prefer carrying it around like that.
Inside, the Switch itself slides into a mesh pouch which is big enough to accommodate your console even when it has something like the Joy-Con guards (discussed elsewhere on this page) attached to it.
In the lid there are smaller pouches that can hold up to 14 cartridges individually. These slide in and out very easily with enough friction to keep them in place, while not damaging them.
This really is a simple case that comes with a cleaning cloth and very solid build quality to try and justify its price. Unfortunately it does not do that – it’s just too expensive for what it is. We’ve been told this will have an RRP of R399, which is a bit steep. If you find it a bit below that price, however, it’s a good buy.
Joy-Con Gel Guards
We tested out the double pack gel guards that come with a guard for each controller. The biggest draw here, aside from adding some extra protection, is the raised backs which add some much-needed mass to the Joy-Cons.
Unfortunately this design comes with the massive drawback of reducing the face button travel distance by adding extra material under your thumbs when you press down. With the buttons already having this problem without the guards, it makes these impossible to recommend.
The included thumbstick attachments work great, but they can’t fix the main problem here. Only consider if you can find them on the cheap and you’re willing to alter them yourself.
Play & Charge Car Adapter
Whether you’re charging between locations or playing in the passenger seat, using your car as a giant battery bank is a good idea.
This charger measures in at 180 centimetres, with a fixed cord that cannot be removed. We’d have really liked that to be an option, as well as a braided cable, but the performance and small size of the cigarette lighter make up for this somewhat.
We’ll be comparing this charger’s performance to the official wall charger offered by Nintendo themselves. Charging the console from 0% to 100% takes around two and a half hours for both options, when in sleep mode with no software running.
Charging while playing is the big difference between the two. In our tests we found that the wall charger gets back around 27% per hour when playing a game at the same time. PDP’s car charger, on the other hand, only clawed back about 13% per hour. These numbers will vary depending on how demanding the game is on the console’s hardware, of course.
With those great numbers and some solid build quality (ignoring that it feels a bit rough the first few times you plug it in), this one is very easy to recommend.
Secure Game Case – Mario Edition
If you need a unique, spring-loaded way to keep your cartridges, this is for you: this case holds up to six cartridges that slide in and out on a tray that can be activated with a small button.
This comes packaged in a very attractive transparent red shell with Mario iconography and two large hoops to tie it to your bag or around your wrist.
That being said, this will have to come in cheap for us to recommend it, especially when the carry cases already offer cart storage and there are so many other options available.
No portable console is complete without the lauded starter kit – a single box with enough accessories to keep you going for a while. PDP’s versions give you a slick carry case, hard Joy-Con guards, thumb stick covers, headphones, a screen protector and a soft cleaning cloth.
The case is the big ticket item here, which is slightly bigger than the Premium Console Case with something of a vinyl finish that feels good in the hands. There’s more space inside due to the bigger size and the extra “page” that separates the inside cavities.
Your Switch goes in the bottom with a velco strap and another mesh pouch is used at the top for anything you like. The page acts as a buffer between them that also holds onto up to 12 cartridges. This works really well in practice and we were surprised how much stuff we could fit into it. Everything in the Starter Kit fits into the case and the Switch is also protected by the felt on the other side of the page.
The Joy-Con guards are much better than the gel versions as they don’t go between the face buttons, and they also help add some weight to the controllers. The only really problem is the design on the back. The advertising on the box makes it seem like these designs are deep moulds that really stand out. Fortunately, they are not and you don’t notice them when playing. Unfortunately, they don’t look anywhere near as good as what you see on the box.
The headphones were a surprise, as we expected the throwaway pairs you usually get included with phones. These are still unexceptional, but they are a step above those cheapo headphones – they have a bit more bass and far less noise.
The thumbstick covers are acceptable but we would have preferred more height, and the screen protector is made from thin plastic. They’re not anything to write home about, but they’re necessary inclusions that do their jobs.
Now we haven’t even mentioned the big draw of these Starter Kits – they come in various flavours. We got four to try out: the Zelda Sheikah Eye edition, the Zelda Link’s Tunic edition, the Mario “M” edition and the Mario Icon edition.
As you’d imagine, the stuff in the box is themed depending on which you choose. The Zelda versions have blue headphones and thumbsticks with guards featuring Zelda detailing. The Mario versions switch blue for Red and the familiar Mario sprites. Your choice of franchise also affects the colour and logo that appears on the ‘buds of the headphones.
The biggest differences are in those cases, so click the links in the names above to see them. Some have raised detailing that is more pronounced and looks great compared to the others, but our pick for a favourite was the Mario “M” case for its simplicity.
This really is a preference thing as we didn’t see (or feel) any quality differences between them. Our only worry is that those raised details may snag if moved around a lot, leading to more dirt and damage.
These are expensive choices with RRPs of R699 each, so you may want to shop around and see if you can assemble the individual items for less. Once you have one of these cases in your hands, however, you may be convinced to splurge.