The Nintendo Switch recently celebrated the second anniversary since its launch and the world getting its hands on it. Unfortunately for many, this also came with a degree of discomfort because of the Joy-Cons.
Many who prefer to play in handheld mode find the completely flat controllers, combined with their diminutive size, to be a real nuisance. Those overseas have access to a variety of accessories to alleviate this (the Skull & Co. GripCase probably the most famous), but South African gamers have far fewer choices.
So few that we can only find one such item sold in the country: the SparkFox Comfort Grip with Game Storage.
While SparkFox isn’t a huge name in the accessory market, it has a reliable reputation for decent quality peripherals, especially considering the low prices. The Comfort Grip is no exception, as we bought ours from Raru for just R163. We’ve seen it sold at other smaller retailers, but Raru is the largest and most reliable we’ve found to stock it.
First impressions are mixed when taking the grip out of the box. The construction is entirely a uniform black plastic and the grips have a nice textured pattern that adds some needed friction to the affair.
This initial optimism fades quickly, however, when inserting the Switch into the grip. Four hard plastic hooks secure the console in place, but sliding the Switch in is a stressful experience as it feels like the hooks will break right off.
Thankfully this didn’t happen and the installation was successful, taking less than a minute before you’re ready to play.
Then the bombshell: large bulges which sit on either side of the grip which provide most of the grip do not extend past the bottom of the Joy-Cons. This means that a section of the controllers will, at all times, be poking into your palm.
Does the Grip provide extra leverage and make the Switch more comfortable to use in handheld mode? Yes, but not nearly as much as we had hoped.
After putting many hours into using this product this rings true with the only other observation being that the textured sections still feel good and don’t add any problems to the experience.
The grip is also on the light side and we didn’t notice its weight adding any discomfort to the experience.
If you’re someone who finds the Joy-Cons only mildly uncomfortable and are looking for a smaller change to increase ergonomics, then the Comfort Grip is highly recommended.
If, however, you’re in the camp with us where you find the Joy-Cons physically painful to use after a short stint of play, then the Comfort Grip will not do enough for you. For this group our recommendation stays the same: get access to a 3D printer and make some of these. The extra time and effort for these is your best bet to get the most comfortable handheld experience.
We’re not done however, as the Comfort Grip has other purposes as mentioned when we conveyed the full name earlier. Around the back of the grip there are five slots which each hold a Switch game cart. This systems works well enough, holding the cards securely without threatening to break them.
Our only reservation here is that they are placed right about the heat vent. We really don’t believe that this will lead to your carts being damaged, but personally we wouldn’t take the risk.
Finally there are two other features here: the kickstand can still be accessed, and the grip can replace the kickstand.
This may sound counterintuitive, but the stand access here is purely to get to the SD card. The grip can stand on its own and, in a clever bit of engineering, the Joy-Cons can be removed so you can still play in tabletop mode.
If these extra features sound appealing, they may add value for you, but they are far behind the ergonomic reasons for buying this product.