A lot of Nintendo Switch’s were placed under a festive spruce last month, and all of those new owners have likely been captivated by Mario, Zelda and their menagerie of friends. By now though, and for all that the Switch is an amazing piece of kit, a few of the system’s flaws might have become noticeable, and battery life is likely top of the list.
To be fair, the Switch’s regular battery life isn’t appalling, but the games are genuine, full-fat console games with full-fat running times, and it’s the low battery notification all too often starts flashing away in the corner of the screen to tell you that the fun is nearly over. The S-Charge is designed to keep you playing, and funnily enough, it does!
The S-Charge is basically a whacking great big 10,000mAh battery that clasps your Switch in its plastic jaws. You slide the console into the body of the unit, with the top catch folding down onto the top, while leaving spaces to reach almost all of the buttons and ports at the top. The one exception to that rule is that the game cartridge slot won’t open with the unit in place. My adult fingers were only just able to press the buttons, and my headphones only just fit into the slot, but smaller fingered and smaller headphone jack-owning humans will likely be fine, and it’s not much of a hassle to open the unit to swap out a game card.
You can well imagine that sticking a huge battery on the back of your Switch may do something to affect its weight, and you’d be absolutely right. It is possible to play with your Switch in your hands and the S-Charge attached, but you’ll soon realise that it’s now prohibitively heavy. The only comfortable option is to rest it in your lap but it’s clear that the S-Charge isn’t intended to be used in this way.
Besides battery life, the other key problem the Switch has is its fairly feeble kickstand, which will just about do the trick of holding the Switch’s body up at a single angle, so long as you’re only trying to stand it on a perfectly flat, perfectly even surface. The S-Charge meanwhile has a large foldable kickstand that is the full length of the Switch’s body, and you can adjust it through a full range of motion to any number of actually useful angles. It’ll stay up on sofa cushions or garden lawns just as well as on tables or desks, actually making a reality of Nintendo’s portable multiplayer vision.
So, as a portable charging stand the S-Charge does a great job. A single tap of the button on the S-Charge’s side shows how much juice is left in the battery, while a double tap engages the charging function. It’ll easily fully recharge your Switch a couple of times, and the power output is high enough to be able to do so while you’re playing as well. If you’re wanting to tuck it away while it’s doing its job you also get a large roomy case that’ll take the S-Charge and your Switch as well, making it a good option that does away with the trailing cables and unzipped cases that using a regular power bank brings with it.
The S-Charge has a couple of other handy features, and while two game card storage slots are handy, most people will be more interested in its ability to function as a charger for your phone as well as your Switch. There’s a regular USB socket nestled in the side of the unit that’ll charge whatever you want it to, meaning you can probably do away with any other power banks you might have been carrying around.
Functionally, there’s plenty to like about the S-Charge: It lets you carry on playing when you’re on the go, it’s sturdily built, and the kickstand is a huge improvement on the one built into the Switch. That said, it’s not the cheapest option out there with a RRP of £64.99, and it doesn’t offer the best access to some of the console’s controls and sockets. Still, the S-Charge will make a deeply helpful travel companion for plenty of Switch owners, especially if they’re playing with others.