Powercast wants to solve one of Nintendo Switch's most frustrating problems
There's nothing worse than Joy-Cons running out of power when you want to play multiplayer. Powercast has a pioneering solution.
Mark SerrelsEditorial Director
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Powercast wants to solve one of the biggest problems with the Nintendo Switch, and that makes me very happy.
I consider the
one of the most convenient
I've ever owned. You can play games on the go, before falling asleep in bed, on public transport. It's a console designed to filter into the gaps of a busy life, with one exception: the damned Joy-Con controllers.
I have this issue weekly.
I want to play, say Mario Kart 8 or Smash Bros. Ultimate, with my family. I need three or four Joy-Cons (aka Nintendo Switch controllers). The ones already attached to the Nintendo Switch are good to go because, unless you own an accessory, that's the only way Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons charge.
My spare Joy-Cons, however, have no battery. That means you're pretty much screwed -- unless you have Powercast's Wireless Charging Grips.
These things are awesome. I tried them out at CES 2019, and I love them.
Watch this: Charge your Nintendo Switch over-the-air
They work using Powercast's over-the-air energy tech. A rectangular cube literally sends energy through the air using RF energy, which is converted to DC power using a receiver chip inside the Nintendo Switch grip. The energy stored is used to charge the controllers themselves.
What that means, essentially, is you can play Nintendo Switch while your controller charges, potentially until the heat death of the universe. It's a great solution.
There are a few issues here. The range is short-ish. In a press release, Powercast says it's two feet. In the video above, you can see I got a little bit farther, but it was hard to confirm whether the controller was actually still charging at that distance.
There are other charging grips on the market -- Nintendo has an official one but it requires cables. Powercast's solution seems better to me, particularly since I enjoy attaching the Joy-Cons to some sort of grip while playing the Nintendo Switch docked on TV. I'd rather do that without a cable.
Powercast is saying the Wireless Charging Grips will be available in the third quarter in the US and Canada, with other territories coming shortly after. No word on price yet.