See the picture above? If you drag the nifty little slider tool, you can see that there are actually two different versions of Nintendo's Joy-Con Grip controller for the Nintendo Switch. (It's a crazy new transforming game system coming March 3.)
But (as noted by Eurogamer) only one of them actually charges your Joy-Con controllers. The other is just a dumb piece of plastic. And guess which one comes in the box with your shiny new game system?
That's right: While both the Joy-Con Grip and Joy-Con Charging Grip allow you to slot in Nintendo's modular Joy-Con controllers for an Xbox-like gamepad feel, only the optional Charging Grip has the USB-C power connector to charge those controllers when they're away from the tablet base.
That's something Nintendo neglected to mention in the original announcement, and I was among the many who got fooled -- I thought the four LED dots on the regular grip were for power. (In reality, they're just tiny windows for the Joy-Con's LEDs to shine through -- the LEDs used to tell you which player number you are.)
Anyhow, Nintendo's decision leaves you with four options:
- Pay an extra $30, £28 or AU$40 for the Charging Grip, so you can plug in while you play
- Use the bundled grip for a (Nintendo-estimated) 20 hours at a time before the Joy-Cons need to connect to the tablet to recharge
- Never remove the Joy-Cons from the Switch tablet, defeating the purpose of a modular game system
- Wait for an accessory maker to come out with a better or cheaper charging solution, maybe one with a built-in battery to extend the Joy-Con's life
Honestly, I like door No. 4 the best. Even Nintendo's Charging Grip doesn't have a built-in battery, so you'll need to remember to plug it in from time to time. It could be more convenient than remembering to put the Joy-Cons back on the tablet every time you're done playing, but not by much.
Nintendo says the Joy-Cons will take about 3.5 hours to charge.