Don't be fooled: Nintendo Switch doesn't come with the Joy-Con Charging Grip
Prepare to pay more.
Sean HollisterSenior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
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.