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Review: Joy-Con (L)/(R) AA Battery Pack

The device we’re reviewing today definitely resolves the issue that nobody had; Joy-Con battery life. If your Joy-Cons die while on the go, most likely you need to charge your Switch too. The two seem to have about equal battery life. However, if you’re not on the go and you’re at home and you don’t like to use Joy-Con grips or don’t like being tethered to the wall, this $35 battery pack might be the solution for you.

I have a the best description of the device that I could find, for those of you who like to know specifications:

‘Using AA batteries, the Joy-Con™ (L)/(R) AA Battery Pack accessory extends the battery life of Joy-Con controllers. Great to have when you want to play for a longer time without charging.

Includes a Left and Right Joy-Con AA Battery Pack and 4 AA batteries. 

Controllers sold separately.

  • Model Compatibility: Nintendo Switch
  • Includes: Wrist Strap
  • Wired Connectivity: no wired connection ports
  • System Requirements: Nintendo Switch
  • Power Source: Battery-powered
  • Protective Qualities: Dust Resistant
  • Weight: 0.53 pounds
  • Warranty Description: 90 Day Limited Manufacturer Warranty
  • Color: Black
  • Battery required, included’

 

Appearance:

I mean, this barely needs to be discussed, the answer is staring at you in the pictures. The appearance of these battery packs are bulky. But, how else could you even squeeze a Joy-Con, the Left and Right buttons, and two AA batteries without the bulk? The rest of the appearance is all your standard Nintendo stuff, a matte finish black plastic, a nice wrist strap that comes out of the bottom, and a nice place on the back, to rest your middle finger. All in all, it fits the aesthetic of the console and the Joy-Cons themselves. Now, there are no special versions or colors of these battery packs. They only come in black with the Switch logo engraved on the battery door. Again, they only come in this one color so don’t expect to walk into a store or browse online and come across Neon Red and Neon Blue, Neon Pink and Neon Green, or the new Mario Red color. This is exclusively a black battery pack set. Additionally, they have the standard LED slots for the light of the Joy-Cons to pass through to show that you’re connected properly as well as a small new red-orange LED light at the very bottom that shows that the Joy-Cons are charging. Last of all, they have the white tab at the top which lets you lock and unlock the Joy-Con into position so that it does not come out on its own.

Functionality:

The functionality of these Joy-Con battery packs work as you would expect them to. They can be used one in each hand if you’d like, or if it’s a game that is two player, they can be rotated sideways and they contain the L and R bumper buttons. All of these functions work just as well as using the naked Joy-Cons or the Joy-Cons with the original bumper attachments that came with your Switch. The wristband on the bottom has a slider on it for you to sinch it onto your wrist as tight as you can comfortably make it. It too is the same as the one from the original bumper, so we know that that also works well. The red-orange LED indicator on the bottom informs you of the fact that the Joy-Con battery is supplying power. It is hard to discern if the battery pack charges the Joy-Cons or if it just supplies them power. I can conclude after some minor testing that it does charge the Joy-Cons. I would also say that even if you don’t use the battery packs during play, they are a logical way to charge your Joy-Cons so that they do not drain your Switch on the go. You can do this while you’re not using the Switch, like standing in line, at a con panel, walking a trail. Whatever you do while out in the world besides playing the Switch is a good time to charge your Joy-Cons with the battery pack. Nextly, it’s worth mentioning on these battery packs is the white tab that locks and unlocks the Joy-Con. This time around, Nintendo got it right. The small white tab on the original bumpers is nothing less than a joke. This time they have a large white sliding tab, almost something akin to the way you light a lighter. It does half of the work for you by returning to its original position as it’s spring loaded. They also have a stop at the bottom so that you can’t go past the bottom with your Joy-Con when you slide it in, which is a nice touch. The battery life seems to be doubled from the Joy-Con’s original battery life. It’s definitely a hard thing to judge, but if you use rechargeable batteries with more oomph, you’re going to get even more life out of it than the default batteries that came with the set. It does definitely suck that you have to have four AA batteries, but again, you can usually buy a set of rechargeable ones in a set of 4 in not worry again.

Durability:

The build quality here comes straight from the Nintendo super-duper awesome factories that churn out plastic magic, so this build quality is obviously just fantastic. I was also in fear that the battery door would come off easily and potentially break. The last time that Nintendo made anything with AA batteries that had a battery door on it was the GameBoy Advance and back then their battery doors could definitely break. These battery packs do not seem to suffer from the same issues that the GameBoy Advance and earlier handhelds suffered. These not only snap on and stay really well, they also kind of have a hard time coming off in the first place. After you initially crack one open though, it seems to only get easier. I doubt that it will decrease over time either, but since we now have rechargeable batteries at our disposal, we’re very unlikely to remove and replace the back daily or even weekly. Otherwise, the buttons are solid and have a nice hard plastic feel to them. Since I’m not a fan of wrist straps, I’ve definitely dropped these on the table or ground a couple of times. Since you’re usually sitting about 3 feet or less from the ground, the fall from this short distance never seems to negatively impact the battery packs. I’ve even stood up and dropped them, but since most households are carpeted it seems like also a moot point as they just make a small thud. You would think that they would be loud due to the weight from the batteries, but since they’re so small and dense, they’re also resilient. Good job Nintendo!

Comfort:

Surprisingly, despite the chunk of the battery packs, there is very little discomfort overall. The triggers at the top of the controllers when using one in each hand are not impeded by the thickness of the battery pack and I would even say are more comfortably easier to reach. The fact that they have a spot for your middle finger to rest puts to bed the strange uncomfortable and awkward feeling you get when using the Joy-Cons sans a battery pack. But how good are they to use during single hand gameplay? Well, it is obviously heavier than just holding the Joy-Cons without the pack, however, it’s probably only as heavy as the Switch Pro Controller in total. Your hands may get tired holding it up during gameplay if you like to hold them at chest level, especially if you play for hours on end. I found total comfort by either limiting my gameplay to one hour at a time with a small break in between or simply resting them on my thighs as I played. Once I did that, I barely ever noticed the bulk of them and that was definitely a relief to me as I was initially scared that I was going to want to throw them in the trash. Obviously, you really don’t notice the weight or bulk when you’re holding only one of them sideways as the weight gets split between your two hands while playing.

If you’re interested in the battery packs now that you’ve read my review, you can find the product by clicking here.

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