Review cover Skull & Co JoyGrip (Hardware)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

Today for review, we’ll be checking out the Skull & Co JoyGrip! A convenient and customizable third party joy-con grip, is this better than Nintendo’s official article?

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I feel like the joy-cons may be one of the most divisive topics when it comes to the Nintendo Switch. Some folks love them, others seem to refuse to play with anything except a pro controller. Personally, I’m pretty indifferent about them; I like the versatility for games like Mario Kart or Mario Party, but anything that requires using two joy-cons as a single controller gets a bit iffy. The weirdness of holding two controllers to use as one aside, I just don’t find the included joy-con grip comfortable. It gets the job done, sure, but it just begs for some redesign. This is where Skull & Co come in, offering a comfortable, customizable, and even rechargeable alternative to Nintendo’s offering.

Tech Specs

Includes

  • 1x JoyGrip Body
    • Input: 5V 2A
    • Dimensions:
      • 4.28:x4.25"x0.79" (108.6x108x20.1mm)
    • Weight:
      • 1.95 oz/55g
  • 1x. pair of Trigger Grips
    • Dimensions:
      • 5.33"x4.25"x1.62" (135.5x108x41.3mm)
    • Weight:
      • 3 oz/85g
  • 1x pair of Plus Grips
    • Dimensions:
      • 5.62"x4.25"x1.76" (142.7x108x44.8mm)
    • Weight:
      • 3.03 oz/86g

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So right out of the no frills box, and the first thing you may notice is that the grip comes disassembled. The center of the grip comes in a flat black color scheme, while the grips themselves come in a variety of colors; the JoyGrip can be ordered to the specifications of your joy-cons, offering from what I can tell, a color scheme for just about every official joy-con color combination. They even have color schemes for some of the special edition sets, such as the Animal Crossing and Pokémon joy-cons. The set comes with two pairs of the colored grips, a trigger shaped option and a simple, larger version of the same design that the standard grip comes in. The JoyGrip’s grips are attached by simply sliding them onto the middle piece, where they snap securely into place, and are detached by simply sliding them off in the same way. The interchangeable nature offers a level of customization as expansive as the joy-cons this grip houses. Skull & Co even sells just the grips on their website, so you can go as far as having a color scheme for every joy-con set you have if you’d like. Now, admittedly, the grips aren’t a perfect one-to-one match of the joy-con’s colors, but they’re close enough to only notice when I’m actively examining them, and they still offer a level of customizability and compatibility with the joy-cons that an imperfect color-match can’t overshadow.

Adding the joy-cons to the mix, and this is where the piece truly starts filling out. Sliding each controller in is, admittedly, a bit more snug than on the Nintendo branded offering, and it’s actually here that I run into my first problem with the JoyGrip; while the Nintendo grip has a metal guide rail for your joy-cons to connect into the center with, the JoyGrip doesn’t have such an option, instead opting for a plastic guide built directly into the housing. There isn’t an issue of security here, as the connection is still snug and secure enough, but it does still leave me a bit worried. By nature, the plastic guide is going to be more prone to cracking, chipping, or just full on breaking than a metal guide would be. Some may call this a nitpick, and admittedly the build quality of the plastic seems high enough to inspire confidence, but it did immediately stand out upon testing, and to this day I’m a bit overly cautious when connecting joy-cons to this grip as a result.

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That gripe aside, the big question in my mind was “are these comfortable?” Luckily, this is the spot in my mind that the JoyGrip truly shines. In my testing, I often found myself comparing it to the Nintendo model, and I was completely blown away by just how much more comfortable this ended up being than the “official” thing. Part of this is due to the added back covering that the JoyGrip includes, which fills out the back of the controller much better than the gaps the Nintendo option has, and stops my fingers from uncomfortably curling around the grips. Speaking of the grips, they’re the real stars of the show here; both sets are textured to allow for more secure handling, and sit flush with the back of the controller. The trigger grips are my favorite, offering a natural resting place for my index fingers while playing, or for my middle fingers when I actually need to use the triggers or bumpers in game. The plus grips, meanwhile, offer an experience almost identical to the Nintendo grip, with the added distinction of being much larger, which for someone with adult sized hands like me is definitely a welcome addition. This is all to say, the JoyGrip isn’t just “more comfortable” than the standard option; it’s a genuinely comfortable controller, and makes me actually enjoy using the joy-cons in this way.

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There’s one more feature of the JoyGrip that stands out to me, and this one truly sets it apart from the standard option; rechargeability. The JoyGrip has a 5V 2A USB Type-C input built in, and allows you to plug it into an outlet so your joy-cons can charge while being used. Plug and play is something I’ve been wanting out of the joy-cons since getting my Switch, so I’m thrilled that the JoyGrip offers this feature. I’m aware that a Nintendo charging grip does exist, but my research seems to indicate that it’s a bit on the difficult end to find. And even if you can find it, the retail price for it is just a bit more expensive than the Skull & Co alternative, and still victim to the issues that I have with the standard grip. Here, the rechargeability simply compounds with the benefits I’ve mentioned previously, and creates a sort of “nail in the coffin” for the Nintendo grip in my opinion.

As I put the finishing touches on this review, it really strikes me just how much I love the JoyGrip. It’s a prime example of how the little things can make all the difference; on paper, this would be easy to write off as just a third party joy-con grip. But for the same cost as an official Nintendo grip, Skull & Co offers an option that’s more comfortable, customizable, and includes options for recharging to boot. It may not be the most ground breaking or innovative product out there, but it stands high as a far superior joy-con grip than the “official” one.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Superior comfort when using joy-cons
  • Great customizability
  • Plug-and-play and rechargeable
What We Didn't Like ...
  • No metal guide rail for connecting joy-cons to the unit
  • Color match between joy-cons and grips aren't a perfect match
9.5
out of 10

Overall

Skull & Co continue to impress me with their innovative, customizable solutions for Nintendo Switch peripherals. Not only is the JoyGrip just a solid alternative to get more use out of your joy-cons, but it’s just outright a better option than the standard, Nintendo branded offering. I cannot recommend it enough.
I wish the grip was wider; one reason why I never used my official one was because of how cramped it felt, with only a narrow rectangle separating the "Joy"cons. Why not make it more square, put more room between them (and thus a larger battery too, maybe)?
 
I wish the grip was wider; one reason why I never used my official one was because of how cramped it felt, with only a narrow rectangle separating the "Joy"cons. Why not make it more square, put more room between them (and thus a larger battery too, maybe)?

Honestly, and perhaps this is just my take, but after comparing the two options here I genuinely forgot that the center of the grip isn’t any wider than the Nintendo grip. The larger grip handles and back plate really did wonders in the realm of comfort, and made it so much easier to use than the Nintendo model.

That said, if someone were to make a larger model that could also house a battery for true “charge while you play” instead of just plug and play, I would be all over it.
 
I thoroughly enjoy mine with the trgiger grips. I ordered the Zelda edition of this and the grips match almost perfect to the zelda joycons!
 
  • Like
Reactions: RyRyIV
I really am thinking of changing my old nintendo grip controllers to these...they look much better and durable then the official ones lol thanks for the review also how much do these cost?
 
  • Like
Reactions: RyRyIV
I really am thinking of changing my old nintendo grip controllers to these...they look much better and durable then the official ones lol thanks for the review also how much do these cost?
It costs $19.99 USD, which puts it squarely at the same price as the Nintendo branded option!
 
Looks neat but I'm really itching to see a joycon grip with four buttons on the back to press the ZL and ZR buttons.
They can be mapped in the switch settings and they just go under used other wise.
Just need a way to press them.

Good to hear this one has a battery for its price.
Does the hole at the bottom work fine for tying a wrist strap perhaps?
 
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