Review: SwitchPack (Hardware)
Too snob, or not too snob...?
Based in San Francisco, WaterField Designs is a designer and manufacturer of bags, cases and accessories for tech products. Their inventory comprises of accessories for laptops, tablets, smartphones and handheld consoles like the 3DS, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch. Going back to the first sentence, I can guess what many of you might have thought: “Designer bag?! Who else other than rich snobs would be interested in some fancy looking bag that will last three months and costs an arm and a leg after I’ve traded in one kidney?!” Well, to be honest, I generally have a similar opinion when it comes to designer products, and that’s why I was positively surprised with the SwitchPack.
Wanna see more of the product before diving in this review? Take a look at the official product page!
What the SwitchPack Packs
Released in time for the first anniversary of Nintendo’s latest sensational console, the SwitchPack was designed to be a compact, handheld carry case that carries more than just the console.
Aesthetically, it has a rather sleek and discreet look with its full-grain leather flap and black ballistic nylon body. The one sampled for this review is the Black Ballistic Nylon with Chocolate Leather but there are two other color options available: Black Ballistic Nylon with Black Leather and Wax Canvas with Chocolate Leather.
Lifting the front flap will give you access to a softly-lined pocket for a Switch stand. WaterField Designs notes that it is appropriate for a Hori stand but I can store a PowerA Compact Metal Stand just fine. Letting go of the flap will allow it to securely close thanks to the strong, hidden magnet.
The back of the SwitchPack features a zippered pocket that is quite slim as it is intended for extra cords, earphones or game carts. The slider is actually self-locking if you point it towards the zipper end once closed and will securely stay shut.
The real deal comes when opening up the top waterproof (!) zippers to gain access to the main compartment. The rear side of the interior section packs two soft and flexible pockets that can each hold a rolled-up charger or a controller/Joy-Con grip. The front side of the interior has another pocket for storing the Switch with Joy-Cons attached and for a pocket-ception feeling, there’s a smaller pocket for extra Joy-Cons or a game card holder. The side of the pocket facing the Switch is lined with a scratch-free Ultrasuede material and Waterfield Designs mentions that it actually help to clean the screen.
After filling up the rear and front internal pockets, there is still a considerable amount of space left in the middle section. Here you can store a pro controller, a power bank or even more Joy-Cons. You can easily mix and match what you want to carry by adjusting the flexible rear pockets.
Waterfield Designs also included an optional shoulder strap if you want another option than the already comfortable handgrip.
One Case To Fit Them All
Now it’s okay if you haven’t been keeping tabs on what the SwitchPack can accommodate because frankly, it’s a lot! Here’s what I can fit in if I use all of the space:
Pictured above are what I just removed from the SwitchPack case and they are:
- 1x Nintendo Switch console with Joy-Cons attached
- 1x Joy-Con grip
- 1x USB Type-C charger
- 2x Joy-Con straps
- 1x PowerA Compact Metal Stand
- 1x PowerA wired controller + wire
- 1x Waterfield Designs Card Holder
However, I don’t always use a Pro Controller, so I tend to keep it out, leaving some additional space inside the case. That's one of the highlights of the SwitchPack, you can easily mix and match what you want to carry by adjusting the flexible rear pockets to put in what you’d prefer.
Here's what the official page suggests that you carry in it:
- Nintendo Switch console with attached Joy-Cons
- Hori Compact PlayStand
- USB-c cable for charging
- Joy-Con Grip
- Pro Controller
- Up to 4 Joy-Cons
- Pro Controller
- European-sized power adapter
- thin battery pack
- Ear buds and a USBC Cord
- Optional: 10-Game Leather Card Holder
- AC adapter
Of note is the lack of padding on the sides and top; so it’s better not to swing this accessory around like a yo-yo in a crowded area. Should you want extra protection though, you can always compromise on some space and put the Switch in a hard case and then inside the SwitchPack. I’ve tried putting my Switch in the hard case that comes with the PowerA Everywhere Messenger Bag and the whole thing still fits just fine inside of the SwitchPack.
So yes, all of the above combinations of accessories fit snugly and safely in this 27cm x 9.5cm x 11.5cm (10.5" x 3.75" x 4.5") case!
After using the SwitchPack for over a week, it has easily become my go-to carry on and storage case for my Switch. Since I almost always play on the Switch in handheld mode, there is no need for me to fiddle around every time trying to attach/detach the Joy-Cons while taking the console in/out of the case. The SwitchPack fits everything that I need and I know that everything is in one place wherever I go with it. I am always amazed to see what this compact accessory can hold despite its minimal footprint. To me, the SwitchPack is a design marvel which I applaud for its ingenuity!
And now comes the burning question on everyone’s lips: how much does this cost? So here you go: Waterfield Designs markets the SwitchPack at $129.
Look, I know it’s not as cheap as the PowerA Everywhere Messenger Bag nor is it even officially licensed; the latter fact doesn’t bother me the slightest anyway, but if you can save up a little at a time until you can afford a SwitchPack, you’ll get the best bang for your buck. It is a stylish, handy and quality product that carries a lot of peripherals that other bags twice the size can't carry (I'm looking at you PowerA Everywhere Messenger Bag).
Should you want some classy way to hold your physical game library (and have some extra cash left), the company also offers an optional slim card holder lined with a similar feeling leather material. Costing an extra $19, this premium quality add-on holds up to 10 game cartridges and fits nicely in the SwitchPack. The color options include Black, Blue, Crimson and Grizzly to match with the SwitchPack or just to show off your favorite color.
+ Stores A LOT of accessories
+ Waterproof zippers
+ Stylish, minimal design
+ Fits in one hand
+ Stores the Nintendo Switch with joy-cons attached
out of 10
The Nintendo Switch has (hopefully) a long lifetime ahead but with WaterField Designs’ SwitchPack, I might just have found the ultimate carry case for the console, especially for the on-the-go Switch gamer. It does not cut corners when it comes to being compact, stylish and useful. It will be hard to find a better case, or even for Waterfield Designs to make a better one.