Review: Venom Power Pack & Stand for Nintendo Switch (Hardware)
Venom was kind enough to send over a new accessory for use with the Nintendo Switch. I've spent the last week putting the Venom Power Pack and Stand to good use to find out if it's worth your time and hard-earned cash.
Packaging & Content
The Venom Power Pack and Stand will retail at £29.99 when it releases on March 28th 2018. Included in the package is the following:
- Power Pack & Stand
- USB-C Cable (No AC adapter)
- User manual card
Spec & Features
From Venom's Site:
- High capacity 10,000 mAh rechargeable power pack
- Built-in kickstand
- Locks console securely into place
- Easy access to all console buttons
- LED power indicators
- Additional USB charging port
- Charging cable included
- Also charges via a Nintendo Switch AC adapter
- Approx weight - 305g
- Approx thickness - 3cm (1.2")
- Approx charge time for Power Pack - 4 hours
- Approx time to charge a 0% Switch to 100% - 3 - 3.5hrs (when not playing the device)
Upon opening the package, the first thing I noticed about the Venom Power Pack and Stand is the weight of the unit itself. At approximately 305g, it is only 93g lighter than a Switch unit with both joycons connected. Not very heavy in itself, but when in use, attached to a Switch, it nearly doubles the weight of the overall system. Your 398g Switch now weighs 703g when using the Power Pack.
To attach the Power Pack to the Switch, there are 2 slide lock buttons on the rear edges of the device, that when unlocked, allow the top lip of the Pack to extend. This makes it easy to slot the Switch unit into the stand, before closing the lip and locking the buttons. The Power Pack fits very snugly when locked into place, and the extra thickness it lends to the Switch is very welcome if you happen to have shovel hands like myself. At approximately 3cm (1.2") in thickness, the Power Pack also doubles the standard thickness of the Switch.
Powering the unit on is a simple button press, with 2 presses being required to turn it off. The power button is located on the left side of the unit and has a 4 bar LED light indicator to show how much charge is left in the battery. One thing I noticed right away, is that the battery power indicator doesn't work if you use an official Switch charger with it, meaning you have no idea if the device has finished charging, or how much it has filled up whilst on charge. To make use of the indicator when the Power Pack is on charge, I had to instead use the included USB-C cable with my phone charger, only then did the 4 bar LED power indicator lights work. The Power Pack WILL charge up with an official Switch charger, you just won't know when it's full and ready to use again.
I played my Switch until it auto turned itself off at 0%, then I inserted it into the Power Pack and Stand and turned on the battery. It took just over 3 hours to fully charge my Switch to 100%, at which point I decided to finally start the Breath of The WIld DLC I bought last year. I carried on playing for another 3.5 hours at full brightness and max volume until my Switch hit 0% again, then I turned on the battery pack again to see how much juice was left after the initial 100% charge. It made it to 60% before the Power Pack was completely dry. I tried this test twice more and got pretty much the exact same result. So a fully charged Venom Power Pack can add 160% charge to a power-dead Switch.
When using the Power Pack and actually playing the Switch at the same time as it's charging, the charge will keep increasing until it hits 100%, and then it will stay like that until the Power Pack's battery is fully drained. This means the standard 3.5-4 hour playtime of the Switch is now extended to 10+ hours, more than doubling the available power available to the user. Obviously, this time will vary depending on system settings and what games are being played, but it's a great extension to the Switch's default battery life. There is also a USB charge port, a great feature that allows you to charge your phone, or maybe a Pro Controller at the same time.
Last but not least, the Venom Power Pack and Stand has not 1, but 2 sturdy built-in kickstands - replacing the abysmal default kickstand that comes flimsily attached to every retail Switch.
Cheaper, more powerful USB-C power banks are of course already available to buy, but none of them are built specifically for the Switch in this way. The big attraction of Venom's Power Pack and Stand is the ergonomic design, how it locks onto the Switch unit, and how it replaces the terrible Switch kickstand with 2 more superior, sturdier stands. Using this battery you can expect to get at least another charge and a half out of your Switch, making it an essential purchase for the hardcore gamer.
+ Strong build quality
+ Extra USB port can be used to charge other devices
+ Dual kickstands
+ Adds extra grip if you have large hands
- Almost doubles the weight of the Switch
- LED charge indicator doesn't work when using an official Switch USB-C AC adapter
out of 10
Venom's Power Pack and Stand is an essential purchase if you do a lot of gaming on the go, or if you prefer to play in handheld mode over docked. It can add an additional 6-7 hours to a standard gaming session and can also be used to charge other devices. It's a fantastic piece of kit that I didn't know I needed until I tried it.