Battery power. It is both the benevolent force that makes portable gaming possible, and the cumbersome reason some gamers choose to keep their games at home.
Throughout gaming history, handheld consoles have been subjected to a slew of power-boosting peripherals promising more game time at the cost of extra bulk. The Nintendo Game Boy had the aptly-named Rechargeable Battery Pack; Game Gear had the Power Back. Even the Atari Lynx, which was big enough to be a console in and of itself, had the unimaginatively named Battery Pack.
Enter the Nyko Power Grip for Nintendo 3DS. Much like its predecessor, the Nyko Power Pak+, this handy little peripheral pops on to the back of your 3DS and promises to net you three times the battery life. Unlike the Power Pak however, which only doubled the power, you don't need to mess around with your system's battery and run the risk of voiding your 3DS warranty to get it to work. Just snap it on and get gaming.
Now, everyone likely welcomes more battery power. Who hasn't grabbed their handheld for a quick burst of gaming only to find that blinking red light barring you from a jolt of handheld happiness? But what makes or breaks a battery booster is the bulk. If a peripheral turns your portable system into an ugly, over-sized plastic Frankenstein, the added boost of power might not be worth it – especially if the thing won't fit in your pocket. Secondly, there's the comfort level. If the add-on makes the console a pain to hold and operate, the cut in portable play time might be more welcomed than strained fingers and an early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Thankfully, Nyko's Power Grip puts both form and function at the forefront, creating an ergonomical add-on that both makes the 3DS easier to hold and triples its battery power. The rear of the console is transformed into a form-fitting grip with two indents for your forefingers: the plastic isn't slick so your fingers stay gripped pretty well. This semi-soft plastic design also makes the add-on super easy to take on and off, and the malleable design makes it easy for the Power Grip to snap right onto the back of your console. Once attached, you simply charge the 3DS via a normal power adapter.
Sadly, the rear attachment bars use of the 3DS docking station. If you really are set on using the dock however you could always snap off the Power Grip once it's charged. It will keep its power stowed away until you pop it back on, and it even has its own LED light indicating the charge level.
If you are one of the many 3DS owners that would like to add some more battery power to your system, Nyko's Power Grip definitely gives you a nice bit of kit to do so. It isn't overly bulky, fits nicely in the hands and is easy to use. If you only have room in your heart for one handheld 3DS peripheral, and are reserving said room for the upcoming Circle Pad Pro, you may want to pass. Otherwise, the minimal bulk, added LED and extra grip make this battery booster easy to recommend.
Nyko provided a Power Grip for review purposes.