As much as it pains us to say it, the Nintendo Switch is not a perfect product. Due to various factors that make the Switch what it is, certain sacrifices have had to be made in certain areas to make sure its versatility is properly realised, and for some of us at Nintendo Life Towers, one of the biggest problem areas comes down to our own massive meat-based grippers - or 'hands' as you may choose to call them.
Of course, from a sensible perspective it's much safer for a controller to be slightly too small for larger-handed people than slightly too large for small-handed people - especially when children are such an important chunk of the market - but suffice to say for big ham-slab bearers playing the Switch in handheld mode can be troublesome and uncomfortable, especially for long periods of time. So a sort-of grip that the console can be slid into should be the order of the day, shouldn't it? Yes.
Satisfye's Pro Gaming Grip started off as a Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign that was ludicrously successful, and we've been taking a look at it and giving it a right ruddy good test so as to bring you this review. The idea is as basic as it gets - it's a large plastic and rubber bracket designed to hug the unit, support it, and give your grabbers something a bit more ergonomic to latch onto. It's not a revolutionary idea, but where things get funky is when you see just how seemingly lopsided the whole thing is.
It seems like a mistake, and it does look a little odd, but there's some supposedly sound thinking behind it. Because of the way controllers have been manufactured for goodness knows how long now, our muscles and tendons are expecting controls to be in certain places, and the design of the Joy-Con means that having the right side offset and more heavily angled allows the controls to fall more naturally under your thumb. That's all well and good in theory, but how does it stand up in practice?
In short, it's strange at first, but after about two minutes it just feels like you're using a Pro Controller. It was a surprising and blessed relief when we snapped out of our game and realised we'd just been able to play a session of Paladins without having to adjust our grip or anything like that. It just works. The long back strut also gives your Switch an incredibly sturdy feel, and any stress you would've been placing on your Joy-Con rails is completely negated as the grip does all the supporting for you.
There are a few tradeoffs however; the portability of the Switch is significantly reduced as this really is one chunky monkey, you won't be able to fit it in most standard Switch cases for the same reason - and for a similar but not quite the same reason, your console can't be docked when it's attached. If you're constantly bringing your Switch about town you are going to have to invest in one of Satisfye's cases as well, which admittedly are nicely made, but also quite colossal.
The docking issue is understandable, but it's still a bit of a shame, and a problem that doesn't seem to have a simple solution without sacrificing what makes the grip as comfortable and sturdy as it is. It is at least very easy to put on and take off though, as the Switch just slides in and out with relative ease. It doesn't scratch or cause any damage during application and removal, which is a big relief.
The issues present shouldn't detract from the main purpose of the unit, however, as it really can't be overstated just what an improvement it can provide if you're blessed with big hands. However, if you're not blessed with massive end-of-arm attachments, you may find that this provides a slightly less comfortable experience, as various buttons proved to be harder to reach with any kind of comfort in our tests involving smaller-handed folk (no smaller-handed folk were harmed during the creation of this review).
In short, if you have larger hands and find the Switch to be too fiddly in handheld mode, this could easily save you a lot of frustrated cramping. It's comfortable, ergonomic, feels natural, and provides additional structure making the Switch feel sturdier than ever. It comes with some sacrifices, mainly in the form of portability, but if you're a big person with big mitts, the extra bulge in your backpack is more than worth the consistent comfort you'll feel when playing - especially in games that require constant twin-stick controls.