Switch OLED console and NeoGrip
Image: Nintendo Life

For gamers that tend to play their Switch more in handheld mode than docked, Switch OLED is an impressive upgrade that expands the size of the console's screen by reducing the size of the bezel. The console itself is almost the same size as the original — we say almost because the OLED unit is a teeny 0.1 of an inch longer than the regular Switch. It's a minor difference that is barely noticeable in the flesh or when you slide it into the dock, but one that you'll definitely notice if you try to put the newer console into a grip designed for the original.

It was with some disappointment that we found Switch OLED wouldn't fit in our existing grip accessory, but after casting aside fleeting notions of sanding down the sides of our Joy-Con controllers, we investigated alternative grips and found a couple of options, one of which is Skull & Co. Gaming's NeoGrip.

Why use a grip in the first place? you might ask. Well, the fact is that while the Joy-Con's form factor is convenient for brief portable play sessions, many players — this writer included — find them uncomfortable to use for an extended length of time, especially while supporting the weight of the console in handheld mode (and remember that the Switch OLED is 0.05lbs heavier than the standard model). Over the past few years we've noted more frequent aches and pains in our hands, and in the interests of taking care of ourselves to avoid long-term issues, an ergonomic grip is a simple and effective way to increase comfort while gaming on-the-go — or while enjoying the eye-searing OLED screen on the newest Switch.

So, what does the NeoGrip do that other grips don't? Well, for starters it comes with three pairs of interchangeable handles to suit various hand sizes. They slide on from the bottom and clip into place at the rear. There's the flatter 'Snap Grips' with an embossed pattern, the chunkiest 'Plus' pair for those with big hands/long fingers, and an in-between pair with a hard edge on the top that makes them easier to grip with your middle digits while your index fingers are free to hit the shoulder buttons.

We started with the latter 'Trigger Grip' variant, but ended up finding the largest ones most comfortable in our old-man mitts. The ability to slide on your preferred options — or mix and match at will — is definitely welcome.

Build quality is good, with the plastics used complimenting the materials of the console itself. A couple of our grips arrived in two halves but they snapped together perfectly. We were sent the white colour option to match the OLED's Joy-Con, but there's a red/black/blue version if you prefer the classic Switch scheme.

Installing it on your Switch is a simple matter of sliding the console in from the top with Joy-Con attached — secure it using the separate clip on the top and you're good to go. You can use the grip just fine without that little clicky tab, although the console will slowly slide out if it's turned upside down for any reason (inside a bag, for instance). The extra tab feels like a minor inconvenience with the potential to get lost fairly easily, but it holds everything appropriately secure. It's fine, we can just see it getting lost in the bottom of a bag or falling down the back of the sofa.

Comfort-wise, we played Metroid Dread for several hours using the NeoGrip and had absolutely no complaints whatsoever, even when we had to execute some of the more complicated control manoeuvres that game demands. You're never going to do better than a Pro Controller when it comes to extended gaming sessions, but this was a close second.

The design of this grip's body leaves the console's wide kickstand totally free and useable if you want to change to tabletop mode, although you'll have to lay the system pretty flat when using the larger 'Plus' or 'Trigger' grips. Other grips we've used stand up on their own, but the NeoGrip lays horizontal — better if you want to play some Clubhouse Games in two-player, perhaps.

One neat feature is NeoGrip's compatibility with your common or garden Switch. Yes, you can just slide the old console in and secure it with the tab (see Jon's video below), but the two-part body is held together with three screws and a small spacer which can be removed to make the grip fit perfectly with a regular Switch. It would be even better if you didn't have to crack out a tiny Phillips screwdriver to switch between Switches, but it's a secure design and another welcome feature.

Overall, if you find the Switch and Joy-Con controllers a tad uncomfortable to use in portable mode and need something more ergonomic, the NeoGrip is an easy recommendation, especially for longer play sessions or if you simply have to take better care of your hands. It makes handheld play infinitely more comfortable and its quality construction and materials are an admirable match for the console. Its flexibility in terms of interchangeable grips and interoperability with the regular and OLED models is a real boon, too. So as long as you keep track of that easy-to-lose top tab, you'll find portable play sessions using this more comfortable over the long haul while you're gently toasting your eyeballs with the OLED screen.

The NeoGrip is available now for $19.99 from Skull & Co.'s website. Thanks to them for providing a sample for this review.

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