We were already very fond of the Genki: Covert Dock when it was released back in 2020. This portable Switch dock made gaming on the go that bit easier, and was later compacted into an even tinier model in 2021. Now, developer Human Things is back with a new Kickstarter campaign, introducing an improved portable dock, a new way to play Switch games on your iPad or laptop, and a handy device for streaming and content creation.
Dubbed The Alpine Collection, this latest Kickstarter introduces upgraded models to some of Human Things' most popular creations: the Covert Dock 2, ShadowCast 2 and ShadowCast 2 Pro. Beginning with the most Switch-y of the newly-announced products, the Covert Dock 2 is a two-in-one charger and dock much like the Genki portable predecessors, though this one packs in 50% more power than the original model while still being 10x smaller than the standard Switch dock and charger. It also comes with 4K support, which is a nice touch for boosting that resolution.
If you were hoping to get these Switch games running on a screen other than your TV (say, an iPad or laptop), then the ShadowCast 2 could be the bit of kit you are after. Compatible with both the standard Switch dock and the Covert Dock 2, this tiny capture card (the world's smallest, in fact) lets you play and capture games on your laptop or iPad. Here's some of the technical specs of how the device runs from the Kickstarter:
While the ShadowCast 2 also can input 4K60 video to support all the latest consoles, the capture quality gets a significant boost with 1080p60 - giving a clearer and smoother video feed than the previous iteration and even less latency. This means you’ll get an overall better gaming experience with less compression artifacts- and there’s a noticeable difference in performance even in games like Zelda Tears of the Kingdom.
Even with the increased power, ShadowCast 2 shares the title of the world's smallest capture card with the original. What’s the secret to keeping it so light and so small? It’s about the quality/efficiency of components and a custom-designed PCB layout that allows ShadowCast to run much cooler without bulky heatsinks like others.
The final piece of kit in the Alpine Collection is the ShadowCast 2 Pro, which boasts the most powerful USB video capture out there. This one will let you play, record and stream in 4K60, 1440p120 or 1080p240 (input and output) with zero-latency HDMI passthrough.
Overall, the collection is looking to contain some pretty neat pieces of kit. The latest Genki Kickstarter begins today (26th September) and is setting out to raise at least $50,000 by 19th October 2023 (bear in mind that the last one raised almost $2 million) before the products are expected to ship in November. You can make a pledge for the items individually — $39 for the ShadowCast 2, $49 for the Covert Dock 2 and $129 for the ShadowCast 2 Pro — or there are various bundles if you want to grab the products together all of which can be found on the Kickstarter page.
We have been particularly keen on Genki products in the past (just check out our review of the original Covert Dock below), so we are excited to see just how far Human Things can take us this time.