Nintendo Switch’s battery life was one of the key concerns when the portable home console was first announced well over two years ago. However, with so many power bank options now available on the market, there’s plenty of choice to keep the juice topped up if need be. Last year, the accessory whizzkids at Bionik released their own answer to stretching out those portable hours for those in the United States. The Power Plate is marketed as a charging option for both the Joy-Con and Switch, while also doubling up as an extra, albeit rather snazzy-looking Joy-Con Grip. Well, this convenient little coaster-sized contraption has now made its way across Europe and, for us, the United Kingdom. With the jolly summer holiday season now upon us, could this versatile little helping hand be the support that the system needs for those longer journeys?
Weighing in at 16 grams with size span of 112mm x 100mm x 15mm thick, the Bionik Power Plate happens to be sleek enough to just about fit inside my own Nintendo Switch case after packing in a foldable stand and a pair of earbuds. Besides the Power Plate itself, the box contains a carry pouch and probably the shortest USB-C to USB-C cable in existence at a shady 100mm in length from tip to toe. While Bionik has clearly thought about portability, the length of the USB-C connector doesn’t seem appropriate enough to keep the system charged when playing in handheld. In any case, depending on what type of support stand you may have (should you even own one) could also depend whether or not the Power Plate is even useful without having to shell out more rupees for a longer lead.
Yet, while the Power Plate’s 4500 mAh battery can fully charge a whole Nintendo Switch with a pair of Joy-Con attached once over, this particular product is more advertised as a charging unit for the Joy-Con first and foremost. What makes this particular product quite clever is that it has rails on each side of the device to slide the actual Joy-Con onto. Not only does it keep an extra set of controllers ready available at all times – with the handy ability to charge a pair of Joy-Con three times over – but it also works quite well as an extra, and rather comfortable, cradle grip to pass on to a friend.
The faux digital-style display will show how much battery each Joy-Con has when attached to the Power Plate. Pressing the small button at the bottom center of the display will give you an indication as to how much charge is left in the portable backup. Underneath the black display screen and across the back of the device is coated with a matte grey finish to match the grey Joy-Con controllers originally bundled in with the console. When fully assembled, this gives the controller a seamless, stylish look to it, while matching up rather nicely with the various other colors you may have lying around the house.
As far as charge time goes, in sleep mode you’re looking at 25 percent charge every half an hour. I found that when playing the Nintendo Switch for roughly 40 minutes with the Power Plate attached and the brightness on max, the percentage rose at around 6 percent. This means that you shouldn’t have a problem in consuming the charge at a negative rate during gameplay. Which in theory, should give you roughly six hours of continuous game time with something more power hungry like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
While there are options out there that will charge your console multiple times with one tank, the Bionik Power Plate should at least get you through most journeys fairly comfortably. However, if you’re planning on taking a long flight or camping trip, then it may be worth looking at other options available. For what it’s worth though, the shape, size, and design of this product fit rather conveniently for travel. On top of that, the £29.99 price tag at most retailers means that it’s far better value for money than the official Joy-Con Charge Grip sold at the same price – which does not contain a rechargeable battery.
The Bionik Power Plate adapter is a handy accessory to have around the house and on the go. The very short USB-C to USB-C cable simply isn’t quite as practical if you don’t have both a stand or anything for it to lean on. I also probably wouldn’t recommend it as an emergency charge option for a phone either, as it puts something like a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 on a painfully slow charge. I did try to hook it up to a Neo Geo Mini to where the twin USB-C cable included just wouldn’t draw out enough power to run it. On the other hand, this should be a fair indication that it shouldn’t overcharge, or damage, the Nintendo Switch in any way. Not unless you plan on letting it dangle mid-air when playing in handheld at least.
Review unit provided by Bionik