Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nintendo Switch. That said, as a portable gaming platform it leaves a few things to be desired. Frankly, it’s kind of big; it never reaches “Game Boy with Game Genie attached” levels of absurd, but compared to the slim form factor of the 3DS, Switch is more like a smallish tablet with controllers on either side. It’s also somewhat fragile relative to the rugged 3DS line, but this can be mitigated to a degree with a sturdy shell or carrying case. No, the most damning mark against the Switch’s portability is its battery life. To be blunt, at roughly 3-5 hours depending on the game you’re playing, the Switch’s longevity kind of sucks.
Nature abhors a vacuum, so inevitably there are a ton of battery packs and power banks on the market to prop up the Switch’s power shortcomings. These range from simple and robust to fiddly, overdesigned or just plain impractical. Some of these packs are built into bulky cases; others have slots for spare game card storage. The battery we are looking at today, however, dispenses with the pretense and aims to do exactly what it says on the box. MyCharge’s PowerGame promises to double the battery life on your Switch, or more, depending on the game you are playing. Nothing less, nothing more.
The PowerGame is a straightforward battery pack without the frills. It’s a fairly nondescript, curved brick that plugs into your Switch’s USB-C connector and snaps in place with a lockable clip. It has a single secondary USB-C connector on the right side to charge the battery pack itself, but this port provides 1.5A out so the PowerGame can be a charging solution for other devices such as a phone or tablet. Just below this USB-C port are 4 blue LEDs to indicate the charge level on the PowerGame. It’s a no-nonsense solution from a company that is already well known for its quality modular power banks.
The PowerGame boasts a 7000mAh battery, which complements the Switch’s already respectable 4310mAh internal battery quite nicely. MyCharge’s product literature promises the PowerGame will extend your Switch gaming up to 10 hours, a claim I was eager to test. I quickly set about using the PowerGame with the Switch’s most strenuous software. First up was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that barely gets 3 hours of playtime on the Switch’s base internal battery. I cranked my Switch’s brightness and volume to max and turned on the wifi to tax the Switch and PowerGame’s batteries to their full extent.
The results on Zelda were impressive. I got about 4 more hours of total playtime, for an average maximum of about 7 total hours. My wife had similar results in her Zelda sessions. With the PowerGame attached, the Switch exceeds the roughly 5 hours of playtime you can get out of a 3DS, which I consider the bare minimum battery life for a flexible portable game console. Not bad at all.
My second major test was on an even more demanding game: Doom. Panic Button’s port of the 2016 shooter reboot pushes Switch to its absolute hardware limits and I know from experience it’s a power-hungry game. For this test I used the PowerGame’s included kickstand and played in tabletop mode, which was a lot more stable than using the Switch’s flimsy stock kickstand. The results were similar to Zelda; about 4 additional hours of playtime, for an average maximum of around 7. If this battery can outlast Doom, I suspect I can get similar results with Skyrim or Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Switching gears away from high-intensity battery eating games, I tested the PowerGame on a number of less demanding indie titles, including Limbo, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and Inside. With these games I saw the PowerGame last around 5-7 hours, for a total of roughly 8-10 hours total. It seems that MyCharge wasn’t boasting—the PowerGame can extend your Switch’s overall battery life to up to 10 hours, provided you’re playing a less demanding game.
Naturally there are some variables to consider. I cranked all settings to their absolute, most obnoxious, battery-gobbling levels, so if you play with a more reasonable brightness setting and plug in some earbuds you could probably squeeze, on average, an extra hour of playtime out regardless of the power demands of the game you’re playing. An active wifi connection for online multiplayer will also tax the battery, but I don’t routinely play online with Switch so I didn’t test how much a strain it would be. In any case, the PowerGame more than doubles the normal battery life of the Nintendo Switch across a variety of different games, and ultimately that’s all I really want from a battery pack.
There are a couple more things to consider. In my testing the PowerGame itself took roughly 3-4 hours to charge from completely depleted up to full, which is about how long the stock Switch takes to charge as well. If you plug the PowerGame—with Switch attached—to the USB port on the Switch’s charging dock, it appears to act as a pass-through and will top up the Switch first before charging the PowerGame. If you drain both the Switch and the PowerGame completely—say, on a long flight with a connection or two—it will take a while to get both charged back up to full. But realistically, who is going to play their Switch for 8-10 hours straight in a given day?
Bottom line, the MyCharge PowerGame gives the Switch something it was sorely lacking: flexibility. Like a phone, tablet or 3DS, the Switch works best when you can pull it out multiple times over a single day and not have to worry about it dying or having to hunt for a place to plug it in. The PowerGame doesn’t have a lot of frills but I appreciated that; it is relatively small, nondescript and light at only 0.4 pounds, so it won’t cramp your wrists or add awkward bulk to what is already a mildly unwieldy portable gaming device. The PowerGame is compact, does its job and has a handy kickstand to boot; well worth the $50 asking price.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been gaming off and on since I was about three, starting with Star Raiders on the Atari 800 computer. As a kid I played mostly on PC--Doom, Duke Nukem, Dark Forces--but enjoyed the 16-bit console wars vicariously during sleepovers and hangouts with my school friends. In 1997 GoldenEye 007 and the N64 brought me back into the console scene and I've played and owned a wide variety of platforms since, although I still have an affection for Nintendo and Sega.
I started writing for Gaming Nexus back in mid-2005, right before the 7th console generation hit. Since then I've focused mostly on the PC and Nintendo scenes but I also play regularly on Sony and Microsoft consoles. My favorite series include Metroid, Deus Ex, Zelda, Metal Gear and Far Cry. I'm also something of an amateur retro collector. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my fiancee and our cat, who sits so close to the TV I'd swear she loves Zelda more than we do.View Profile