Hardware Review: Venom Power Pack & Stand for Switch
While it might be awesome to play everything on the road with the Switch we’re still let down by batteries. Imagine how much cooler everything would be if everything battery powered lasted three times as much. Long gone are the days of the GameBoy and DS lasting in double digits hours of battery life. Then again the Switch does more than a Game Boy could ever dream of.
There’s a huge international trip coming up for me soon, and I’ve been almost in a panic now about how I’m going to be able to play the Switch longer than 3 or so hours you usually get with it. Planes do have USB charging now (but how powerful are they?), some even have powerpoints (but what plug do they have?) – but am I going to wait until I sit in my seat to risk it – no way. It’s a long way to Europe.
I could buy another, or use one of my existing battery packs, but is that going to be enough to keep the Switch powered with its insane battery draw? And will I have to keep the battery hanging off the Switch? I’ve thought about this a lot – perhaps a bit too much.
I then got offered to review this Venom Power Pack and Stand and I think I’ve got a solution!
The Venom is another entry into the NintendoSwitch power pack + stand market. It’s also from what we can gather its one of the biggest capacity ones at a massive 10,000mAh. That’s pretty big, and a few times bigger than the internal Switch battery at 4,310 mAh. Doing some simple maths you the Venom Pack is going to get you pretty far – but how far? More on that soon!
Because it does have this massive 10,000mah battery the Venom stand isn’t the smallest stand out there, but you’ve gotta fit that massive battery somewhere. The pack slides into the USB-C port on the bottom the Switch and hugs it with a sliding grip at the top which is locked and unlocked with some slides on the back. There are holes cut out for the exhaust and the air intake so it won’t overheat your Switch and all the ports along the top are able to be used freely. On researching this pack I found that there was an earlier model of it which covered the headphone port, the one sold in Australia (or sold now at least) doesn’t have this flaw but just check before you buy one online.
The pack itself is about 3/4ths the weight of the Switch itself, so when it’s on there it almost doubled in weight – but this isn’t a simple case. You can still hold your Switch, it doesn’t get in the way, it’s just a lot heavier and thicker. Because it is a stand, you’d hope it would be good at that, and while it’s more stable than the Switch kickstand it’s still not perfect. The flick-out legs are really tough to get out, tough to the point of me thinking I’m going to break it. Once out they just flap about, there’s no click or articulation for different viewing angles either, and with the combined weight of the Switch and the battery they could be stronger – they’re not weak but a little more reassurance would have been nice. The legs themselves could also do with some padding the bottom, they sort of just make this plastic scratch noise that sounds cheap and doesn’t add any traction. Rub your finger alongside the bottom of the Switch’s inbuilt kickstand to see what I mean, so soft.
Putting in the Switch is easy and the battery pack turns on and starts charging automatically. You can turn this off by double pressing the button on the side of the device. When charging the there’s a four light array which shows how much it is charged or charging. It’s a bright blue LED, which while it won’t get in your eyes while playing on a plane might be annoying next to the person sitting next to you.
So what about the battery then?
I drained my Switch to the point where it turned off to save a game, and then plugged the Switch into the dock and left it off. It automatically started charging, and while it did take over 3 hours to charge to 100% on the Switch. I was then free to play again until the Switch drained again. And then there was a little more left over. Again depending on what you’re playing, you’re going to get at least two charges out of this bad boy. On a plane, with no internet, brightness down and airplane mode on – it could go even further.
It’s really hard to say this battery will give you ten plus hours of gameplay, it might for Breath fo the Wild but something like Fortnite which pulls way more of a drain on the Switch. You can continue to play the Switch and leave the battery enabled, that works too but I prefer to turn it off with a double press (or take it out) so that I knew what was left in the battery. While properly ventilated it does make the Switch run a little warmer, and the plastic its made out of – it sort has a bit of a plastic smell to it. Not the nice kind either, amiibo owners will know what I mean.
Once its completely empty you’re going to need to recharge the battery pack and that’s going to take around 4 hours, it comes with a USB-C cable which is nice, but doesn’t come with a charger so you’ll still need to bring one of those along. You can also charge something else off the battery pack, there’s a USB-A port on the side so you could plug in your phone or a Pro Controller – but that would rob you of sweet sweet Switch time – so the choice is yours.
There are a number of ways to charge your Switch on the go, but there’s not a lot of them that allow you to do it “in one” like this power pack and stand does. It’s not the most elegant battery pack out there, but it’s specifically designed for the Switch and its form factor. It’s also fairly cheap to top it all off.
I think I’ve found the battery pack I’m taking with me on my upcoming flights, crisis averted!