Ever since the Nintendo Switch released, a lot of people have their praises and gripes about the various modes the system can go into. Some people claim the dock scratches up the screen of the unit, while others talk about the load times of handheld mode to not be consistent. And they have taken it upon themselves to try to fix the problems, themselves. Dock Socks is now a term for covering the front of the dock with a cloth “sock” as well as finding unique ways to play in handheld mode while charging with portable chargers.
One gripe that has been solved, however, is the ability to charge while in tabletop/tablet mode. Since the Switch’s USB-C charging port is on the bottom of the screen, using the kickstand to prop it up on a table means that you cannot charge the system while in this mode. This is a major problem for many people, especially if the TV is in another room or just not available.
One stand vowed to fix this. Hori, known for making accessories for a lot of game systems, released a display stand to allow you to have the unit out of the dock in tabletop mode, but also charge at the same time. This is the first accessory I’ve chosen to acquire to review. So, let’s get to it. Here is my review of the HORI Compact Playstand for the Nintendo Switch!
The design is pretty simple. The Stand is collapsible so it starts out just like a semi-flat rectangle. It opens up with a flat base extended about 6 inches behind it with 3 “stoppers” that a kickstand can rest in for different angles for displaying the unit. Once the system is pulled up, locked into one of the stopper positions, and the small resting tray is pulled down, you can slip your Nintendo Switch unit on the front and begin playing in tabletop mode without the use of the Switch’s built-in kickstand.
The one thing to note about how the system displays is that there is no “clamp” to hold both the top and bottom of the system at the same time. A small tray pulls down for the bottom to rest on and the rest of the system just sort of leans against the stand, itself. At first, I had serious doubts on how good it would actually be, but closer inspection showcases some rubber stoppers that the system sticks to when inserted correctly to keep movement to a minimum.
The last part of the design are holes meant for the power cord to feed through. The kickstand has small holes that you can feed the power cord from the back and up into the bottom of the unit. This allows you to have the unit on display for local multiplayer as well as being able to charge it at the same time. Outside of that, I love to use it like this when I am not near my TV. Use handheld mode until the battery gets low, and use the playstand to charge in tabletop mode.
So, how well does this actually work? I’ll divide that into sections. First, let’s talk about the base. The extending base with the stoppers for the different angles is pretty solid and stable. The Switch’s kickstand only allows the system to prop up for tabletop mode on hard, flat surfaces. If you wanted to display your switch, say, on your bed or even a couch, it would fall over and risk breaking the kickstand. The HORI stand, however, provides a lot of stability and can easily stay still and display on many soft surfaces from mattresses to couches to large pillows.
The way the system rests was my first worry. There are rubber stoppers to keep the system from moving, but I feared the unit would simply fall out and crack the moment someone accidentally bumped into the table your display is on, or sits down next to you on the couch your system is on. The rubber stoppers proved my worries wrong. I did a lot of tests with the stand on a bed and accounting for bumps and people falling down onto the bed and the same with a thick and semi-unstable couch arm, and the unit never fell out of the stand. In fact, the only time it ever did was when I pulled and leaned it forward (towards me) a significant amount that would never happen in accidental situations.
And the system doesn’t really move or even wiggle around once you have it in the right position. I’ve placed it there and carried it while in the stand, even so much as lightly shaking the stand. While doing this, the system never budged from its set position. The rubber stoppers prove to be much more efficient than I had imagined they would be.
How the cord feeds through does have a cause for longevity concerns. Basically, the cord feeds through in a straight line through the back of the stand and then directly up to go into the unit. But the cord must be tightly pulled backwards for the unit to fit into the stand correctly. This makes a lot of sense, but the way the cord has been bending for me has me concerned about the longevity of cords by doing this.
The way the angle works is that it goes straight up from being flat along the base, and if you have more angle for viewing, the cord is being curved and bent tighter and tighter. I feel like excessive use like this could significantly shorten the life of the power cord and require you to grab a spare or two within a few months of using it like this. I could be wrong, but with the way I look at the cords, it makes me worry as my power cord is slowly getting a bend in that section just from a few days of me using the stand.
In conclusion, the HORI Compact Playstand is an almost-perfect accessory due to its collapsible and portable nature, the ability to charge and display your unit for tabletop mode, and a surprisingly-stable display mode that is vastly superior to the Switch’s built-in kickstand. While I do believe that the angle the power cord must be used in will decrease the longevity of your power adapter, for only $12.00, it’s hard not to look past this and onto all the things this stand does right.