Ah, yes, the Nintendo 3DS. As the 3D-capable successor to Nintendo’s popular DS portable, the expectations for the device were understandably high. But while the 3DS is certainly more powerful than its predecessor, there is still one metric where the shiny new device falls short of the good, old DS. That would be battery life. At just about 2.5 hours of gaming with 3D and wireless on, you are going to have frequent dates with your charger to power that little sucker up. Such is the price to pay for 3D functionality, I guess. Still, battery add-ons are helping gamers squeeze more gaming time from the 3DS. I’ve already reviewed Nyko’s Power Pak+ in these pages. Now I’m going to take a look at Nyko’s second crack at an extended battery for the 3DS, the Power Grip. Below are my thoughts on the device following some play testing.
Provides additional play time: Nyko advertises triple the battery life when you use the Power Grip with the 3DS. Depending on your settings, you’ll either fall short or go past that. With both 3D and wireless on, you should be able to get more than 6 hours of play time. Turn off 3D and wireless and lower the brightness and you’ll be able to go past 10 hours -- significantly even more so with the 3DS power-saving feature on. That’s actually good enough for a long road trip or even a plane ride across the Pacific.
Easy to use: Unlike the Power Pak+, the Power Grip does not require you to take out the back cover and battery of your 3DS. You just plop in your 3DS as if you’re docking it. Besides not having to worry about screws or what have you, you also don’t have to worry about misplacing your detached back cover and battery like some genius reviewer, who just spent almost $30 buying a replacement for those at Nintendo’s online store. What an idiot — correction, handsome idiot — that guy must be.
Secure grip: The Power Grip grips your 3DS like a passive-aggressive Vulcan. Yes, I know, fascinating. This makes it a bit tough to take it off but at least you don’t have to worry about your beloved portable suddenly slip-sliding away because of a loose connection with the Power Grip.
Nice finish: The surface of the Power Grip has a rubberlike feel to it which helps with, well, grip. It’s also not glossy, which means you won’t be dealing with a fingerprint magnet. Recesses at the back of the Power Grip help users with smaller hands hold on to their 3DS.
Can be charged separately: You can use the Power Grip until its juice runs out, undock your 3DS (which should still have a full charge) and continue to play it while charging the battery add-on separately.
Added bulk: Although its pretty light, the Power Grip will turn your 3DS from pre-lockout Boris Diaw to post-lockout Boris Diaw. This makes your device chunkier compared to using the Power Pak+ but still not as chunky as, say, a 3DS docked on a Circle Pad Pro. You also can’t dock your 3DS with the charging cradle when this thing is attached but at least it’s removable.
Back grip is constricted: As I mentioned earlier, people with small hands can comfortably fit their fingers within the recessed areas on the back of the Power Grip. If you have big hands, though, then it’s a bit cramped.
Wonky power bar: The remaining juice in the Power Grip is not displayed by the 3DS’ battery bar display so you can’t accurately gauge how much power you have left. All you’ve got is the LED indicator on the Power Grip itself, which turns red once it’s almost out of power.
Despite its flaws, the Power Grip is a good battery add-on for folks who want to get more playing time from their 3DS. Bigger capacity, combined with the fact that you can just dock your 3DS as is make this a better option than the Power Pak+. Plus at just $30, the price isn’t half bad either.
Final rating: 4.5 stars