Isn’t the Switch lovely? It certainly is, the kind of thing you want to take everywhere and show to everyone who doesn’t look like a mugger. The only worry is what to do about transport. The Switch is relatively light and not too bulky, but there’s no way you want to be putting this thing in a bag without some extra layer of protection – though, unlike American Pie, there are few things safer than a tube sock.
Kotaku UK has done the toting so you don’t have to. There are already dozens available so we went for a handful representing a decent range of styles and price - even then we found two of the cases incredibly similar. So this isn’t comprehensive but, outside of the exceptionally rich, probably covers most of us.
Nintendo Switch Accessory Set - Carry Case + Screen Protector
Rich: Everyone knows what official means when it comes to Nintendo: you get a high-quality product but (usually) pay through the nose for the privilege. The price is alright here, andthe case is a beauty – neither soft nor hard, it’s somewhere in the middle, with a lovely finish to the exterior and a well thought-out interior.
Inside this case is a foldable piece of fabric that can form a raised base, against which you can lay your Switch for playing on the go. There’s also a mesh pocket for bits and bobs (Nintendo say it’s for the Joy-con straps, lol) and five tiddly compartments to squeeze Switch carts into.
Jules: It is the nicest case I’ve seen.
Rich: Judge Jules by his actions. At the end of the test, he sashayed off with this one.
Venom Tempered Glass Screen Protector plus Carry Case
Rich: This is a hard case with an inner mesh, and comes with the aforementioned screen protector – which frankly I didn’t like the look of, and decided to leave well alone. The case itself is fairly decent as a protective measure but my big concern is that, after several weeks of use, it’s becoming a tiny bit misshapen – the zip fabric is kind of folding over the case’s exterior – and the mesh turns out to be fairly useless.
Problem is that what I want in a carry case is not just protection, but the ability to carry a few games along as well. Obviously with both this and the next case, you end up putting the carts in the mesh. But the Switch carts are just too small, and it means nearly every time you open the case, you risk losing Breath of the Wild forever. Just Dance 2017 nearly went that way:
Many thanks to the kind woman on the London-Bristol train who noticed I dropped my copy of Just Dance on Switch. What would I do without it.
— Richard Stanton (@RichStanton) April 7, 2017
Finally I find the inner straps that hold the Switch in place to be unnecessary. When it’s in there and zipped up, it should be safe. To put it in or take it out requires strap-fiddling, and it’s not like you can even play the Switch when it’s strapped in – the shoulder buttons are blocked this way.
Jules: This is what I can confidently call a case.
Snakebyte soft Carry Case
Rich: Now we’re talking. I’ve always tended to go for soft cases with my various handhelds in the past, simply because the build quality of Nintendo portables is so high it makes little difference. With Switch I find this to hold true. Where both the unofficial hard cases we tested felt like giant lumps in my bag, and I wasn’t so keen on the straps and inner mesh design either, this carry case does exactly what I want: a nice well-fitting pocket for the console body, and an exterior zip pouch to stick a few carts in.
Jules: Soft to the touch.
Snakebyte Starter Kit for Switch
Rich: Probably something of an unfair comparison, because this starter kit comes with various things that up the price (including a nice miniature case for four Switch carts) but also includes a hard case I wanted to compare to the Venom example. Incredibly, it turns out not just to be almost exactly the same but to have exactly the same problems: the inner straps to hold the console in place are unnecessary, and the loose-fitting mesh is useless for carts (and what else would you put in there?)
One thing I will say is that, for £18, you get a lot for the money. The case is decent despite the issues, and on top of that you get headphones, screen wipers, a cart case and screen protector. It may be that none of it’s of especially high quality but, depending on who you’re buying it for, that may not be the priority.
Jules: £18 is a little steep.
Rich: That's because you and I have headphones and screen wipes coming out of our behinds. For a case it's expensive. As an all-in-one pack I don't think £18 is too bad.
If you’re buying this for yourself, I’d go with the the Snakebyte soft carry case – it’s a great combination of price and functionality, and my main concern anyway with a case is protecting the screen. Some of you may prefer the extra security of a hard case, for which either the Snakebyte starter pack case or the official Nintendo case (which is neither hard nor soft, really) will be your best bet.
The official case is also lovely. In terms of everything else it scores highly: the outer case is textured for a nice handfeel, while the inner design takes account of the fact you might want to stand up your Switch on the move (which you will), and has tight receptacles for up to five carts. If they're ever back in stock, it's a great choice.
Personally I find the £11 soft case does the job just as well as the official case and, even if I had neither, I still wouldn’t be so fussed because
A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES
For the first two weeks of having a Switch I carried it about in an old football sock. You know what I mean, one of those huge garishly-coloured things that goes up to your knee. I had no problems with this at all and, had we not thought of putting this article together, I’d probably still be carrying it around like that.
Now, I happen to be the kind of guy that has like 20 pairs of old football socks and was delighted to find a use for them. The practical part of me, as well as my inner Scotsman, felt good about that. But fundamentally I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it kept the Switch reasonably safe. Caveats are that I was carrying it around in a satchel with maybe the odd book, rather than travelling with it in a suitcase full of stuff, so obviously this is a matter of common sense. But what I’m saying is: don’t feel like you need a carry case, and maybe check out some of your old sportswear.
Update: The original version of this article erroneously listed the price of the official carry case as £34.99. The error happened because the official case was out of stock, highly unusual for a Nintendo product, and has been corrected.