The past few days have seen not one but two virtually identical-looking third-party Nintendo Switch docks hit crowdfunding sites. Over on Indiegogo, you’ll find the $59 SFANS, while Kickstarter has the slightly more expensive $69 Switch-Con to offer. Both docks try to take the features of Nintendo’s own bundled dock (which completely covers the entire console) and cut it down to a more manageable and portable size.
On paper, it’s a great goal. People have been complaining about the Switch dock since the console came out, with issues about overheating, scratching the screen, and the inconvenient size for traveling cropping up. But the two portable docks here, while certainly smaller than Nintendo’s dock, don’t feel like the way to go about this.
The biggest hurdle, of course, is price. The SFANS sells for $59, almost as much as Nintendo’s already overpriced official dock, which, unlike the SFANS, also includes a spare charger. And that’s just the early-bird pledge; it plans to sell the dock for a whopping $110 at retail after the campaign. Similarly, the Switch-Con costs almost as much as Nintendo’s own $89 offering. (Neither crowdfunded dock includes a charger.)
And if Nintendo’s dock was all that there was, these crowdfunded campaigns would be fine. Unfortunately, Nyko announced its $49 Portable Docking Kit at E3 earlier this year, which costs dramatically less than either the SFANS or the Switch-Con. It also includes a charger that can actually power the Switch, and serves as a stand for when you’re using the console away from a TV. Plus, Nyko is an actual established company which is far more likely to make its shipping deadline than either of the two crowdfunded options.
I will note that the crowdfunded docks do offer regular USB ports, unlike Nyko’s offering, which does remain the only way to connect things like an Ethernet adapter to a Switch. Both crowdfunded docks can also serve as USB-C to HDMI dongle for other devices, like a computer or tablet. Whether or not that’s worth the extra money, however, is your decision. And yes, Nyko — with an established supply chain — likely can afford to make a cheaper product than the crowdfunded startups. But that doesn’t make selling a $70 dongle the right solution to the Switch’s dock issues.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, given that both the Switch-Con and SFANS have already blown past their crowdfunding goals. But if you’re looking for a spare dock for your Switch, maybe keep looking elsewhere.