The Bundled Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Grip Doesn't Charge Controllers

The Joy-Con grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch will just let you grip, not charge, your Joy-Con controllers.

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Nintendo didn't explicitly state that the Joy-Con Grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch charges your controllers, it was easy for us to infer that it did. However, after some research, it seems that the grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch may just be a plastic shell with a player indicator light.

After seeing Eurogamer first report on the existence of two separate Joy-Con models, we investigated the claims that the Joy-Con Grip bundled with the Nintendo Switch doesn't charge the Joy-Con controllers. On the Japanese Nintendo Switch website, there exists a diagram of the Joy-Con Grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch, and a diagram for a Joy-Con Grip available for purchase separately.

Nintendo Switch Bundled Joy-Con Grip

As you can see, the Joy-Con Grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch is black and has only two features labeled:

  • Joy-Con controller number assignment display.
  • Grooves for attaching Joy-Con controllers.

Joy-Con Charging Grip Sold Separately

This Joy-Con Grip is made of smoky translucent plastic, similar to that seen on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, and has a USB-C port clearly labeled. Additionally, the top right Japanese phrase translates to "charging light," giving more confirmation that this Joy-Con Grip is meant to charge the Joy-Con controllers as you play.


Nintendo didn't explicitly state that the Joy-Con Grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch charges your controllers, but it was easy for us to infer that it did. We've reached out to Nintendo for a statement concerning the difference in models of Joy-Con Grips. The Joy-Con controllers can be charged by attaching them to the Nintendo Switch while it's docked, and with a battery life of 20 hours, it's not a huge loss to get a Joy-Con grip with the Switch that doesn't have charging capabilities.

However, highlighting that the charging Joy-Con Grip would be an optional accessory would have been appreciated. I know that many who watched the Nintendo Switch Reveal Event will be confused by this, as it seemed as though the Joy-Con Grip included with the system would be able to charge the controllers.

The Nintendo Joy-Con Charging Grip will retail for $29.99 and launch with the system on March 3.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 16, 2017 7:22 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, The Bundled Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Grip Doesn't Charge Controllers

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 7:38 AM

      I know people are sick of me poo-poo'ing on the switch, and so I'm trying to temper my comments. But I think a new problem for this system might be... Isn't this all just so confusing? How many different controllers are there, all doing different things? How many play configurations? Versatility can be a good thing, but like with the Wii u, I think consumers will be asking in the back of their minds, "how does one actually play this thing?

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        January 16, 2017 7:46 AM

        I personally think they should have included 2 AC adapters for this system. One for the dock and another for the dog controller to charge the joycons.

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          January 16, 2017 7:57 AM

          Just a USB-C port for charging on the grip thing would have been handy. Even micro USB would have been cheap and simple, you'd think.

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            January 16, 2017 8:09 AM

            Isn't the main problem that there's no battery in the grip itself? It's just a plastic mold.

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              January 16, 2017 8:13 AM

              It wouldn't need a battery, just a u-USB port and a couple of wires to route power to the controllers.

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            January 16, 2017 8:09 AM

            Yea, I do find that disappointing, but not really a deal breaker.

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          January 16, 2017 8:00 AM

          the joycons have a 20 hour battery life, i think it's fine. attach them to the screen when you are not playing and put it in the dock to charge

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            January 16, 2017 8:28 AM

            Which is great, except that means you're walking up to the dock every time you want to play. My Wii U gamepad is sitting next to my chair which is where it should be.

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              January 16, 2017 9:29 AM

              So every 20 hours or so of play time you have to take, less than 20 steps to your Switch dock (assuming you have some giant tv and sit pretty far back) to charge the joycons?

              And this is a thing seriously worth complaining about?

              I mean, I don't know. That's really amazing to me.

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                January 16, 2017 9:34 AM

                Either it's going to die and I'm going to have to play off the TV or I'm going to be pulling the controllers up off the Switch every time in order to make sure that doesn't happen. It's an annoyance, not a major issue. Still preordered and everything, just wish they'd included the charger in the box.

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            January 16, 2017 10:52 AM

            You know, when you put it that way, that really puts things in perspective. Not a big deal, after all.

            Your Switch will run out of battery life LONG before your joycons do. I imagine everything recharges when docked.

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              January 16, 2017 12:59 PM

              i think the issue is its a bit of hassle to dock the controllers every time instead of putting in a micro usb cable.

              • reply
                January 16, 2017 1:02 PM

                Which only effects Jeff Gerstmann.

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                January 16, 2017 1:19 PM

                I'd say it looks much easier than fidding with a micro USB cable.

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                January 16, 2017 2:10 PM

                Eh, once I can get a Pro controller, I'll likely never touch the Joycons anyway.

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            January 16, 2017 2:05 PM

            So I have to take my controller apart every time I'm done playing, and put it together every time I want to start playing? Or maybe every 3 times I play? As somebody who will be mainly a home/TV user, that doesn't sound great. It will work fine, but definitely not ideal and not a complete non-issue.

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        January 16, 2017 8:06 AM

        Yeah i think it's way too confusing personally, it does so many things, but none of them great..

        In my mind they should have made it a mobile device first, that can optionally stream to your tv. Just sell the tablet with the joy cons (not removeable, actually attached, with none of the motion and hi-tech rumble crap) stand alone, which would be considerably cheaper, maybe around $225, then an optional dock + pro controller, or streaming solution to get it on your tv.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 8:40 AM

        yah I've also seen quite a few comments from friends on Facebook about how small these controllers are.. and likely how their kids will lose them and the cost of the accessories is rather high.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 9:27 AM

        It's not that confusing. Everything that's included in the box assumes that you dock your controllers every time you finish playing.

        If you want the ability to charge the controllers separately, you need to buy USB port covers or the grip with a USB port in it.

        The problem with the Charge Grip is that it doesn't look like it even has a battery, it literally just provides a way to plug a cable in? Now that is dumb.

        Problem is that the cocktail of first party accessories do nothing to address the #1 problem: battery life of the system. Out of the gate they are saying 3 - 6 hours. We all know this is not good. The shape and size of the thing makes it look like battery add-ons will rely on velcro pads and external USB battery packs, or extremely cumbersome rubber covers. Blech.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 1:53 PM

        Everything to play it is bundled in the box. Whats the issue?

        If you want to accessories it, you can. Otherwise you can totally ignore the accessories and still play games like a normal person

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 2:43 PM

        Yeah not sure what's what

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 2:55 PM

        Do you just come here to threadshit?

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 7:59 AM

      Nintendo you...you...why do you make it so hard for me to love you?

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 8:08 AM

      I honestly don't understand how that comes about. The problem with this switch coverage is the hype was all over the palace, and a certain level of A + B /= C going on. So the Grip doesn't charge controllers? The life on those things is like 20 hours. I'm trying to figure out a hypothetical scenario in switch use where this is a major inconvenience to average users.

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        January 16, 2017 8:29 AM

        The grip included with the console doesn't, but they sell a separate grip that has it's own battery on top of being able to charge the controllers. I still don't know which grip the joy-con double pack comes with :/

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          January 16, 2017 9:00 AM

          Neither. Joy-Con two pack is just joy-cons I'm 99% sure. They expect you to buy charge grip I'm sure.

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 2:01 PM

          The separate grip doesn't have a battery, its just USB passthrough for power

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 8:09 AM

      It seems like they packed in as much as they could afford with the $299 price tag from what I've been reading. If they were to have stripped back some other features they may have been able to hit a lower price point and include something like this. But this is pretty inoffensive, the joycon controllers themselves have a relatively high battery life of 20 hours, and they charge when attached to the console. Far less worrying than the lower battery life of the main unit, combined with the lack of quick charging. With the variety of configurations and functionality they're offering, it's really a blessing that there aren't more gotchas.

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      January 16, 2017 8:17 AM

      What the fuck

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 8:26 AM

      *sigh*, it would be nice if they didn't fuck up the bundle, at least you have a charger in this one...

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 8:39 AM

        The system itself will charge the joycons, so it's not a huge issue. Sometimes inconvenient, sure, but if you remember to put them on the system a couple times a week it'll be alright.

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            January 16, 2017 9:18 AM

            You mean once or twice a week, maybe. I dunno, this just isn't an issue for me. I'm not going to buy the charging one.

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              January 16, 2017 9:28 AM

              Except I'll want to be playing it now when I turn it on, and oh shit it's not charged, so either I plug them in and pull it out of the doc or I find another charging solution.

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                January 16, 2017 9:33 AM

                Damn man. You're right. That's a lot of getting up and down to charge the joycons.

                You might wanna consider carb loading to help fuel the 10 extra steps per day you're gonna rack up on the ol Fitbit.

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                  January 16, 2017 9:35 AM

                  Damn bouxdag, you sure got my lazy ass in the fire.

                  Seriously it's just an annoyance and they should've included it in the box.

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 3:14 PM

            How is this much more inconvenient than plugging in any other controller to charge? And as a bonus, there are no cables.

            • reply
              January 16, 2017 4:55 PM

              I keep a bunch of charging stuff within arm's reach. I know, first world problems.

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 9:14 AM

      so instead of putting a USB charging port onto the bundled one for like pennies probably, they charge you 30 (or 40 canadian) for it.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 3:17 PM

        well you can undock it and plug the ac cord directly into it and play while it charges

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 9:27 AM

      This is fucking dumb. This presents a scenario where you sit down to play the switch on the couch and your joy cons are dead so you have to go hook them up to the docked switch to charge. And since they are then on the dock you can't play on tv so your options are fuck off and play something else or plug power dire try I to switch and play it handheld while the joy cons charge off it I guess? This is too fucking confusing for the average consumer. This is bad design.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 2:59 PM

        Well seeing as I charge my wii u pad, vive wands, ps4 controller, and xbone controller you name it in between play sessions to me it seems like a non issue that people are blowing out of proportion

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 3:39 PM

          All the devices you listed can be charged while doing their main function. The joy cons can't (play on tv while charging)

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 9:31 AM

      Thanks Nintender

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 9:34 AM

      I don't get it? You have to charge the Joy-Cons anyway, so you have to connect them to something to charge.

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 11:09 AM

      Requiring the grip to need charging or batteries would be annoying. Why is this a problem? The system charges the joycons.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 1:15 PM

        imagine you havent played your switch in a week and it's completely dead along with the controllers. if you wanted to go play zelda on your couch right now you'd need to spend 30 bucks to get the charging grip or just play off the tablet because there is no way to charge your controllers while you use them on the couch and have your switch connected to the dock.

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 1:18 PM

          If it's been a week why hasn't the unit been docked? At some point it's up to the owner to ensure devices are charged.

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 1:19 PM

            You forgot about it in your bag and it's been a busy week

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              January 16, 2017 1:20 PM

              I dunno, shit happens? I mean at some point these issues go from deal-breakers to "things we can live with". I would be surprised if this charging process prevents a single sale and I'm sure Nintendo has considered the impact as well.

              • reply
                January 16, 2017 1:22 PM

                with the PS4 when shit happens, i have extra controllers i'd use. for $99 canadian, i'm in no rush to buy an extra set. i can also sit on my couch and hook up a micro USB to AC adapter at a plug next to my couch and keep playing.

                it'd just be nice to have an option without spending extra for another piece of plastic that has a USB port on it when they could have easily just put a USB port on the one in the box.

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 1:21 PM

          to be fair isnt this the case with PS4? I had to buy a dock to make sure they were charged all the time

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 1:23 PM

            PS4 comes with a short microUSB cable at no extra charge so you could sit in front of your TV at least and play and charge if you wanted to. or hook it up to an existing USB to AC charger in your house. you need the cable to sync a controller for the first time though...

            • reply
              January 16, 2017 2:28 PM

              That would be super enjoyable with a 65 inch tv 2-3 feet from my face.

              Really, I have a dock for my PS4 controllers and charging them is never a problem.

              • reply
                January 16, 2017 2:50 PM

                you could also plug it into anything with USB, so e.g., a laptop sitting on your coffee table by your couch where your sitting with your DS4

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 2:19 PM

            No. If your PS4 controller is dead and you want to play on your TV, all you have to do is plug in your controller. It sounds like with the switch you can't do that, you have to choose between waiting, playing in portable mode, and buying a different controller base thing.

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 2:26 PM

            You have to sit 3ft from your giant tv to play it. Hahaha.

            Someone will likely create a dock for less than 20 bucks so this won't be an issue for lazy switch players.

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 3:48 PM

            No? Doesn't everyone have at least one A/C adapter from charging their cell phones these days? Charge the controller with that when the phone's not in it.

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 1:01 PM

      hoping for best case scenario it charges really fast, so like the apple pencil you only need like a few mins of charging to play for an hour.

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 1:37 PM

        It's been pretty much confirmed that it doesn't support fast charging, because that would be too convenient or something.

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 1:40 PM

          $300 for all the tech in the switch, you're going to have to make tradeoffs

          that USB port that would be "so simple" to add to the controllers. what are you willing to give up for that? because it's likely the tech is crammed in those things and every millimeter matters.

          • reply
            January 16, 2017 1:46 PM

            It should have been a priority from inception since it's being marketed as a quasi-portable device. 3 hours for a full charge fucking sucks. :/

            I try not to play armchair engineer whenever possible, but surely they could have made this happen somehow without making large sacrifices to the kit. Without knowing more I just feel like it's overly Nintendo for them to leave this out in 2017.

            • reply
              January 16, 2017 1:53 PM

              honestly I think the message is if you want it as a home console, its a $370 device, because you'll want the pro controller :/

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 1:49 PM

      I really don't see this as a big deal. The joy-cons are supposed to last for 20 hours of playtime. There's going to be at least a moment in that 20 hours where you have the opportunity to take a break and plug them back into the docked console.

      If it means the price of the entire package has been reduced to how it currently stands, it was worth it.

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        January 16, 2017 1:51 PM

        And I'm not saying the Switch is cheap, because it isn't. But it would be more expensive with all of the additional non-critical stuff people are requesting.

        Nintendo went the correct route by accessorising that shit for the people that want it

      • reply
        January 16, 2017 1:59 PM

        The charge grip doesn't even have a battery, it needs to be plugged in to charge.

        I don't see the big deal unless you plan on gaming for 20 hours straight.

        • reply
          January 16, 2017 3:03 PM

          I don't understand why you would need to charge them that way anyway. Why not just stick them back on the docked system? Why is that a big deal. Hell, you can play 20 hours straight then plug the joycons in and play for another potential 4 hours undocked without ever charging the Joycons. They'll probably recharge that way too which means you can dock it back and go use the grip again and just keep going.... :P

          This is is so dumb to get upset about.

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            January 16, 2017 3:08 PM

            People got upset over headphone jacks and USB C ports. They'll get mad over this.

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              January 16, 2017 3:16 PM

              Wait till they find out it doesn't come with a USB-C cable for on the going charging. The one that comes with it is for the dock (AC to USB-C), not really great for traveling. Probably gonna need a USB-A to USB-C to work with everyone's already existing phone charging stuff.

              I'm surprised people haven't complained about that.

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 3:00 PM

      The Joycon battery life is 20 hours. This is ridiculously moot guys.

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      January 16, 2017 3:04 PM

      I would vastly prefer they use AA batteries or something. It's just so much easier

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        January 16, 2017 3:39 PM

        I don't think you could ever fit a pair of AA batteries in there.

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          January 16, 2017 3:40 PM

          AAA, chu know whatever works

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            January 16, 2017 3:50 PM

            Any conventional battery really. I don't get why this a deal. Are you not going to just drop the thing in the dock whenever you are not using it? When your on the road the tablet and controllers will charge at the same time if they are connected.

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              January 16, 2017 4:05 PM

              I use AAAs in my iPhone, no reason why I can't have that option with my game controllers too

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              January 16, 2017 4:30 PM

              Because rechargeable batteries degrade over time, and aren't nearly as convenient as normal batteries when it comes to controllers

    • reply
      January 16, 2017 3:18 PM

      Another cheap piece of crap that I'll play 3 games on.

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      January 16, 2017 3:20 PM

      While this sucks it probably will not be a huge inconvenience for me anyway. My major portable use of this system will be on planes where I will just play in table mode with a pro controller.

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      January 16, 2017 5:01 PM

      I am bewildered by the hype for this device and the games.

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      January 16, 2017 5:05 PM

      Non issue to keep costs down. The charging grip is only a thing if you have more than one set of joycons and need to charge both simultaneously. When I eventually buy a second set I'll get a charging grip. Otherwise unless you are playing 24 hours straight all you need to do is plug the joycons into the switch when it is docked when not using them to keep em charged.