Buying a new video game console is almost never an all-in-one proposition. There are always “optional” accessories that aren’t in any way optional, for one reason or another.
This is doubly true for Nintendo’s Switch, which is a living room console you can play on the go (or a portable console you can beam to your TV, if you prefer). That means you’re accessorizing for two kinds of hardware.
The question is: what should you buy? We’ve got you covered. If you’re thinking about picking up a Switch, or you’ve bought one already and aren’t sure what else you might need, here’s a rundown of recommended extras that any Switch owner should own.
1. The case
You’re definitely going to want some kind of carrying case for your Switch unless you plan to leave it docked in your living room at all times.
Nintendo has an official one that comes with a plastic screen protector. It’s a perfectly functional soft case with a slim design, making it easy to pack the Switch away in your briefcase or backpack. The screen protector isn’t recommended (more on that below), but the case is great.
If you’re looking for a little more protection than the Nintendo case can offer, check out the Hori Tough Pouch. It’s got a semi-hard shell and offers a snug fit for your Switch, provided you also pack in the Joy-Con straps and Joy-Con Grip.
Unfortunately, both of these items are difficult to find in the immediate aftermath of the Switch launch. If you’re looking for a more immediate solution, check out this hard shell case from Orzly. It’s a lower-priced alternative to the Hori and it seems to be more readily available.
2. The screen protector
The official Nintendo Switch case includes a plastic screen protector, but you’re much better off skipping that and going straight for a tempered glass cover.
The Switch screen itself is made of plastic, but you’ll get an easier to clean surface and a bit more protection with a glass cover. They’re also not very pricey compared to their plastic counterparts.
This two-pack from amFilm is a great, affordable option. There’s also a slightly cheaper option — still a two-pack — from iVapo. There isn’t really a “best” option for Switch screen protectors — just look for one with a good price and solid user reviews and you’ll be fine.
3. The memory card
Every Switch comes with 32GB of built-in storage. That’s preposterously tiny. There’s at least one launch window game that you won’t even be able to buy as an eShop download unless you expand your storage capacity.
This leaves every Switch owner with a choice to make. You can either buy all your games except smaller indies and Virtual Console releases on cartridges, or you can expand your Switch storage with a microSD card.
The latter is probably smarter. Nintendo doesn’t yet allow users to store Switch game saves anywhere other than internal memory, but once that changes — it should change eventually — you’ll want to keep your saves on the microSD to better protect your data in the case of a hardware failure.
Switch supports microSD cards with up to 2TB of storage, but that size doesn’t actually exist yet. If you’re looking at microSD options right now, your best option for keeping things affordable — from a size-to-price ratio — is a 128GB card.
I got this one. It’s great. SanDisk is an established brand and $40 — hopefully that’s the pricing you see — is a bargain for that amount of storage. There are higher capacity cards available, but expect to spend $100+ for any of those.
4. The backup battery
Nintendo smartly did away with proprietary charging ports on the Switch in favor of USB-C charging. That, in turn, means you can use an external battery pack to extend how long you can play on the go — with no external battery, you can get roughly two and a half hours of Zelda in before the Switch shuts down.
There’s a catch, though: while the Switch can accept charge from most external USB power sources, you’ll still drain the battery — albeit more slowly — if you just use standard phone and tablet battery packs. They don’t put out enough juice.
Just make sure you check the product specifications closely before you buy one of these. Anker, for example, also has a PowerCore 20000 that looks similar to the PowerCore+, but it won’t keep up with the battery drain on the Switch.