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Monday December 12, 2011 6:22 pm

Nyko Power Grip for Nintendo 3DS review


Nyko Power Grip

A few months ago, we reviewed the Nyko Charge Base for Nintendo 3DS ($29.99, 4 stars). This clever, yet inexpensive, accessory boosts the battery life to the Nintendo 3DS, but requires you to remove the back panel of your 3DS to attach it. The Nyko Power Grip ($29.99 list) clips onto the 3DS and provides all of the battery-boosting of the Charge Base for the same price, without the need for a tiny screwdriver. Is it worth it? Read on for our full review!


Design
The Power Grip is a hard black plastic clip-on case that weighs 3.2 ounces and adds just 0.4 inches to the half-pound, 0.9-inch-thick (closed) 3DS. A plastic edge wraps around the left, right, and bottom edge of the 3DS' lower half, and two clips on the top side hold it in place. One clip is larger to keep the electrical connection aligned, with two wires that push out to contact the 3DS' charging points when it's placed on. A rubber door on the back side of the larger clip covers the charging port, which works with the same cable that comes with the 3DS cradle.

Cut-outs on the bottom and sides provide access to the headphone jack, the power lights, and the volume and 3D sliders, and the card slot on the top is unobstructed by the grip. A small light under the power light cut-outs show whether the grip is powered, and flashes red when it's running out of juice. Finally, two L-shaped notches, one on each side of the bottom of the grip, provide a comfortable place to rest your middle fingers while leaving your index fingers free to press the shoulder buttons. The notches make the 3DS much easier to grip then the handheld's own smooth, flat back.

Performance
When it's on, the grip charges the 3DS, keeping the battery full and making the device think it's plugged in. When the battery in the grip runs down, the 3DS stops charging and runs off of its own internal battery. This offers much more flexibility than the Nyko Charge Base, which requires you to unscrew and remove the 3DS' rear plate (which contains the device's serial number) and attach the battery pack permanently to the system. Unfortunately, it means you can't charge the 3DS with the grip on a cradle. You need to charge the Power Grip by directly plugging it into the 3DS power cable.

In my tests, the Power Grip lasted for four hours and twenty minutes with the 3DS' screen at full brightness, and with 3D and Wi-Fi on, before the power light on the battery started flashing. When I took the Power Grip off the 3DS, it left the handheld with a full charge.

The Nyko Power Grip for Nintendo 3DS is an even-better solution than the Nyko Charge Base. It's temporary, easy to use, long-lasting, and comfortable to hold. Its only drawback is that you can't use a charging cradle when you use it. If you want to add a few hours to your 3DS play time, this is a cheap and easy way to do it.

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