Do you need to buy Nintendo Switch accessories? Pro Controller and Joy-Con Charging Grip explained

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When the Nintendo Switch was unveiled at a special event in January, the major worry was its pricing. Not of the console itself, but all the extras you need to shell out around it.

The console is £280, which is par for the course for a new games machine these days, and games cost an extra £40 to £60 a pop – again, industry standard really. But the accessories seem very expensive for what they are, especially as some argue that one or two of them should have been included in the box.

Well, the good news is that, after using everything that does come with the Nintendo Switch initial purchase and a couple of the optional add-ons, those fears are allayed somewhat.

We detail the two most popular accessories below, both offering control options, alongside what you already get as part of the main package and reveal whether you really need them or not.


  • Comes in the box
  • You clip the Joy-Cons either side
  • Works like a full gamepad
  • Amiibo support (through right Joy-Con)

When the Nintendo Switch is docked, the most common way to play games will be through attaching the Joy-Con controllers to a plastic Grip device that comes in the box.

You slide them either side of a central unit and all of the controls you require to play non-motion games are within your grasp. It feels comfortable and, while not as ergonomic as other game controllers, is sturdy and more than capable to play with for long periods.


The Grip itself is fairly uncomplicated, with just a bank of LEDs either side to show you when the Joy-Cons are paired and what player you are.

We’ve happily played long sessions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the standard Joy-Cons and Grip without ever feeling strain. We’ve also not had to recharge the controllers during a session.


  • Costs £28 from, $30 from
  • You clip the Joy-Cons either side
  • Works like a full gamepad
  • Amiibo support (through right Joy-Con)
  • Has a USB Type-C connection for charging

In shape and form, the optional Joy-Con Charging Grip feels and does the same as the one included in the box. However, it is rendered in a smokey clear plastic rather than black. It also comes with a USB Type-C port at the top so you can charge your Joy-Cons while playing.

A USB Type-C to USB cable is supplied, which you connect to one of the USB ports on the Switch dock and, while playing with the wire attached, the Joy-Cons charge.


Contrary to previous reports, it doesn’t have a battery inside, so will not charge the Joy-Cons unless the cable is attached.

In our experience there is little need to replace the standard, included Grip with this as we clipped the Joy-Cons back onto the Switch unit each time we finished playing, which recharged them fully for the next time we wanted to play. And considering each Joy-Con officially lasts up to 20 hours between charges, there are few occasions we can see where you wouldn’t have that opportunity.


  • Costs £65 from, $70 from
  • Separate game controller
  • Has USB Type-C connection for charging
  • Amiibo support

The Pro Controller is a more tantalising accessory for gaming as it is undoubtedly more traditional in shape and size. It too has a smokey clear plastic build on the main body and grippier handles. But in terms of functionality, it does very little different to a Grip with Joy-Cons.

The rumble is better, if that’s important to you. Battery life is considerably better too, with a claimed 40 hours – double that of the Joy-Cons. Is that worth an extra £65 though?


The good news for parents and the budget conscious is that, while it does feel better playing with the Pro Controller on games such as Zelda, it isn’t a necessity. We’ve happily played many hours of the game with the Joy-Cons and the standard Grip, so you can save the money – maybe even invest in another game instead.

Hardcore gamers will probably opt for the Pro, but you can get on just fine without one.

The upshot of our tests with all three control methods is that you can largely ignore the doombringers who claim that you need to spend extra on top of the initial Switch purchase for this, that or the other. You don’t.

You will need a game, naturally, and that adds to the cost. And we do advise purchasing a decent microSD card as the built-in storage is measly, but everything else Nintendo has supplied in the box is more than capable for great gaming sessions. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise.




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