There has been some confusion over the Joy-Con Grip accessories for the Nintendo Switch. We thought it would be helpful to clarify the features and differences between them.
When you purchase a brand new Nintendo Switch, you get a Joy-Con Grip in the box. This piece of plastic allows you to attach a Joy-Con L and a Joy-Con R to each side of the Grip, forming a full dual analog controller setup. This will primarily be used when you have the Switch in the Dock and are playing the games on your TV. It does not, however, charge your Joy-Cons. It is simply a chassis to hold them in place, and nothing more.
Sold separately for $29.99 is the Joy-Con Charging Grip. This is identical to the Joy-Con Grip in form factor, but part of it is see-through instead of solid black. It also features a USB-C port on the top of the Grip so that you can plug it into a USB port and charge the Joy-Cons. One important detail to note is that the Joy-Con Charging Grip does not contain a battery of its own, so if you want to charge the Joy-Cons and play games at the same time, you will have a cord running from the Joy-Con Charging Grip to wherever you’re charging it at.
So, you may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, if this Joy-Con Charging Grip is sold separately, then how in the world do I charge my Joy-Cons?” Well, the answer is rather simple, you snap them onto the Nintendo Switch screen and it will recharge them that way. This is true whether the Switch is Docked or in Portable mode. Anytime the Joy-Cons are attached to the Switch they are charging. So, if you’re using your Switch primarily in TV mode, you’ll want to remember to put the Joy-Cons back on the sides of the Switch at the end of your play session so they recharge.
Of course the issue that could crop up is if you buy another set of Joy-Cons how do you charge them? If you don’t want to have to buy any extra accessories, and you’re playing at home on the TV, one option would be to leave one set of Joy-Cons attached to the Switch while in the Dock so they’re charging, and use the other set to play. Of course, you could buy the Joy-Con Charging Grip and always leave a set of Joy-Cons in that to keep charged as well. Or, alternatively you could buy a third party charge station, some of which charge four Joy-Cons simultaneously.
The nice thing is that each Joy-Con holds 20 hours of charge, so they’re most likely not going to need to be recharged during a single play session unless you’re doing some sort of marathon event. Why Nintendo chose to create a Joy-Con Grip instead of making all of them Joy-Con Charging Grips is a bit mysterious. I mean, the obvious answer is they wanted more money, but it does seem rather bizarre that they’d bother making two identical accessories with such small differences.
Hopefully that cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the Joy-Con Grips. If you have any more questions, be sure to ask in the comments below or via the Contact Page.