Genki Switch Dock Review: Everything to All Users
I really feel for the Human Things team. When they planned the Genki Covert Switch Dock’s release, there was absolutely no way to know 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic would make testing the Covert Dock in its ideal habitat basically impossible.
Fortunately, the Genki Covert Dock has a lot more to offer than just hooking your Switch up at a big party. It's an excellent choice if you're away from home a lot, though it's slightly less excellent for everyone else.
Genki Switch Dock Review: Everything to All Users
The Genki Covert Switch Dock is exactly what you’d expect from the name. It’s a portable Nintendo Switch dock, designed for use in areas where having the bulky brick of an original dock just isn’t feasible. Third-party Switch docks have left a rather bad impression on many with their unpleasant habit of bricking — read shorting out and frying — the Switch console.
So Human Things carried out extensive research into the Switch’s architecture to ensure the Covert Dock wouldn’t do the same, and they tried to mirror Nintendo’s dock as much as possible. That’s one big feature setting the Genki Switch Dock apart from other charging or streaming hubs that try and do the same thing.
After some trepidation on my part, despite knowing what went into making the Covert Dock work, I plugged everything in and was pleased (and relieved) to see the Switch home screen pop up on my TV like normal. There’s no lag, no extra delay in the visuals switching over. It’s practically identical to Nintendo’s own dock.
Except for the size, of course. The Covert Dock is about the size of an AC adapter, hence being portable and “covert.” You could easily chuck it in a bag and take it with you anywhere. It’s technically small enough to fit easily in a pocket, but you’ll still need something to carry all the accouterments required to hook it up.
The Covert Dock comes with a cord to hook the Switch up to the dock plug, but you’ll need your own HDMI cable. You probably have one of those already if you bought a new Switch. The standard Switch HDMI cable is pretty short, though, so if you want to get the most out of the Covert Dock’s portability, a longer HDMI is definitely recommended.
That’s where the Covert Dock stumbles a bit. Yes, it’s definitely far more portable than the first-party Switch dock, and you can plug it in nearly anywhere so long as the HDMI cable reaches. But the Switch console has no protection this way, and an exposed console plus two long trip-up-able cords seems like it could easily turn into a problem.
I reached out to Human Things to see if they had any recommendations for safer use, but haven't heard back at the time of writing.
The closer your Switch is to an outlet and that outlet to the screen you’re using, the less chance there is some kind of accident will happen. But then… why not just use a regular dock in that case? Thanks to the awkward setup required for hooking your Switch to a screen, I’m not sure there’ll ever be an answer to the cord issue for any dock, portable or first-party.
Still, it’s hard to fault the Genki Switch Dock for Nintendo’s design choices. There’s no denying it takes up less space toting around the Covert Dock and a couple of cables than trying to carry the regular dock, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Plus, unlike with the official Switch charger, the Genki Dock comes with several different outlet adapters, making it a better charging choice if you’ll be away from home for a while.
Both the Switch outlet and the HDMI outlet feel sturdier than the slightly flimsy piece in the first-party Switch dock too, and it makes alternative setups like hooking your Switch to a PC monitor much easier — even if the idea is to make the Switch more portable.
One point Human Things promised that the Genki Switch Dock doesn’t quite live up to is the heat. The Covert Dock is supposed to generate less heat than Nintendo’s dock, which is especially good if, like me, you’re using a launch-year Switch.
Those units tend to heat up way too much when charging and when docked. So it was surprising to find the heat situation seemed identical with the Genki Switch Dock as it is with the Nintendo one. In fact, the Switch unit got a bit hotter during some tests because I put the console in its case to keep it free from scuffs and bumps.
It’s somewhat disappointing, but the main point is there’s no danger of overheating.
There’s a lot more to the Genki Switch Dock than just an easy-to-carry dock, though. The second port on the dock/plug is a USB port you can use to plug in any device using a USB cord — tablet, DualShock (or any USB) controller, smartphone, or whatever. It’s incredibly versatile, though how many times you’ll need to charge a device while playing your Switch on a screen is perhaps a bit less clear.
Using it to cast a PowerPoint presentation or charge your gadgets is totally fine, but I don’t necessarily see the need to have all these in one item. It’s maybe better to think of the Genki Switch Dock as a Genki Portable Entertainment Device (or something like that). It’s great for a number of different uses that often have very little to do with each other.
Again, this is all what Human Things had planned from the very beginning. It’s flexible and works for anyone who needs to plug in on the go. But an alternative, Switch-only version for a less expensive price would be nice to see at some point.
Genki Switch Dock Review — The Bottom Line
- It's a portable Switch dock that won't kill your system!
- 1:1 quality with Nintendo's own dock
- Compact and easy to use
- Handy charging station for multiple devices
- Doesn't actually reduce heat as promised
- Pricey if you just need it for the Switch
It's tough giving a proper Genki Switch Dock review. On the one hand, it does mostly everything it's supposed to. On the other, if you only need a portable or extra Switch dock without the extra features, you're paying for extra features you won't use just because it's the only third-party item that won't kill your system.
If you're on the go a lot, the Genki Switch Dock's excellent utility means that probably won't be an issue though.
[Note: A Genki Covert Switch Dock was provided by Human Things for the purpose of this review.]