Nintendo Switch Venom and Snakebyte Accessories
The team here at The Digital Fix had some issues with the Nintendo Switch at launch but gradually fell in love with it, due in no small part to the astonishing accomplishment that is Zelda: BOTW on the go. However, the Switch itself is an expensive piece of hardware and the last thing you’d want to do is take it out for a jaunt wrapped in a towel or something equally as ludicrous. There is also the question of cartridge storage, keeping accessories safe, stopping the screen from getting damaged and also taking advantage of the neatly placed headphone jack for some much needed gaming privacy in public places.
There are of course official Nintendo accessories that can help with some of these requirements but for the sake of balance the team have been using a mixture of third party items from the good people at Snakebyte and Venom. Logically, as the name dictates, most users will jump straight in and look to buy a starter kit - these kits usually contain the core essentials you will need to keep your Switch safe and sound while you are on your travels. Luckily both Snakebyte and Venom offer starter kits, so here is a rundown of each along with our thoughts on quality and value for money.
Venom Switch Starter Pack
Contents: Bag, screen protector, screen wipe cloth and stereo earbuds.
Amazon price £14.99
A regular on the third-party peripherals scene, it is no surprise to see Venom getting some products ready for the Switch launch and the starter pack is a solid entry at an excellent price point. Clocking in as arguably the cheapest thing you will buy for the Switch when you first acquire the package, it contains some much needed essentials. The screen protector is your bog-standard plastic layer over the top of the already fantastic Switch touch screen, and anyone familiar with a screen protector for your mobile phone will know exactly what to expect here. Often tricky to apply, a theme carried over here, the protector does what it says on the box and stops those grubbly little jam-covered kids’ fingerprints from messing up the Switch screen. Along with this comes a simple screen wipe, similar to one anyone with glasses would own and this does its job well enough. The main draw for the package of course is the carry case, mainly due to the fact that your new shiny Switch unit costs quite a lot of money. It is meant partly as a mobile device, so keeping it safe while on the go is absolutely imperative...as is owning accidental damage insurance. The case is sturdy, solid enough to protect the Switch from damage even when dropped, and it has some additional storage inside for a USB charging cable, some cartridges or a set of earbuds. This leads us nicely onto the earbuds found within the package. For these it is wise to consider the overall cost of the package as they are best described as serviceable - that is not a criticism, just don’t buy a starter pack expecting the sound quality of a fifty-pound set of Sony headphones. Great for the train or the bus, not terribly loud unless in a silent environment and lacking in any real bass, they do the job just fine and get you up and running with a degree of privacy from the off.
For £14.99 it’s difficult to criticise the Venom package; all the contents do exactly what they set out to achieve, the build quality is solid if not ‘fancy’ but for that price tag it’s difficult to see what else Venom could have brought to market for the money. In summary, it’s therefore a solid, if not flash starter kit for any new Switch owner.
Snakebyte Switch Starter Pack
Contents: Bag, Screen protector, Screen wipe cloth, Four cartridge storage holder, controller caps and stereo ear buds.
Amazon price £17.99.
The Snakebyte brand may not be as instantly recognisable as the Venom alternative but the quality of the starter kit package is plain to see. There isn’t a great deal to be said about a screen protector so we will brush past that quickly, however the rest of the package really is fantastic quality for the paltry sum of under twenty pounds. Building on the Venom package above, there is an excellent reinforced case which fits the Switch snugly, as well as containing a small pouch within to house a few cartridges or some earbuds. As well as this there is a screen protector, which is noticeably easier to apply than the Venom, as well as some similarly serviceable earbuds within the pack. The Snakebyte pack does come with a higher price tag and this is very much justified by the additions in the package of a four cartridge storage holder and some neat little controller caps. The little caps are a useful addition, slipping on top of the two analogue sticks found on the pair of Joy-cons, nicely protecting the most used part of the ‘pad’ to improve wear and tear of your Switch. The addition of the cartridge holder is the standout addition and reason enough to pay the extra few pounds.
Clocking in at £17.99 the Snakebyte is the more expensive of the two third-party packs we took a look at and whilst it is the slightly more expensive of the two, it edges it in terms of quality and what’s in the box, going that extra bit further for a marginal extra fee. The Snakebyte wins the battle of the starter packs.
Snakebyte Switch Carry Bag
Contents - Carry Bag
Amazon Price - £11.99
Snakebyte may well have started strong but sadly with this carry ‘bag’ they quickly go from hero to zero. Clocking in at £11.99 on Amazon, this travel bag is a bit of an odd one, neatly filling a gap that absolutely doesn’t exist. This neoprene is roughly the same size as one of the hard cases found within either of the aforementioned starter packs, so it’s clearly not aimed at being an addition to those, but in fact it’s a small strapless neoprene ‘bag’ for your Switch. Thin, not particularly tough with no strapping, it is difficult to see what this bag brings to the table that a 10p bag for life from Tesco doesn’t. There is a single compartment accessed via a front zipper allowing you to store some carts and possibly a cable so it does have some extras for you to consider when shopping around. The protection it offers the Switch is minimal due to the thin neoprene and it cannot be carried as a bag. Granted it may be less bulky as one of the harder shelled cases but the lack of protection, as well as the fact that the Switch has room to move around in the bag, boils down to sacrificing peace of mind for space saving. It’s therefore difficult therefore to see why someone would purchase one of these for £11.99 over a starter pack and, as such, not possible to recommend when you are kitting yourself out for your new Switch.
Venom Universal In-Ear Stereo eSports Gaming Headset
Contents - Headset, Xbox 360 adaptor
Amazon Price - £14.99
If you aren’t satisfied by the earbuds that are provided in one of the starter packs you can increase your overall budget and go for a set of these esports over-the-ear gaming headsets which will work not only on the Switch but also work on most other consoles - even a PSP or an Xbox 360 with the free adaptor included. These stylish bright red over the ear headphones look good and fit neatly in the ear. They’re a little bulky to look at when held but in ear it makes sense and they work absolutely fine. The additions may appear visually slight, but they offer vast improvements elevating these from standard headphones to a proper gaming headset... A microphone for multiplayer adventures is present as well as controls on the cable itself allowing you to turn on and off voice control, as well as adjust the overall volume of the headset itself. As a result you have something which resembles an upgraded version of the earbuds but actually contains all the ingredients needed for it to be used as a proper gaming headset. If you plan on travelling around with your Switch a lot and don’t want to be that person on public transport wearing massive cans on the side of their head then this headset may just be for you. It won’t win any awards for sound as this is a minor improvement over cheap, tinny earbuds with a distinct lack of bass and most annoyingly low volume but at the price point, along with the slick sporty slimline design this headset could well be a hit with Switch users especially when Nintendo finally get around to launching online multiplayer titles like Mario Kart and Splatoon.
Snakebyte NSW Headphones
Contents - Headphones, drawstring cloth carry bag
Amazon Price - £22.99
Finally we have the Snakebyte over the ear, traditional cans, specially designed for the Switch and boasting some rather meaty 40mm audio drivers for crisp bassy sound. It’s clear that this headset isn’t simply an audio pass through device but may actually enhance the experience while playing your Switch on the move.
The design is simple, tried and tested in the land of portable headphones from the likes of Sony, with the two main cans folding neatly in on themselves allowing you to wrap up the headphones for travel storage and the headphones themselves come with a neat little travel bag for completion's sake. The colour palette again is simple, mixing the grey and the red of the Switch to a nice minimalist effect; they don’t scream out what they are used for but that’s half the charm and they match the Switch console perfectly.
Sound quality-wise the step up from the simpler headphones or headsets we’ve looked at in this article is instantly noticeable. The boost to both crispness, bass and general overall volume is really noticeable when you switch out from those starter pack earbuds to these and you absolutely won't regret that investment if you plan to spend a lot of time playing your Switch on the go. The excellent sound quality shines when playing something like Zelda or Splatoon and it’s a delight to see such a reasonably priced headset perform at max volume without a single piece of sound distortion or crackling to be heard. The audio that comes through, even at the Switch’s loudest moments, is crisp and clear - this is not something a lot of cheaper headsets and headphones can boast with a straight face.
What is remarkable however is how comfortable the headset itself it. Clocking in at only £22.99 you’d be fully justified in expecting the set to feel cheap and be uncomfortable to wear for medium to long periods, but they simply aren’t. The cushioned cans fit nicely, there is good flexibility in the fitting so even those with the smallest or biggest of heads should be accommodated with ease and you even have the ability to hook up a second headset to this one so someone can enjoy the audio with you, which is a nice touch. If you are serious about your Switch and want something that not only matches the console's look but also provides fantastic audio performance at a reasonable cost then you could do a lot worse than this Snakebyte headset - highly recommended.
To conclude this is just a sample of the plethora of new accessories flooding the market off the back of the momentum the new Nintendo Switch has garnered and we hope to bring you more soon. For now our recommendation would be to seriously consider the Snakebyte starter pack as a natural starting point; the Venom starter pack is a viable alternative if money is really tight. If you are flush then Snakebyte NSW headphones are the headphones to save up for, should you be looking to game on the go a lot rather than at home.