If you are just managed to get an Nintendo Switch for the upcoming holiday, or you are looking to get some accessories for your device, a carrying case could be one of the items on your shopping list. There are abundance of options in the internet marketplace like Amazon, either game-themed or not. But you may agree that the most commonly seen types of carrying case include hard-shell case, silicone case, fibre zipper pouch, as well as leather pouch.
The Nintendo Switch is my third game console in life after PlayStation 1 and the earliest monochrome Game Boy, and I love the Switch a lot. As it is a fairly expensive toy for me, in order to better protect it when I carry it around, I have been using a hard-shell carrying case since day one I got my Nintendo Switch in April. It has been performing very well especially when I take it with me during travels aboard. The case gets my Switch covered with full protection. I do sometimes also swap the case with the official Zelda-themed Zipper Pouch (as shown above) when I do not feel like carrying other accessories with me, such as the USB-C charging cable and the earphone, as the pouch itself does not have any storage slots for this purpose.
Recently, I look into getting a leather pouch as I think it is aesthetically more classic and matches with my usual outfit and leather accessories, such as Apple Watch straps.
This is how I come up with an idea to write this post to share with you my opinions on using both leather pouch and hard-shell case that I picked and purchased from the ocean of choices, putting them for a side-by-side comparison. If you are undecided on which one to pick up, I hope your will find the following details informative and useful.
What I purchased from Taobao:
Design and dimensions
Certainly the overall design for a hard-shell carrying case is very different from a leather pouch. Despite that the compartments are sealed by zippers surrounded by fabric, how you open the case is a completely different story. You will need to flip over hard-shell cases while you can simply unzip the leather pouch and take out your Switch. It can be somehow easier and more handy than hard-shell cases that you need to flip the cover over. And this may be a more secure way to take out the console if you are on mobile rather than sitting down near a desk.
Basic hard-shell carrying cases generally look minimal, or boring in most cases. Unless your get some special editions for certain games or from designers, the outer shell designs are pretty homogenous across affordable options. However, you can easily get a more stylish look, classy colors, beautiful stitching work on a leather pouch. Aesthetically, in my personal opinion, a leather pouch definitely stands out as a beautiful contrast to the common hard-shell ones.
In terms of dimension, it quite depends on the design of each type of cases and pouches and how the brands design on their product. Generally speaking, it may not deviate a lot between the two as the size of the Nintendo Switch is there and manufacturers can simply design around it. Usually leather pouch measures smaller in size but mine is an exception. And the only major difference I can guess for most of the case will be the thickness and it depends on the material being used and the internal structure of the case or pouch.
Material, internal structure and protection
As I mentioned earlier, the major build material for a carrying case would be plastic hard-shell, silicone, fabric cloth, leather, carbon fibre or even metal, such as HORI AlumiCase. Undoubtedly, the hard-shell ones offer highest level of protection against scratches and most general circumstances that you will not feel guilty when you throw it into the bottom of your backpack right away.
It is true that leather surface is more vulnerable to scratches and damage by shape edges comparing with hard-shell cases. For genuine leather, it will grow over time with all the histories engraved on the surface on how you used and experienced with it, which is not something for everyone. However, leather wins over flexibility as it is more elastic. In addition, it may come to your surprise that a leather pouch, at least the one I owned and showed right now, provides excellent protection against accidental drop at a reasonable handheld height, thanks to the thickness and elasticity of the leather itself and the cushion inside the pouch.
Internally, the hard-shell case is very different from a leather pouch. In my case, I have the very early generation of hard-shell case. On one side two short elastic nylon straps to hold the two corners of the console, which is incredibly insecure when opening up the case. In the middle, there are only 5 cartridge slots. Lastly a pocket on the other side for minimal amount of essential accessories. The major issue for using this kind of nylon rubber straps or velcro straps is that it will age quickly over time as it is being used pretty frequently in case of a Nintendo Switch. Users will not just put it away but rather taking it in and out from time to time. However, from manufacturing cost and user-friendliness perspectives, they are the best options that we have to deal with it when they ever age.
On another hand, the leather pouch I have is just like a traveller wallet. There is no nylon or velcro straps to hold the console but instead just slide it in the pocket and it is pretty secure thanks to the friction against the fluffy inner surface, which also serves as a very good cushion against drops. On the next compartment, I can put away some accessories. However, it turns out to be a bit too tight that I need to take the headphone out from its pouch to release some space. On the outer surface, there is a zipped pocket that I can put 5 cartridges inside but there is no way to expand, unlike the hard-shell case that manufacturers can stitch more slots on the flip side of the middle flap. And again, it is quite tight when the console is insider which I can hardly put in or take out any cartridge.
For minimal cases or pouches like the above, the size is just about right fit for a Switch console and a few small accessories, such as headphone, charging cable, micro-fibre cleaning cloth or maximum one more joy-con. Do not expect that you can put a good amount of stuffs such as two more joy-cons, powerbanks or having your Switch covered with additional protective sleeve.
Stuffing any of these too much will result in pressing on joy-con analog sticks, buttons or the screen that may potential damage the parts or console, or if the device is on, consume excessive battery while the device is not in use. Most likely this will happen on a hard-shell case as it is moulded with fixed dimensions, but I have the same experience with my leather pouch as well.
One more important point to note is that despite the fact leather is more elastic and you can stretch it and put more stuff inside the pocket, beware with the nylon around the zipper that the stitching may break or things along may come off if it is being stretched too much.
As a disclaimer, this review is not sponsored by any sellers. I purchased both hard-shell case (~US$3) and leather pouch (~US$15) from Taobao, the major e-marketplace in China, at my own cost. For hard-shell cases, there are tons of options you can find on Amazon. I researched some top-rated similar ones without breaking the bank:
- AmazonBasics Carrying Case for Nintendo Switch (US$13.99)
- Orzly Carry Case for Nintendo Switch (US$14.91)
- Ortz Nintendo Switch Carrying Case (US$16.99)
For leather pouch, as there is no one-to-one design, I could only find a few similar alternatives on Amazon simply by looking at the promotional pictures. As usual and as a smart customer, you may wish to check the reviews under each product before you purchase, and at your own risk that I will not be responsible for any unsatisfactory buying experience:
- GARUNK Leather Carrying Bag (US$11.99)
- iVAPO PU Leather Bag – Beige (US$13.99)
- iVAPO PU Leather Bag – Black (US$13.99)
I am no affiliate to the sellers below but there are a few more premium options you may wish to check out if you have some extra cash to splash during the holidays:
- SkinzNhydez Leather Zelda-themed carrying case (US$225)
- Waterfield Pouch for Nintendo Switch (US$49+)
- Waterfield CityClicker for Nintendo Switch (US$79+)
Overall speaking, in terms of value for money, if you have ever come across any hard-shell carrying case that offers basics such as accessories and cartridge slots for around US$10, and you are not looking for something extremely fancy but just get the job done, it is definitely worth the money. Certainly there are more expensive options for Nintendo Switch hard-shell cases that offer better specifications, such as better case material, quality velcro straps and more slots for game cartridges. And if you love a game so much, you may either opt for game-theme silicone or fibre cases, there are quite a few good options with Mario and Zelda signatures.
However, if you are neither the above and looking to get something more stylish on top of practicality, provided that you do not mind spending a bit more for fancier case for your beloved Nintendo Switch console, a leather pouch a pretty good options that comes with a fashion-ascent. One thing to note will be the dimensions of the pouch, number and types of compartments the pouch has. If it is too small, it may have the possibility that the joy-con analog sticks will be pressed when the pouch is sealed, or you simply cannot stuff other accessories in the pouch.
Again, I do hope this little guide will help you out when making a buying decision on this particular accessory. For those who have already got one of the carrying cases for your Nintendo Switch, what is your pick so far and which one is the best? I would love hearing your experience down in the comments section. If you have any questions that you may think I can help on, please feel free to drop me a message and I am happy to answer at best of my knowledge as a gadget reviewer, or simply a Nintendo Switch fan and leisure gamer.
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