If you only buy one Nintendo Switch accessory this year, the Nitro Deck from new brand CRKD (pronounced "cracked") could be the one.
For starters, Joy-Con stick drift has been a major issue since the console originally launched in 2017. The thumbsticks of the Nitro Deck use Hall Effect sensors which are more precise than the analogue variants in the usual Nintendo Joy-Cons and reportedly impervious to engaging on their own.
The deck also ensures ultra-low latency as it connects to your Switch screen - standard or OLED - via USB-C. You just slot the screen in and, as the Deck and display are directly connected, you won't experience even the tiniest lag that a wireless hook-up can introduce.
Other upgrades include mappable back buttons on the rear of the device, which can even be assigned to perform combo moves with a single press. While programming, the combination of button presses and timing will be stored so, when you press one of the rear paddles, it'll perform a move exactly how you want.
The thumbstick toppers can also be unclicked and replaced, to suit your preferred look and feel, while the large kickstand seems to be more robust than any that come with the Switch natively.
I got some hands-on time with the Nitro Deck during Gamescom 2023 and feel its chunkier body adds a premium, pro-style feel to the experience. It makes the Switch feel more like a Steam Deck – which is somewhat ironic considering Valve's machine is clearly inspired by Nintendo's.
It adds bulk, for sure, but not too much weight. And, as well as being well-designed ergonomically, it also feels like it'll survive a fall or two.
I also let out a little squeal of nerdy joy when the purple GameCube-inspired model was put in front of me. It is unmistakable in its colour palette and shows that the CRKD brand is happy to have some fun with its designs.
It also understands that there's a growing collectors market for accessories and gaming curiosities. Indeed, when you buy a Nitro Deck you can link it with your profile in a dedicated iOS and Android app, even record a brief first impressions video and share it socially.
This attention to detail will likely stand the new brand in good stead as it introduces other devices to market.
For now, the CRKD Nitro Deck will cost £59.99 / $59.99 when it ships in several different colours in September. There are also limited edition versions priced at £89.99 / $89.99 – including the purple and mint versions I saw at Gamescom – which come with a carry case.
You can pre-order them from the dedicated CRKD website now.