Tech

Genki Covert is a $75 ultra-portable dock for Nintendo Switch

  • Clockwise from the top: a Nintendo Switch resting in an official Nintendo dock, a Switch Joy-Con, and the Genki Covert third-party dock. Jim Salter
  • The Genki Covert sports one set of folding US-style AC prongs (global adapter set included in box), with one HDMI out, one USB 3.1 Type A, and one USB 3.1 Type C. Jim Salter
  • Action shot! The Genki Covert is plugged into the outlet beneath the TV, and the Switch itself is plugged into the Genki via its provided USB-C 3.1 cable. Jim Salter

Today we're taking a look at the just-released Genki Covert Dock, a $75 third-party dock for the Nintendo Switch console. It's the size and shape of a compact USB charger, with folding 120VAC prongs for US electrical power (slide-on adapters for other countries are included in the box). We know everybody's worried about third-party docks right now—but Genki's lead engineer is the one who first discovered why Switch consoles tended to brick in third-party docks. So the Covert feels like a safe bet.

Although Covert Dock does come with a manual, you aren't going to need it—usage is very simple. You plug the Covert Dock directly into the wall, just as you would any compact phone charger. Plug an HDMI cable from the Covert Dock into your display, and plug the included USB-C 3.1 charge cable from your Switch to the Covert. Voila—a few seconds later, your Switch's video and audio are routed over HDMI to your display, and it's charging.

Simple device, real engineering

Genki Covert Dock for Nintendo Switch

$75 at Amazon (Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

It's effectively impossible to buy a Nintendo Switch right now—I know, I keep looking. When I bought our family's Switch, I really just wanted to play Untitled Goose Game—at which the kids and I spent eons laughing, bonding, and discussing why we really shouldn't carry pranks learned from Goose Game over into real life. But these days, for my family as for many others, the Switch has effectively become a dedicated Animal Crossing: New Horizons console, and it has become worth its weight in gold.

I tell you this because the Genki Covert is the first product I've ever tested which elicited actual threats from my wife. When I told her I'd gotten a third-party dock for review, she immediately asked how I was going to replace the Switch if it got bricked. "I don't think you understand just how important the Switch is to the kids," she declared. "You can't even buy another one right now." The word "divorce" may or may not have come up shortly thereafter, presumably in jest. The mood was grim.

Fortunately, we now know why third-party docks kept frying Nintendo Switch consoles—in the most famous case, a programmable microcontroller was sending the wrong voltage to the Switch. Problems with other third-party docks cropped up because Nintendo used a nonstandard design for the Switch's USB-C port—and Genki Covert Dock's lead engineer is the Redditor who finally figured all of that out.

The Genki Covert Dock itself seems to bear out that original attention to detail. You can't really make a compact, wall-wart USB charger look like a glamorous device—but it feels solid in your hand, the hinged electrical supply prongs swing smoothly in and out, and there aren't any rough seams.

Using the Genki Covert Dock

  • It felt a bit naff just setting our Switch on the counter under the TV—but we didn't mind using an actual USB-C connector instead of the hands-free "dock" connector. Jim Salter
  • Extreme close-up—here we see the Genki Covert's HDMI cord (top) snaking off to the TV, a USB-C 3.1 charge cable snaking off to the Switch on the bottom, and a currently empty auxiliary USB 3.1 charge port in the center. Jim Salter
  • The Genki Covert itself is on the bottom left; the other devices are international power adapters which can be slid over the Covert's US-style prongs if necessary. Jim Salter
  • This sticker came with the Covert. Before taking a photo and zooming in, we weren't even sure which side was up. Sure is colorful, though! Jim Salter

There really isn't much to say about using a device without a single button on it—plug Covert Dock into the wall, connect it to your TV with an HDMI cable (not included), and connect your Switch to the Covert Dock with a USB-C cable (included). That's it.

Waking up your Switch from across the room with a paired Joy-Con works with the Covert Dock, just as it does with the OEM dock. There's an additional USB 3.1 Type-A connector which can be used to charge your phone, or to connect additional Switch-compatibRead More – Source