SFANS portable Nintendo Switch adapter review

The SFANS adapter makes it so much easier to dock your Nintendo Switch on the go

The SFANS adapter isn’t cheap, but makes it easier to dock your Switch anywhere.

It’s pretty easy to grab your Nintendo Switch and bring it to a friend’s house, but if you’re taking it with you, there’s a good chance you’re going to leave the dock at home, even if you’ll have access to a TV. Bulky and unable to fit in most carrying cases, the dock isn’t really designed to ever leave your entertainment center. And without it, you won’t be able to view its full resolution and bright, crisp colors. As we discovered while preparing for our SFANS Switch adapter review, this crowdfunded portable dock is among the best Nintendo Switch accessories if you prefer to always game on the big screen.

Splatoon 2 ran exactly as it did on the original dock, with the same resolution, colors, and framerate.

Initially funded through a very successful IndieGoGo campaign, the SFANS portal Switch dock is a fully functional replacement for the original dock that comes bundled with the console. On the bottom of the adapter, which is just slightly wider than the creator’s “Oreo-sized” claim, there are ports to plug in both the Switch’s included USB-C power adapter as well as an HDMI cord. (The cords are not included.) Our review unit also came with a portable stand that looks almost identical to one produced by Hori, allowing the console to stay elevated and get enough ventilation. For an $80 pledge on the crowdfunding page, you can have the cable, adapter, and stand all included with the SFANS.

Playing the Switch with the adapter feels almost identical to using Nintendo’s dock. Aside from the Switch taking just a few seconds longer to shift its display to the television, we encountered no performance issues at all. Splatoon 2, for example, ran exactly as it did on the original dock, with the same resolution, colors, and framerate. After more than an hour of play, the SFANS was barely warm. The device also charges the Nintendo Switch like the original dock.

Though it is meant for travel, the adapter seems fairly delicate. In place of the small USB-C nub on the original dock, there’s a short cable that plugs into the bottom of the Nintendo Switch. The flat-ribbon cable doesn’t look like it can take much abuse, and it’s directly connected to the SFANS, so you won’t be able to replace it if it breaks.

The adapter also serves as a USB hub for the Switch. The left side sports two USB 3.1 ports, and the right side has an additional two USB-C ports. Though there’s little reason to need extra ports at this time, you may take solace knowing that you have the option.

It’s worth noting that most of these features are actually available in an existing adapter designed for the Samsung Galaxy S8 that costs a fraction of the SFANS $60 pledge price, though it sports a different external design that doesn’t look like a cute little Joy-Con Grip. According to SFANS, the board inside the device has been used in several other products, which appears to include the S8 adapter, but that substantial work was done to its firmware in order to make USB-C power deliver work properly on the Switch.

“There are a ton of normal USB Type C-to-HDMI solutions. What we did was use one of them and did secondary development based on it,” an SFANS representative told Digital Trends. “[We] can assure you that SFANS is not a rebranded product. It is a redesigined and reengineered product that fits Nintendo Switch.”

Whatever they did, it seems like it works. Unlike many other power-delivery solutions that we have seen for the Nintendo Switch, which often don’t properly charge the system, the SFANS works as advertised.

Yes, $80 is a lot to ask for everything you’ll need to take your Switch on the go, but an extra power adapter and portable stand will already set you back $50. The adapter is certainly expensive, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.


Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.

Play ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ the best way with a Switch GameCube controller

If you're a longtime Super Smash Bros. player, then you know there's only one true way to play. Alongside the recent launch of the new 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,' Nintendo has brought back the iconic GameCube controller.

Looking for a controller to play 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try one of these

The Switch is the most versatile console around, and that means you might need a controller that's different from the norm. In fact, even the standard controller is a best weird. Here's our favorite Switch controllers.

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Ditch the meditation app. 'Katamari Damacy Reroll' is pure gaming zen

Katamari Damacy Reroll brings the magic of the PS2 classic to Nintendo Switch and PC. With updated visuals and the same great, singular loop, Reroll stands the test of time. Katamari Damacy is the ultimate relaxation game.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

The NES Classic is back in stock just in time for the holidays

The NES Classic is back in stock at multiple outlets at its original launch price of $60 in time for Christmas. Retailers offering it online are Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy -- if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for…

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.