Say you recently dropped a chunk of cash on a new Nintendo Switch. You might leave it in the dock most of the time, but at some point you’re gonna want to pick it up and take it with you. Before you do that, you should probably get a case.
There are already a ton of third-party Switch cases on the market. (In fact, at the moment it’s probably easier to get a case than it is to get a Switch.) Cases range from simple zipped enclosures to elaborate, transforming contraptions. While most of these cases are plenty functional, most lack a certain level of quality that can be found in higher-end tech cases and accessories. Enter the San Francisco-based bag company Waterfield, who have spent several years carving out a spot making higher-end cases for video game handhelds and other portable tech.
Several of us here at Kotaku are fans of Waterfield’s cases. Luke very much liked their Vita case, and back in 2013 I reviewed their terrific 3DS XL case, which I still use today. A couple of weeks ago they sent me a new CitySlicker Switch case to review, and that’s just what I’m here to do.
Here’s a video overview of the case, which, like the console for which it was designed, has a few more ins and outs than your average Waterfield case:
The Switch CitySlicker goes for $79. That’s considerably more than most competing cases, which usually land in the $15-30 range. It can hold your Switch along with five game carts, and has extra room for headphones, Joy-Con caps, additional games, or maybe a small USB-C charging cable. (No room for an AC adapter or the Joy-Con Grip, of course.)
Nice to look at and hold. Ultimately, if you drop eighty bucks on a Switch case, you’re probably doing so because you want a well-made case that looks good and is easy to use. The CitySlicker definitely achieves its aesthetic goals—this is a handsome case, with a leather flap and a sturdy nylon body. It’s easy to carry around and feels good in your hand.
Feels like it will protect your Switch. The CitySlicker is larger than I was expecting, and quite a bit thicker than the bare-bones first-party case that Nintendo sent me when I was reviewing the Switch. As a result it takes up more room in my bag when I carry it around, but it also feels like it will actually keep my Switch safe should I drop it or otherwise expose it to bumping or jostling.
The case interior is lined with soft plush material, with a microfiber cloth surface pressing up against the screen in the front. There’s a small pouch in the front that sits just in between the Joy-Con thumbsticks, designed with some bracing along the sides of the case to create a snug fit around the protruding sticks without pressing against anything.
This case is amply padded and while I didn’t actually test it by dropping my Switch (sorry, not ready to do that yet), it feels sturdy and reliable.
Lots of room for extra stuff. To get the most out of your Switch on the go, you’ll need to bring a few peripherals. Happily, the CitySlicker has room for almost all of them. I’ve been comfortably carrying my Switch along with a pair of headphones and both Joy-Con grips in the zippered back pouch, and the interior pouch could easily carry a some extra game carts or a small USB-C cable for charging.
The case can’t fit an AC adapter, but that’s hardly something I can hold against it. If you really want to carry that much stuff, you can always shell out $150 on Waterfield’s humorously large “Multiplayer Pro” case, which is basically just a big shoulder bag that can even hold the Switch dock. That’s definitely not what I’m looking for in a Switch case, so I found the CitySlicker’s carrying capacity to be more than sufficient.
Snaps are a little finicky. In a change from previous Waterfield cases, the CitySlicker locks closed with a pair of magnetic snaps under the front flap. I found that these magnets were actually a little hard to get shut. It was easier when I was only using the case to hold the Switch and no accessories, but never as easy as I wanted it to be.
The magnets will sometimes appear to fasten shut, but the snaps themselves won’t be seated, which means the flap could pop open at an inopportune moment. The snap situation isn’t a huge deal, and I’ve learned to take the extra time to really seat the snaps when closing the case. But I would’ve preferred it if the case were easier to close consistently and securely.
The left stick gets a little stuck. Another small but niggling complaint: When I’m removing the Switch from the bag, the left Joy-Con tends to hang on the case’s inner lip, which requires me to yank just a little bit to get the Switch to come free. It strikes me as the kind of minor design oversight that could easily be tweaked in subsequent builds of the case. It could even just be a slight mis-measurement in the case I was sent. Another one that’s not a huge deal, but with a case this expensive, I was expecting it to be easier to quickly remove the Switch from the case.
The CitySlicker is an attractive, straightforward case for the Nintendo Switch. It doesn’t double as a stand or have a built-in charger. It doesn’t look like an item from the new Zelda game or come in a collectable special edition. It’s just a well-made nylon and leather pouch that will keep your new electronic gadget safe.
At $79, the CitySlicker is more of a luxury accessory than most cases. There are a number of cheaper options that will likely do just as good a job of keeping your Switch safe while on the go. But if you want something nicer and better-made than your average Switch case, this is a good option.