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Portable docks for the Nintendo Switch are bad Chinese ripoffs

A couple of days ago everyone was talking about portable, Oreo-sized Nintendo Switch dongles. They’re an alternative to the expensive $90 official Nintendo Switch dock. The small dongles are pocket sized, with the primary purpose of allowing anyone to use their Switch on a TV while they’re traveling. The big complaint is how the Nintendo Switch dock is large, scratches the screen, and can cause the Switch to overheat and bend. The SFANS and Switch-Con dongles are less expensive, only when you get the early bird pricing and way more portable than the official dock. The little dongles also don’t enclose your Switch in any way, preventing any overheating or scratching.

According to one YouTuber, these dongles, docks, or what you’d like to call them are no more than cheap knockoffs of existing products from China. The docks are a direct copy of the C-Force Cf001, which is a dock made for the Galaxy S8 DeX dock. The Switch-Con markets there Nintendo Switch dongle as an all-in-one tool to use with your MacBook Pro or with your Galaxy S8, so they clearly embrace the features.

Buyer beware on Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Everyone continues to preach “buyer beware” on the crowdfunding platforms. We’ve seen dozens of projects fail, reach funding but never ship, and even reach funding and ship to only a part of their backers. Pebble was once the crowdfunding darling, but they failed to compete against the Apple Watch. There are the handful of all-in-one credit cards that never make it. Then there are the fake campaigns that use Chinese tech to reach funding. Now there is nothing wrong to use some cheap Chinese parts, but when you consider these gadgets go for $30 in China you think again.

The SFANS is $69 with early bird pricing, but once marked up, it’ll ship for 45% more! That price puts it well above the official Nintendo Switch Dock. Other campaigns are less clear on their retail markup. I’d take a guess and say they’ll have a high premium for the portability.

An important note in all of this is how certain dongles that would let you plug your Switch into an HDMI cable won’t work. Many customers have tried a Mac HDMI dongle for the Switch but had no luck. It’s not clear if these Switch dongles are using a board to mimic the official dock or using some software to bypass the Switch hardware. It’s also interesting to think about what the Switch will recognize; will the Switch believe that it’s dock or will it think it’s in the portable mode. If the Switch thinks it’s dock than the games will run at the higher resolutions, but if it thinks it’s portable the Switch will use the lower resolutions which might look terrible on a larger screen.

Let me know what you think! Are you going to buy the portable Switch dongles even if they’re Chinese ripoffs or are you going to wait and see how they work?

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