Review: CRKD Nitro Deck for Nintendo Switch – Almost great, but with one big flaw

Many companies have tried to capitalize on the problem of Joy-Con sticks drifting, and the usual tactic is to rely on Hall Effect technology, which uses magnets to get around the issue of component wear. Roselle The latest to promote a drift-free experience using this technology is the Nitro Deck, a large piece of plastic that you slide your Switch controller into, rather than the controllers you place on their sides.

It features all the face buttons, shoulder buttons, sticks, what have you need, plus a few extra “paddle” buttons on the back that can be mapped to any other button on the controller if you wish. It’s a very cool feature for sure, but it’s not really our thing. However, when we tried to follow the instructions provided with the device to completely clear the programming, it refused to work. A quick look at the company’s support page helped provide that correct Instructions, but if you provide printed instructions at all, they should be at least accurate.

Image: Alex Olney/Nintendo Life

The controller feels quite comfortable in your hands, and the build quality is fairly good. It feels oddly light without the controller there, but there’s clearly a balance between build quality and weight that CRKD has tried to address, and once the controller is in place, it feels as it should. You don’t want to be lugging around a big, chunky monkey now, do you? Speaking of which, the way the controller is locked is very simple and innovative. Two plastic tabs mounted to the console’s side rails lock once fully inserted, and prevent removal unless the latch on the back of the unit is depressed. This gives it a comfortable, ergonomic look while being easy to slide into — and largely painless to slide in — whether you have an OLED screen or a native controller. Top marks.

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What doesn’t get a “high score” is the predicate. It’s better than the OG Switch by a certain margin, but honestly, that bar has already dropped too low. It’s unusually short to make room for the latch we mentioned above, which means the result is a kickstand that works, but has few usable positions. This kickstand hinge also blocks the last screw at the back, making non-destructive disassembly seem unlikely, which is unfortunate, and limits the user’s options if something goes wrong later.

Despite all that, the Nitro Deck is actually quite nice to use; The buttons are nice and responsive, the grips are solid for larger hands, and the full-sized sticks are a welcome relief compared to those on the Joy-Con. Good, Leave The stick is welcome at least.

CRK D-Nitro Deck 4
Image: Alex Olney/Nintendo Life

Unfortunately, the right stick is in quite a confusing position considering the space available on the Nitro Deck. When we placed our hands in a neutral position with our right thumb resting on the face buttons, we found ourselves about to touch the right stick. Thank God we had it Just Adequate Clearance is to prevent any accidental inputs, but it’s frankly strangely close. Things get worse when you need to use that stick, and if we’re honest, it’s a terrible experience ergonomically. For any game that requires constant use of the right stick like a shooter, we found ourselves bending our wrist at a very bent angle in order to get the best grip due to how far to the right (and below) the stick is. .

There’s enough real estate that it could be at least a few millimeters to the left for more comfort (admittedly at the expense of symmetry), but instead, it’s almost comically uncomfortable to use, even for short periods. It’s a great shame, because for games that don’t require the right stick, it’s actually a very fun way to control, but unfortunately this is a real deal breaker. We even introduced this to our gaming friends and family to make sure it wasn’t just our gloves, but they all agreed it was embarrassing at best. If we said we’d prefer to use a pair of standard Joy-Cons to play DOOM Eternal, that should disappointingly make our point.

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CRKD Nitro Deck 2
Image: Alex Olney/Nintendo Life

While we were on the subject of sticks, we didn’t doubt this manufacturer’s claims at all, but with so many companies promoting Hall Effect technologies, we decided to come up with a test to see if any controller is actually based on this more expensive technology, rather than just a scam. To get a quick profit. By placing powerful neodymium magnets close to the sticks when they are turned on, we can actually interfere with the signal on the Hall Effect sticks and shake things up a bit, but not the traditional potentiometer-based sticks found on the likes of the official Pro Controller. With that in mind, the Nitro Deck went through without issue, the right stick was poorly placed and so on. Oof!

If you saw any close-ups of the back of this unit, you could be forgiven for thinking, “What are those parts on the back for?”, likely referring to the “input” and “output” USB-C ports (hopefully). The “Input” is for charging the console while it is in the Nitro Deck. A clear and simple solution, but it works effortlessly. The “output” port is another matter. This is designed so that you can use the Nitro Deck as a wired controller when the console is docked. No, we’re not kidding.

Rocca Nitro Deck 3
Image: Alex Olney/Nintendo Life

We don’t have a problem with this being a feature, but it certainly surprises us strange To include a port for a use case that we can’t see more than a few players using. We tried both ports in case there was some sort of jumper so the console could be docked while holding it, but nothing we tried worked. We can speculate that this port originally had more uses, but as it stands now, it’s really something you can use wired in docked mode. How strange.

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We also encountered something that we could not reasonably explain. While the console was turned off but still in the Nitro Deck, the indicator light suddenly came on and then disappeared after a few seconds. This has happened at least twice, and while we suspect this is concerning, it is still clearly not intentional and we felt it was worth mentioning.

The Nitro Deck is a great product in principle, but unfortunately there’s a major design flaw that leaves us unable to recommend it without an asterisk of giant proportions. If all you plan on playing are games that leave the right stick alone for all but a few simple functions, you might be well advised to take a look at this. However, if you plan to play anything Requiring a lot of use of the right stick, its poor placement means it might be best to miss this.

But hey, at least he won’t get carried away.

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