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Product Review - Hyperkin Powerplus Extra Battery Life for 3DS

31st October 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

If one good thing came out of Nintendo's decision with the 3DS' battery life, it's that third-parties have been able to profit from that with their own battery enhancements. Hyperkin is one such company that has taken note of the potentially inconvenient situation in hopes of providing consumers with a safety net. With their patented Powerplus accessory designed exclusively for the handheld, Hyperkin has already put themselves out there as an early trendsetter much like Nyko Technologies. Originally priced at an MSRP of $25, is this now-$20 product a worthwhile investment for 3DS owners?

    First things first: How does it feel? When I first removed the product from the plastic casing, I surprised at just how light it felt in the palm of my hand. For some reason, I thought it looked heavier than it actually is. The device has a nice rubbery texture to it and despite how it may look from the profile view, it feels firm, not flimsy. 

    The Powerplus accessory has been positioned as having "easy attachable slide design" in that consumers can slide it in fairly easily (almost like you're putting your system into a holder for a stand). The small battery pack attached to the accessory inserts into the sides of the adapter outlet found on the system. When securely fastened and assuming the position as though you're about to play a game, the Powerplus makes for a nice grip at the back of the 3DS for your fingers to rest on. The same goes for the battery pack which sticks out the top of your system. On that note, if you have a zipper case that fits your system in snuggly, you may want to keep that aspect of the design in mind before purchasing this product.

    The device is USB-powered, so you can keep a charge going while you play your gaming console or you can plug it into your laptop or PC and charge it that way too. There are four LED lights at the back of the accessory that indicate how much battery life is contained inside. While charging, I'd recommend having the top of your 3DS facing down so you can see the battery gauge as it charges -- that is, if you don't choose to charge the accessory by itself. When you detach the USB cable from the Powerplus, however, the LED lights will remain off. 

    Just beside the USB input is a small round switch that activates and de-activates the battery charge from flowing into your system. There's no text to indicate which side means on and which means off, which I suppose is a minor complaint, but for the sake of being user-friendly, that's something they could have added. When turned on, the orange charge light on your system will appear as if the adapter were plugged in. Even while this is taking place, the LED lights won't automatically display. To get an idea of how much battery remains, you need to press a round button just above the four lights to temporarily display the charge level. Not the most practical, especially since that will usually involve turning your system upside down, but it gets the job done. 

    Now, Hyperkin proudly exclaims that the Powerplus accessory charges the system "without getting in the way" of your play experience. Is this 100% truthful? Well, the top screen can adjust itself without having the protruding battery pack obstruct it in any way. However, the slide mechanism can inadvertently activate the 3DS Camera with the pressure against the R Button. Also, while there is an opening to allow free access to the volume slider, more space could have been allocated to allow for bigger thumbs. So to me, that statement is only around 99% correct.

Speaking of promises, Hyperkin also claims their product offers "more than double the battery life" of your average 3DS. Sorry, but I don't think so. Last time I checked, even if the longevity does depend on the intensity of use with certain features, the system's battery doesn't last a measly two hours. 

    In my experience, the Powerplus battery lasted about four hours at full capacity after my main battery was running low. And that was just with it resting on the 3DS Menu screen, not even with gameplay running. The longevity isn't bad or anything, it's just that it falls short of the mark the company set for it. It's also worth noting that the bottom part of the square battery itself can get quite warm over time.

    Just one final note on the packaging: While I don't think it totally succeeds, it's not bad. It uses a large window to show the product in actual form, with an illustration of the design resting on the front along with three highlighted features of the accessory.

    In summary, Hyperkin's Powerplus accessory acts a lot like a backup battery and does most of what it claims to do. Design-wise I definitely think it works for the most part. The functional aspect of it may not offer the most ideal performance, but it's still a good buy.

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Functionality 7/10 - Build 7/10 - Lifespan 3/5 - Value 4/5
Equivalent to a score of 70% /