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PWRUP Grip 2 for Analogue Pocket Review: A Better Way to Play

Published May 25, 2024

While the Analogue Pocket is still the best retro gaming handheld out there, it’s certainly not the most comfortable. That’s where the PWRUP Grip comes in.

The Analogue Pocket is a huge hit for lots of reasons. It offers an excellent gaming experience thanks to its FPGA technology, and its sleek design pays tribute to the iconic Game Boy with a minimalist, modern aesthetic. This familiar and nostalgic look has played a big part in its success, but like most vertical handhelds, it’s not the best when it comes to comfort. Playing in short bursts is perfectly fine, but longer sessions can often result in hand cramps and discomfort, and that’s exactly what the PWRUP Grip 2 is trying to solve.

This new version of the Analogue Pocket grip attachment is a more polished product that builds on the foundation of its predecessor, promising to deliver a better gaming experience by offering enhanced ergonomics and superior comfort.

In this review, I will dig into the design, build quality and my hands-on experience with the PWRUP Grip 2 to see if it lives up to the hype as a must-have accessory for every Analogue Pocket owner.

What’s in the box?

The packaging is nice and minimalistic, featuring a black box with a matte finish and the PWRUP logo in silver foil on the front.

Opening it up reveals the PWRUP Grip 2 and an information sheet tucked inside.

Everything is nicely presented, giving the impression of a premium product right from the start.

Design & Build Quality

I haven’t had a chance to test the previous version of this grip, which was a 3D printed solution, so my review will largely focus on the new model, without drawing any comparisons to the original.

As soon as you take it out of the box, you can tell that the PWRUP Grip 2 is a well designed product, with nice contours and rounded edges throughout its black plastic and metal housing, so you know it will pair up nicely with the aesthetic of the Analogue Pocket.

The large handles feature a soft foam padding that makes them feel absolutely great in the hand, but this material also comes with some drawbacks which I’ll get to later. These grips are connected by a thin but very sturdy aluminum backplate with the PWRUP logo on the back.

The inner section, where the Analogue Pocket goes, is lined with a soft velvety material which also covers the metal backplate, so you don’t have to worry about your handheld getting scratched. It’s also worth mentioning that once the grip is attached, all the ports on the handheld, as well as the power and volume buttons are still fully accessible.

Four small tabs on the front help guide the Pocket into place as you slot it in, and although it’s a tight fit, I haven’t had any issues sliding it in and out of the grip. Plus, once it’s in, the handheld is kept firmly in place and won’t accidentally slip out of the attachment.

Speaking of these tabs, in my opinion this is one aspect that could benefit from a minor enhancement in a future version of the product. Although these tabs do serve their purpose, they are designed in a way that detracts from the overall sleek aesthetic of this accessory. I would suggest replacing the four separate tabs with an extended pair of thinner lips on each side of the grip to achieve a more polished and cohesive look. Check out the visual comparison below (and please excuse my crude mockup):

This is only a small nitpick, and I completely understand why PWRUP has gone with the current design, but I think a cleaner solution is definitely possible, while still providing enough clearance for the D-pad and face buttons.

Another element that is not perfect is the EVA foam material used on the handles. I’m a bit torn on this, as I absolutely love the soft feel of this material, which is unlike any other grip or controller I’ve ever used, in a good way. The issue here is that it doesn’t seem to have the same level of quality when compared to the other components of this product. It looks great straight out of the box, but once you start using the grip, you realize that this material is not only a dust/lint magnet but it is also prone to scratches and marks, so I have some concerns when it comes to its durability.

Having said that, PWRUP does offer a soft protective case that can house the Analogue Pocket with the grip attached, so this can help keep it dust-free while giving you some added protection when the device is not in use.

Gaming with the PWRUP Grip 2

Minor gripes aside, let’s get to the hands-on gaming experience, which is what really matters. This is where the PWRUP Grip 2 truly shines, and as I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, this accessory feels absolutely fantastic.

After testing out the product for over a week, I’ve been enjoying the extended gaming sessions thanks to the improved ergonomics, and my hands never felt tired or sore while using the grip. I love how the handles are curved at the top, so I can naturally and comfortably rest my fingers there, and the shoulder buttons feel nicely within reach too. Overall, this accessory completely changed the gaming experience for me, making the Analogue Pocket feel more like a full-fledged controller.

If you’re used to vertical handhelds and haven’t had any problems in the past, this product might not be for you. But if you’re someone who’s constantly battling discomfort while playing, this is definitely worth looking into.

Pricing

The PWRUP Grip 2 is priced at $54.99 USD plus shipping, which can be quite expensive depending on where you are in the world. Whether it’s really worth it comes down to how much time you spend gaming on your Analogue Pocket, and how much you’re willing to pay for the added comfort. If hand cramps or fatigue have been bugging you and you want a smoother experience, investing in this grip could be worth it to ensure you’re getting the most out of your handheld.

You also have the option to pick up a unit with minor “cosmetic defects” for just $25.99 – a steal compared to the full price. These grips may have some visual imperfections but still work perfectly fine, making them a solid choice if you’re on a budget. The company decided to offer these particular units for purchase in an effort to cut down on waste, which is really cool to see. So props to them for that!

Pros & Cons

Let’s sum things up with a look at the pros and cons of this accessory.

Pros

  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Beautiful, clean design
  • Solid build quality
  • Perfect fit for the Analogue Pocket

Cons

  • Foam material on the handles could be better
  • High price tag

Verdict

The PWRUP Grip 2 is a sleek, well-built product that feels amazing in the hand and significantly improves the gaming experience on the best retro gaming handheld, making it a fantastic accessory for the Analogue Pocket.

POSTED BY

Flavio Argemi

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