As easy as it is to flip the Nintendo Switch from a handheld gaming system to a full-blown gaming console, the dock Nintendo bundles with it for connecting it to a TV is big, bulky, and incredibly immobile. A better alternative when travelling with the Switch is something like the Genki Covert Dock, which looks like a regular wall wart. Today sees that portable switch dock get even smaller, with the release of the Genki Covert Dock Mini — a new revision that drops the USB-A port but is 20 times smaller.
Although the Nintendo Switch interfaces with its dock through a single USB-C port on the bottom (which passes along a video signal to the dock’s HDMI port), users quickly discovered after the console’s launch that they couldn’t replace the dock with the same USB-C to HDMI adapters compatible with smartphones and laptops. Turns out Nintendo had added some extra ‘secret sauce’ hardware that forced the Switch into a monogynous relationship with Nintendo’s dock, and trying other options was likely to brick your console.
Eventually, the dock was re-engineered and some functional replacements were created, but we still saw the occasional horror story about a Switch being bricked through the use of a sketchy third-party USB-C to HDMI adaptor.
Among the alternatives that work quite well, though, is Human Things’ Genki Covert Dock, which we reviewed in 2020 without inadvertently sacrificing a Switch in the process. It wasn’t cheap at $US75 ($104), but it was a seemingly perfect solution for nomadic gamers wanting some big screen Switch action while holded up in a hotel.
Almost two years later, Human Things has redesigned and refined its Genki Covert Dock, making it 20 times smaller than the original version, while adding some new features, and removing others. The Genki Covert Dock Mini now looks like it’s roughly the size of bundled smartphone chargers (a dying breed), and using it is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet, connecting it to a TV with an HDMI cable (not included), and then connecting it to the Switch using an included six-foot USB-C cable.
To make the Covert Dock Mini useful for more than just the Switch, it now supports 4K resolutions at 30 FPS. This means it can be paired with the Valve Steam Deck or a laptop (or a future version of Nintendo’s handheld), but its 20W power output is certainly not enough to keep a computer fully juiced. An upgraded LED on top indicates when the Covert Dock Mini is in charging or dock mode.
Again, the smaller size comes at the cost of the original Covert Dock’s extra USB-A port, which was useful for charging controllers at the same time. The new version has just a single USB-C port in addition to HDMI.
Getting your hands on one of these portable Switch docks might be a bit tricky. Human Things is a big fan of crowdsourcing its creations, and the Genki Covert Dock Mini has been rolled into the same Kickstarter as the company’s recently announced Waveform wireless earbuds. You can pre-order one with a $US50 ($69) contribution ($US25 ($35) cheaper than the original) and delivery is expected sometime in August at the earliest. The usual cautions about Kickstarter apply here as well — the global supply chain issues aren’t resolved yet — but Human Things has already successfully Kickstarted several products now and the bigger question isn’t whether or not the Covert Dock Mini will happen, but when it will actually ship out.