C-Force – Switch dongle

C-Force – Switch dongle

It might be a bit overdue but what we’re looking at today is C-Force, formerly known as Switch-Con on Kickstarter. For quick reference; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/switch-con/switch-con-worlds-first-hdmi-hub-for-switch-and-s8 

Why C-Force?

Well frankly we where looking for a portable dock solution as the official Nintendo Switch dock itself still is a bit chunky. In short we needed a device capable of powering the Nintendo Switch and being able to output HDMI in a small form factor.

What is C-Force?

C-Force It’s a USB-C dongle that gives you the following ports and features:

  • 2x USB-C 3.1 ports (alt-mode is not supported on these, so no cascading display outputs)
  • 2x USB-A 3.1 ports
  • 1x HDMI, supporting 2160p at 30Hz or 1080p at 60Hz (and will do 1920×1200 at 60Hz without issue)
  • 1x USB-C integrated cable to connect to your Nintendo Switch or USB-C equipped device.
  • 1x USB-C input to provide power delivery of up to 100W (supporting full power to a 15″ MacBook * Pro).

How C-Force became reality

The project launched on Kickstarter under the brand Switch-Con.

The internet was at controversy and claimed that the adapters were no more then rebranded AND marked-up C-Force CF001. The project was later suspended temporarily and re-emerged, branded as C-Force like the Internet more or less originally suspected.

Compared to a Switch dock, you’re getting the capability of using this with other devices and it’ll fit neatly into whatever bag you’re likely carrying – except, you’ll still need to carry a power adapter. If you need an HDMI adapter for a laptop, for example, the C-Force may suit your needs perfectly as your new dongle will do double duty.

About the packaging

C-Force box We knew it was going to come from China so when we received our unit  we where not that suprised that it was only supplied with a Chinese-only manual.

Included as part of the manual is a tearaway feedback sheet with some blank lines, or at least that’s our assumption, because the whole thing is in Chinese as well.

The box it comes in feels like it’s more than twice the size than it needs to be, however perhaps they’ve packaged it this way to avoid exceeding the bend radius of the cable that’s attached to the dongle.

Most writing on the box is in Chinese, too. But all in all packaging is not of big relevance.

Build and design

The device seems reasonably well made but simply can not be compared to the standard of both Nintendo’s official accessories and comparable first-party products from other manufacturers like Hori. The lettering above the ports seems a little off and hard to read; the construction isn’t quite flush and there were some marks on the black plastic between the USB-A ports.

The slimline cable concerns us a little and may be the first to fail – and as it’s not replaceable, will be relegated to landfill if it does fail.

The HDMI connector was a little stiff – it was an extremely snug fit when connecting the cable to the unit. The USB-C sockets seem to hold cables well.

Functionality

C-Force connected It works out of the box basically.

When powered with the correct 15V power adapter (required for the HDMI output to be activated by the Switch), it works exactly like you’d expect a dock to work. The Switch will not provide HDMI output on battery or at least it seems limited to do so at this point.

One pleasant surprise is that this will work with all your USB-C devices undocked – including the Ethernet adapter, so if you have a requirement to play a game handheld on a wired LAN, C-Force will permit that to happen.

Now for some small bummers

Ever since the 4.0 update issued by Nintendo , C-Force needs to reconnected before it will actually correctly function. In the pas that was not an issue. Is it a downside, sure but still it works and during gameplay sessions you have no issue or anything.

Video to explain

video

Yeah that is actually what to do according to support, not the most elegant solution in the world but fine.

Audio issues

We have also noted occassions where the C-Force setup would lack some audio, we have not retested with different HDMI cables. But in for instance FIFA 18 in the Nintendo Switch with the C-Force connected the audio commentary can not be heared at all.

But beside those two things the experience with the C-Force has been as much as we expected from it. In the future we might be looking for a more robust solution, which also takes care fo the power adapter requirement.

Final Score
  • 65%
    Packaging - 65%
  • 85%
    Design - 85%
  • 90%
    Portability - 90%
  • 92%
    Connections - 92%
  • 80%
    Performance - 80%
  • 70%
    Support - 70%
80%

Samenvatting

If you’re after portability, then the C-Force does the trick just fine. It’s small, it can handle all the needed. Just bring a power adapter with you (or like we do  an Imuto 30000 mah powerbank, yeah we know that will keep us busy for quite some time)

Also if you’re after a multi-port USB adapter with 100W of power delivery support and an HDMI output for a MacBook Pro, then you’re also in luck.

Otherwise, the official Nintendo Switch dock provides both an elegant and well-built solution that may be more suitable under some circumstances so the recommendation is to stick with the Nintendo solution unless the dongle form factor is more suited to your purposes (we would assume mostly portability, as that was also our purchase reason)

Sadly with the recent updates the C-Force is not without it’s flaws but it mostly gets the job done.