There’s just something about going wireless while gaming, right? There’s a simplicity in just lying down on the sofa, Bluetooth buds plugged in your ears while your Switch transmits the audio wirelessly into your hearing holes. But if you want to have Nintendo Switch wireless audio, there’s a huge caveat – you need an adapter like the Skull & Co. AudioStick.
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t support Bluetooth audio, and if you have one of those fancy true wireless earbuds – I use the Redmi Airdots S myself – they’re going to be pretty useless, unless you use a Bluetooth transmitter for your portable console.
I wasn’t really fussy with gaming audio, especially with the Nintendo Switch. I used to just plug in my IEMs, boot up a game, and spend a couple of hours immersed in Hyrule or whatever. Besides, wired audio is always the best option so you don’t have to worry about interference and lag.
There’s Quite A Few Options
The Skull & Co. AudioStick isn’t the first Bluetooth audio transmitter for the Switch: there’s the Genki Audio Adapter and the Gulikit Route as well. And by all accounts, they’re tried and true options that work well.
So why’d I go for the new AudioStick over the others? Pretty simple – I’m using a Skull & Co. case, and apparently the Gulikit transmitters don’t fit well with the case, and the Genki is, well, bulky and expensive. So the moment it became locally available, I took a risk and bought one.
What’s In The Box?
I’d always recommend the Skull & Co. grip to any Nintendo Switch owner, so I knew I wasn’t going to get a bad product. And I knew I was in for a good time when I unboxed the AudioStick:
Skull & Co took into consideration if you’re using the AudioStick on a full-sized Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and if you’re using it with or without a case. Heck, they’ve even included a couple of spacers if you want to use it instead on your computer. The AudioStick comes with:
- 1x AudioStick
- 1x USB A-C Cable
- 1x SWITCH Spacer
- 1x SWITCH Lite Spacer
- 1x Flat Spacer
Setting up the AudioStick is easy as well – just plug it into the Switch, put your Bluetooth receiver into pairing mode, and press one of the two buttons on the AudioStick. They’ll pair quite nicely.
How Does It Sound? Is There Lag?
Sound quality and latency depends of course on the Bluetooth protocol that’s compatible with your headphones. Fortunately the AudioStick comes with HFP, HSP, A2DP, AVRCP, APTX, and APTX-LL. Make sure that you have either Bluetooth 5.0, APTX, or APTX-LL so you can get the best audio quality with minimal lag. My AirDots have terrible lag, even though it’s on Bluetooth 5.0, unless I activate the low-latency mode built into them. So if you’re suffering from massive latency, it’s probably not the AudioStick – you might be using an older receiver with a protocol that doesn’t take latency into consideration.
Using the AudioStick with the AirDots has been a great time for me – I generally don’t mind using headphones with wires, but the Switch’s amp has been anemic, and wired headphones haven’t been fun because they get in the way when I try to get past the yet another stage in my latest Hades run. It also comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter so you can use the AudioStick when your Switch is docked, or if you want to use it on a computer without a USB-C port.
If it sounds like I haven’t been blown away by the Skull & Co. AudioStick, it’s because I haven’t. It’s merely an audio transmitter that fits so well in my gaming set up, and lets me have a couple of hours of uninterrupted gameplay while I can block out the world.
It’s not a necessity for the Nintendo Switch, unlike Skull & Co.’s GripCase, and there’s a plethora of other perfectly useable options so you’re actually spoilt for choice. It’s just one perfectly acceptable option in a set of perfectly acceptable products. If you like the compact size of the Skull & Co. AudioStick, sure, go for it.