Waterfield Pouch for the Steam Deck

The Waterfield Pouch for the Steam Deck is a top-tier accessory that offers both style and functionality. Whether you're a dedicated gamer or someone who appreciates quality craftsmanship, this case is sure to impress with its durability, versatility, and understated elegance.
  • Premium Quality Build
  • Elegant Design
  • Versatile Storage
  • Compatible with all Joy-Cons
  • Protective without Bulk
  • Aesthetically Discreet
  • Shallow Front Pocket
Looks and Quality - 10
Protection and Build Quality - 9
Main Compartment Design - 10
Front Compartment Functionality - 8
Joy-Con Compatibility - 10

You’ve finally traded in your old OEM joy-cons for a pair of larger, comfier, and more functional third-party joy-cons for your Nintendo Switch. They’re a game-changer, right? But with those new joy-cons, your Switch has bulked up, making it a tight squeeze in your old case. And if you’re anything like me, a case is a must-have for taking your handheld console on the go.

That’s where I found myself. After snagging three sets of third-party joy-cons for review, I quickly realized I wasn’t going back to the OEM ones. But with the new joy-cons came the need for a new case. I reached out to Waterfield Designs, explained my situation, and asked if they had any recommendations or if one of their Steam Deck cases might do the trick. They suggested trying out the Waterfield Pouch for the Steam Deck and kindly sent one over.

Given this setup, this review will be a bit different from my other case reviews. I’ll give you a quick tour of the case and then dive into how it fares with three different sizes of third-party joy-cons. Hopefully, this gives you a good sense of whether this case could fit your needs.

Looks and Quality

This marks my sixth Waterfield case, dating back to my first purchase of a CitySlicker for my 3DS about 15 years ago. Right from the start, I sensed something special about it, recognizing that this company had a distinct vision. Quality reigns supreme, evident in every Waterfield case, setting a standard unmatched by others.

One of the highlights of owning a Waterfield case is the array of materials and styles available. For the pouch, you can choose from waxed canvas (my personal favorite), sleek black ballistic, or vibrant forza options in blue, green, or red. Each color exudes its own appeal. What I appreciate most about these cases is their subtle design, devoid of any conspicuous “gamer” branding. They blend seamlessly and often prompt the intriguing question, “What’s that?” from curious onlookers.

Protection and Build Quality

In simple terms, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-constructed case anywhere, full stop. This isn’t just a case for your handheld gaming device; it’s built like a rugged hiking pack. The stitching is robust and uniform, the zippers are top-notch YKK-brand, ensuring reliable performance throughout the case’s lifespan. The premium leather ages gracefully, enhancing the case’s aesthetic appeal over time.

When it comes to protection, opinions may diverge based on individual preferences. This pouch may raise concerns for some, especially if you prioritize heavy-duty protection. It’s worth noting that while this case is exceptionally crafted, it lacks the rigid, crush-proof qualities of a vault-style case. I wouldn’t toss this case into a suitcase and check it during travel. However, if you seek a lightweight, elegant case that safeguards your console against scratches and minor bumps discreetly, without broadcasting your possession of a Switch or Steam Deck, then this is the ideal choice.

Waterfield Pouch Tour: Main Compartment

The main compartment of this pouch-style case is precisely what you’d anticipate. What I particularly like is that the zipper extends around the side, not just the top. This design feature enables you to widen the main compartment, avoiding any contact with the zipper teeth when inserting or removing your console. Additionally, there’s a well-padded pouch on the backside of the console compartment. This area is ideal for storing a small power bank, a compact cartridge case, or a pair of earbuds.

Waterfield Pouch Tour: Front Compartment

At the front of the case, there’s a zipper that spans the entire length, granting access to another storage compartment. Inside, you’ll find a 3″ by 5″ stitched-in pocket. While this pocket is shallow, it’s perfect for stashing loose items like memory cards, cash, business cards, or receipts. I experimented with fitting my earbuds in it, and although they fit snugly, their presence is noticeable when carrying the case. Considering its size, I believe ultra-slim cartridge cases designed to hold 5-6 games would be the optimal use for this compartment.

The Joy-Cons

In this review, I tested three different joy-cons of varying sizes. The DOYOKY RGB joy-cons represent the most common size for third-party joy-cons, comparable to the BINBOK or typical medium-sized ergonomic joy-cons. The MOBAPAD M6 HD joy-cons are slightly narrower, while the NYXI Hyperion Pro joy-cons are slightly wider, sharing similar dimensions with the Hori Split Pad Pro joy-cons.

The Fit

In my testing, all three joy-cons performed admirably with the Waterfield Pouch for the Steam Deck. The MOBAPAD offered the most lateral wiggle room, while the NYXI Hyperion Pro provided the least. Despite the snug fit, the Waterfield Pouch accommodated all three joy-cons comfortably, allowing sufficient space for the joysticks. While the front interior of the case made contact with the joysticks, they weren’t depressed unless pressure was applied to the front of the case.

Additionally, there was approximately an inch of room between the top of the console and the top of the case with all three joy-cons. While this wasn’t problematic, I discovered a simple enhancement that significantly improved the case’s functionality. Placing a rolled-up 10″ by 10″ hand towel at the bottom of the pouch elevated the Switch slightly and provided added rigidity, enhancing comfort during transport. I suggest Waterfield consider offering a small 10″ piece of foam padding wrapped in the same material as the case’s interior, which users can add or remove as needed. This addition would broaden the case’s appeal and usability, especially for larger consoles or extended configurations. Overall, while the case functions well in its current state and will serve as my new Switch case, implementing this enhancement could further elevate its functionality and marketability.

Final Thoughts

My favorite set-up: The Waterfield Pouch, MOBAPAD M6 HD Joy-Cons, and Skull & Co convex caps

After extensively using the Waterfield Pouch for the Steam Deck over the past two weeks, I can confidently say it’s a standout accessory for gamers seeking both style and functionality. Whether you’re carrying your Steam Deck or your Nintendo Switch with any third-party joy-cons, this case proves to be a versatile and reliable option. In my opinion, if you have any kind of larger third-party joy-cons, this case should be your top choice for serving as both your Steam Deck and Switch case.

One of the most compelling aspects of this case is its ability to keep your device safe and secure during travel. The well-padded compartments provide ample protection without compromising on portability. Throughout my testing, my Switch remained completely scratch-free, assuring me of the case’s protective capabilities.

However, beyond its protective features, what truly sets this case apart is its aesthetics. Unlike traditional gaming cases that scream “video game console,” the Waterfield Pouch maintains a discreet and sophisticated look. Its sleek design and choice of materials make it versatile enough to blend seamlessly into any setting. For more information on this and other amazing WaterField products, be sure to visit their website. To see more of our accessory reviews, check out our Handheld Gaming Community Accessory Review page.

Written by
Jim's first handheld gaming device was an original Gameboy, purchased with Super Mario Land and Tetris.

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