After having spent the past week with the Nintendo Switch, it’s hard not to love what Nintendo is doing. I also some gripes with the Switch and I still don’t feel confident enough recommending the Nintendo Switch just yet.
With a day to go before launch, Nintendo is ramping up to what is going to be a huge week for Nintendo.
The Nintendo Switch is the seventh home console for and is preceded by the Nintendo Wii U – which launched on November 18, 2012, bringing to the market another innovative idea from the iconic Japanese company.
It’s also hard not to think of Switch as the replacement for the Wii U, Nintendo even went on to discontinue production on the Wii U shortly after announcing then Nintendo Switch.
While the Switch isn’t as powerful as anything else on the market – it’s got certain Nintendo charm that cannot be replicated.
Note: While this isn’t a final review of the Nintendo Switch, which it will be once the servers are online and the eShop is available, this is more of a first impression on my own time, away from timed demos and showcases.
What’s in The Box?
Opening the packaging for the Nintendo Switch is minimal, something I greatly appreciate. Inside is the console itself, two Joy-Cons, wrist straps, the Joy-Con grip, the dock, an HDMI cable, and power cable. In minutes you’re ready to go and set up the console.
Within ten minutes from opening the box to docking the console to the included dock, I was on my way and ready to begin my first steps with the Switch. Plug the cables into the dock and then into your TV and continue from there.
The dock for the Switch bumps up the resolution from 720p in handheld mode to can render up to 1080p when docked and plugged into your TV and charges the tablet while you’re on the couch. If you want to play on your television, the included dock acts as the middleman for you to play at home by sending a signal to your TV. It is sleek to look at but comes off as empty leaving much to be desired.
One thing that I love about Nintendo is the quality of all their systems. The Switch feels like a really expensive piece of tech, holding the console in your hands feels good. The tablet’s screen is 6.2” and is a multitouch display with a resolution of 1280×820 – with a pixel density of 236.87 – leaving a sharp, bright image.
Located on the back of the console is kickstand that props up the Switch vertically while undocked but using the issue I found was that the kickstand itself is flimsy leaving me weary to actually use it.
A caveat for those who play on the go or undocked at home, the charging port is located at the bottom of the Switch, so if you want to play while the console is charging, you can’t use it with the kickstand open as the cord becomes an obstacle.
The controllers for the Nintendo Switch are called Joy-Cons and serve up multiple ways to enjoy gaming. Separately, they serve as motion controllers and allow for multiplayer easily; together they serve as your controller and the included grip gives you a serviceable way to play video games.
As for the controllers, Joy-Con comes off as minimalistic to me, they are also some of the most creative designs for a controller I’ve used. The famous click the Switch is known for is soundly satisfying and are instantly recognized and ready to go once locked into place.
I did experience the Joy-Con desync issue once; it was momentary but hasn’t returned in the multiple hours I’ve spent with the Nintendo Switch. Luckily for myself, this wasn’t during a crucial moment, leaving me vulnerable to attack. Word around the internet and the is this is due to blocking the signal from console to controller, but nothing official as of this posting of the review.
A cause for annoyance to be found with the Joy-Con grip attachment is how close the shoulder buttons are, these buttons leave much to be desired and I still find the attachment leaving me unsatisfied with how I’m playing Breath of the Wild.
Battery life is estimated at around 20 hours and takes roughly three hours to charge. By comparison, the average battery life with most controllers these days is between three to five hours of battery life before needing to be plugged in to charge.
Connected to the TV
By docking the Switch and playing on your television, the process from handheld to TV is quick, like really quick. I had the system ready to go before I even swapped inputs on my television; I also tested it out by switching the input first then docking and was pleasantly surprised at how snappy it connected.
Undocking works just as smooth and removing the Switch from the cradle allowed me to continue without having to do anything.
On the go
I decided to brave the uneasiness of traveling with a new device so soon after receiving it by bringing the Switch to the office with me. I spent some time during my lunch playing Zelda and 1-2 Switch and by the end of our play session, we had around an hour and a half left of battery before needing to be charged. On average, expect to get three-four hours of play time while on the go.
The screen stands out and at home, at a friends home, or at work during a break, the screen looked good, leaving the portable route more desirable because of the fidelity produced on the screen. Granted, while Breath of the Wild is only 900p docked, it also is blown up on my screen.
Is this something you should buy?
As it stands, the Switch is Nintendo’s most ambitious console to date, there’s genuine charm to be found here. The console is a high concept system and feels downright futuristic in how it executes how the Switch plays.
That being said, I don’t find the Switch to be a fully realized product yet; Nintendo has the parts in place to make their newest console a success but is Nintendo capable of accomplishing that? It is too early to tell whether or not it will be a failure but this remains up to Nintendo to do right by their product.
There’s also a lot of information Nintendo has kept off the table and out of public knowledge, the Wii U suffered from a lack of games because developers wanted no part of the console, leaving the Wii U to fade away unwanted. With the Switch, we are seeing developers back on board, even going so far as to be excited by what Nintendo is putting out this time around.
The launch library is small, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the only must-have title right now, I’ve played many hours of Breath of the Wild at this point, I often find myself gravitating back to the open-world adventure, frequently swapping cartridges so I can jump in again.
With new hardware it’s hard to gauge the levels of success this early, a console is only as good as it’s library but playing a full-fledged Zelda title in my hands and on my TV? That’s an experience I’ve waited all my life for; this is the future of gaming and Nintendo really needs to nourish these ideas for the Switch to succeed.
The hype behind the Nintendo is also hard to ignore and I wouldn’t blame you for buying one because of how well Nintendo has marketed their system.