The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid game console that allows you to play games at home and on the go. But how do you like that combination? In this review, we take a detailed look at Nintendo’s latest.
Nintendo announced in April 2016 that the Nintendo Switch would be launched on March 3, 2017. The platform should provide us with a whole new gaming experience. Not only can we use this game console at home: as soon as we want to go out, we can easily remove it from its dock to continue gaming on the go. In this review, we take a detailed look at the Nintendo Switch, which is still difficult to obtain in stores even more than two months after its release.
Nintendo has ensured that you already have two Joy-Cons (controllers) when purchasing the Nintendo Switch. Furthermore, you will of course encounter the Nintendo Switch tablet and the Nintendo Switch holder in the box. This holder, also called the dock, is the place where you place the device when you want to play games on the television. You will also find two wristbands for the Joy-Cons and a Joy-Con holder in the box. As soon as you slide the Joy-Cons into that holder, you create a kind of controller. There is also an HDMI and power cable and booklets available. There is 32 GB of storage space built into the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch – The design
The Nintendo Switch has a very unique design and the device is mainly due to the fact that you can not only use the game console on the TV. You can also choose to use it as a handheld or to put it on the table, so that you can work with a friend in a multiplayer game. There is a holder on the back of the Switch, with which you can place it on the table at a certain angle. The angle is not ideal, but it is enough to achieve its goal.
The tablet is the most important part of the Switch. It has a 6.2 ″ screen and weighs about 300 grams. You can slide Joy-Cons on that tablet. With the standard package of the Nintendo Switch you can choose two gray Joy-Cons or a version with one neon red and a neon blue controller. Those controllers feel much less plastic than we were used to with the Nintendo Wii. All other parts, including the tablet and the dock, are plain gray. Nintendo has made no distinction in this.
It is striking that Nintendo has chosen to have the USB-type-c port, with which you can charge the console on the go, at the bottom. That’s easy if you put the console in the holder and want to play games on the TV – but if you’re gaming on the tablet and have it on the table, you can’t charge it. There will probably be a reason behind it, but in some cases this creates some uncomfortable situations. It is therefore not possible to charge the Switch when you have put the tablet down.
On top we find the on / off button and the volume buttons. Especially the volume buttons are easily accessible and protrude somewhat. The on / off button is more in the edge of the Switch, so you would also be less likely to accidentally press it. On the right side is the fan, which can sometimes make a lot of noise, as well as the opening for the game cartridges. It opens with a little effort. The cover itself sometimes gets in the way when changing the cartridge, but it is always closed properly.
When purchasing the Nintendo Switch, you automatically receive two Joy-Cons. The design is very different from what we were used to in the past and that also immediately results in other functionalities. For example, it is possible to make one large controller from the two Joy-Cons or use the two controllers separately for multiplayer use, for example. The controllers weigh about fifty grams each and are fitted with a kind of rails on the side. This allows you to easily attach the Joy-Cons to the Switch.
Both controllers have an analog bat and four action buttons. The Joy-Con controller with the minus button also has a button for taking screenshots (similar to the Share button on the PlayStation 4 controller). The other controller, with the plus on the top, has the home button, which takes you directly back to the main menu. There are also two shoulder buttons at the place where the rails are. You operate it with your fingertips – that takes some getting used to and causes less cramping than expected.
Nintendo Switch – In use
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile device. Precisely because you can use it in three ways, it has become a different device than was already on the market in recent years. For example, Sony opted for a PlayStation and a PSP (PlayStation Portable), but the company did not go so far as to combine the portable with gaming on the television. This is different with the Nintendo Switch. Would you like to work on a big statue? Then click the tablet into its dock and take the Joy-Cons in your hands. Don’t have a TV at your disposal for a while? Then you can grab the tablet and slide the Joy-Cons on it. If you prefer to play with someone else for a while, you come back to the tabletop mode.
From the first day that the Nintendo Switch was in the shops, there were also many reports in the media about problems with the game console. For example, there were complaints about the left Joy-Con controller that would not always respond. We had no problems with this while playing, not even in the early days of the launch of the Switch. What we had to watch out for is that the Switch would not be completely damaged in no time.
As soon as you want to charge it in the dock, it is important to carefully insert the tablet. After all, there is no protection on the place where you put the screen of the tablet. To prevent scratches, we quickly purchased a screen protector.
When you turn on the Nintendo Switch, the real work begins. You can get started with settings and the e-Shop, and of course start up the software you want to play. Once in such a game, and especially in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , you get a little impressed. The image quality is very neat, especially on the tablet screen.
What is also striking is that the Switch responds very quickly. You will notice this when you switch from tablet screen to TV. Switching is necessary every now and then. Although you can play fine in the train, for example, you notice that the screen of the tablet is a bit too small to be able to see everything properly. You can’t game for a long time on one battery charge. At Zelda, about three hours is the maximum. In other games this is roughly six hours.
Since Nintendo has taken a new step with the Joy-Cons, we were very curious how the controllers would fit in the hand when gaming. In all the positions in which we used them, we never had any complaints. As soon as you attach them to the Switch, which is very simple due to the rails mechanism, it is like walking around with a handheld. All buttons are fine to use in that position. When you start using the Joy-Cons for multiplayer use, they turn out to be very small. After all, you only have one Joy-Con in your hands and you have to look carefully at how you position both hands. But once you start playing, you have long forgotten that.
Nintendo Switch – the games
A major drawback we encountered with the Nintendo Switch is still the game selection. Although Nintendo is now gradually expanding the game offer with new titles, this offer was certainly not to write home about just after the release. The biggest titles that were ready from day one were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , Snipperclips and 1-2 Switch . The former is well worth it, but we are very much looking forward to more new titles.
Fortunately, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has now been released and Splatoon 2 will follow in the future . In any case, you are not buying the Switch now because of the impressive range of games.
In terms of graphics, the Nintendo Switch is still inferior to consoles like the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but the Nintendo Wii U is still beaten. The company chose the Nvidia Tegra chip in its latest game consoles. This shows that Nintendo has mainly focused on developing a game console that can be used in two ways: as a game console at home and on the road. On the way you will arrive at the tablet with a screen resolution of 720p. On a television, the resolution is 1080p. Although a difference on paper, it is not really noticeable in practice. Playing on the tablet even had our preference every now and then in terms of graphics.
Nintendo Switch – conclusion
All in all, we are positive after testing the Nintendo Switch. The fact that a company has finally chosen to combine portable and TV gaming, yields a unique game console with a unique design and therefore a unique playing experience. It ensures that you can use the Switch anytime, anywhere, although of course you do lose something compared to, for example, a PlayStation 4. Hardcore gamers may not immediately end up with the Switch, but we were about the quality of the games. and especially on the tablet screen, certainly not dissatisfied. The fact that the game console when purchased because of its two Joy-Cons is also good for multiplayer games is nice. Those controllers also lie comfortably in the hand and it is ideal that you can choose how you actually want to use them.
Yet we also ran into a number of drawbacks. For example, the game range has been very limited to date, although this is something we already know that will be expanded further in the coming months. In addition, the Switch is still very difficult to deliver, so interested parties have to have a lot of patience. On those two points, you may wonder if Nintendo didn’t launch its Switch too early. The most annoying point, however, is the fact that taking the tablet in and out of the dock can damage the screen. Nintendo really should have provided protection here. The battery could also have lasted a bit longer for a device that is partly aimed at outdoor use.
Price and availability
It is quite a challenge to find the device in stores even more than two months after the release of the Nintendo Switch. The game console is also often sold out at web shops. It is therefore a matter of waiting for a new load to arrive. The Nintendo Switch, if available, is sold for an amount of 329 euros.
- Multiplayer out of the box
- Can be used everywhere and quickly
- Unique design
- Few games
- Dock can damage screen
- Battery life
Read more about Nintendo Switch here.