Nintendo Switch Review
Another small note, no expandable 1920 x 1080 screens to drool over, because I'm saving the in-game screenshots for my Zelda review later this week. For now, please accept photos of us playing 1-2 Switch in the constraints of my flat.
The Nintendo Switch is an oddity, a console the likes of which we've never seen that's designed to work as a handheld device, under-TV console and everything in-between. As a result, it's hard to make a value judgement on the Nintendo Switch based on facts and figures.
It isn't as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One, and it's not as simple as working out if you should upgrade from Nintendo's DS handheld or Wii U console, but as is Nintendo's way, it has created something with the Switch that is more than a list of specifications - which we've included anyway - and instead comes down to how you want to use it. With this in mind, below you'll find some general thoughts and feelings based on using the Nintendo Switch in a few different situations.
I'm going to refer to several modes here. Let's establish shorthand of what the console is capable of in each mode.
Handheld mode: Switch console mobile, with the Joy-Con controllers affixed to the side of the console.
TV mode: This has the console docked. You can use a Pro Controller, use the Joy-Con controllers separately or slot them into a grip (charging or otherwise) and play it remotely. Here, the console will be slightly more powerful and will upscale to 1080p, although it's still outputting at 720p
Portable Mode: In portable mode, you can flip out the kickstand on the back of the tablet, and then play with any controller you want, separate from the device.
The Switch boasts this in its main tablet. The Joy-Con controllers have a bunch of other technical gubbins, but let's focus on the power of the console.
-Customised Nvidia T1 Tegra chip
-6.2-inch, 1280 × 720 resolution, multi-touch LCD screen
-32GB storage (upgradable to 2 terabytes using microSDHC or microSDXC card)
-4,310mAh lithium-ion battery
-802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
-USB Type-C charge port
-3x USB ports
-3.5mm audio jack
Some notable strengths here include the Switch's battery, which is humongous and should give you a couple of hours of play on a demanding game. Nintendo claims you can play around 2.5 hours of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in handheld mode before you've got to charge. Over the case of 4-5 tests I've found it to sit firmly between 2-3 hours.
The internal storage is terrible, although fitting a microSDHC card is simple, with a kickstand on the back of the device flipping out to reveal the slot. Open it up, slot in your card and you've got a much-improved capacity. I got a compatible 200GB card for around £70 in a sale, but if you've just dropped cash on the console, this could sting.
Another issue is the lack of an Ethernet port, with internet available only via WiFi. It's also doesn't seem to work with Bluetooth headphones, with no option to pair a headset with the console. This is a pain if, like me, you travel with a pair of Bluetooth headphones to avoid getting strangled by headphone wires on trains and planes. It's also an issue if you want to play in TV mode with the console docked, because you'll have to sit within the range of your cables, which quickly became annoying.
By and large though, it performs decently in all of its situations, with slightly better performance when docked onto the TV. In all modes, it uses the same hyper-clean UI, and although the eShop commits the heinous crime of not listing the games by name and instead showing merely a screenshot of them, everything else to do with the Switch speaks volumes of the design, care and polish lavished on the product.