Nintendo launched the Nintendo Switch in the beginning of 2017. The hardware is a little over two years old and it is time to take a closer look at the current condition of this best-selling hybrid console. Has the Nintendo Switch delivered on its promises and realised the expectations of both a traditional and portable console?
The concept behind the system is refreshing. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console that can be used as both a stationary and portable device. Without any effort, you start a session in handheld mode and play until you want to continue the same adventure on a larger screen.
Docked or undocked mode, that’s the question
Whether or not you use the Nintendo Switch in handheld or docked mode, you will certainly have a good time playing the latest games of third party developers and exclusives. The Nintendo Switch does give you the best of both worlds and offers a more traditional console and handheld experience in one convenient package.
Hardware and power consumption
Hardware wise, the Nintendo Switch is a compact tablet with a 6.2-inch touchscreen and controllers attached on both sides. This makes it more convenient to use the console in handheld mode. Longer game sessions feel comfortable, even though the screen is relatively small compared to modern smartphones and tablets standards.
Look and feel is not the sole strong point. The hardware inside the device is nothing less than a Nvidia Tegra X1-processor. This makes the device power efficient and delivers the performance required to play even the most recent games, with a few compromises here and there. According to Nintendo, the battery life will range from two-and-a-half hours up to six hours, depending on the requirements of the games being played.
The limited 32 GB of internal storage, on the other hand, is a downside. If you plan on downloading multiple games, you will need to insert a separate micro SD card into the extension slot to further expand the existing internal storage.
A few scratches on the surface
The dock included with the Nintendo Switch works fine and offers a completely different experience compared to playing a game in handheld mode. Unfortunately, the dock is large and covers the entire screen of the device. This might result in scratches when switching regularly between docked and handheld mode.
In the end, it is definitely worth using the Nintendo Switch in docked mode. Playing a game on a large television is a completely different experience and makes local multiplayer games even more enjoyable. This docked mode brings a more traditional console experience to your living room.
Ports of existing games
The pre-launch concerns about the potentially limited library of games and interest of third party developers are replaced by a long list of exciting news and a flood of games, some of it new, some of it ported versions of titles from other consoles.
Ports such as Doom and Diablo 3 are running relatively fluent on the Nintendo Switch, but at a cost. Developers lower the resolutions and graphics quality of their games to deliver a smooth gameplay experience. This is most noticeable in handheld mode. In docked mode, the resolution of games is slightly higher.
It is incredible to see these hardware intensive titles arrive on a portable system, unfortunately the lower resolution makes the gameplay experience a bit troublesome. The screen itself looks great in terms of image quality and colour accuracy, but the hardware is not powerful enough to play the latest games.
Of course, talking about the gaming experience does not tell the entire story. A lot of users expect support for services such as Netflix or YouTube. At the time of writing, the Nintendo Switch only supports an official YouTube app.
As an entertainment system, the available selection of music and video streaming application is too limited to be worth a purchase. The Nintendo Switch does not even have an internet browser, nor support for Netflix or Spotify.
Nintendo Online and voice chat
The Nintendo Switch is clearly not an entertainment system, it is a video game console. A year after its initial launch, Nintendo introduced Nintendo Switch Online, an online service to play multiplayer games with friends over the internet.
Nintendo Switch Online requires the purchase of a monthly subscription, but costs less than the online service of the other available consoles. Unfortunately, some simple features such as voice chat are not supported on the Nintendo Switch. To talk to your friends, you need to download a separate application on your smartphone.
This Nintendo Switch Online app improves the multiplayer experience, but these features should be included in the software of the console itself. An app is useful, but meant as an additional method to interact with friends.
The Nintendo Switch is clearly not an entertainment system, but a nearly perfect console. The device delivers a good gameplay experience in both docked and handheld mode and brings friends together for hours of entertainment.
Whether or not you plan to explore Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild, the Nintendo Switch is still worth your time, even if you buy one two years after its release. The exclusive titles are some of the best local multiplayer games on the market.
A hybrid console to play the best local multiplayer games of this generation on your television at home or in handheld mode.
Retail price: 319,00 euros
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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from the Nintendo Switch, a video game console developed and produced by Nintendo. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.