Nintendo Switch marks the debut of console-handheld hybrid
The Nintendo Switch is a console that does a lot of things at once. Like the Wii’s motion controls, or glasses-free 3D Nintendo 3ds, or the experimental second screen of Wii U, The Switch’s innovative hybrid design has helped Nintendo continue its own trail and create something different.
In the three years since its launch, the Nintendo Switch has become a true gaming hit – every holiday season it’s one of the most popular devices around, and as social distancing rules take effect during the coronavirus pandemic, It has become a firm favorite with gamers and non-gamers alike.
A big part of the Nintendo Switch’s success is its hybrid design that has allowed it to bridge the gap between a handheld console and a home console in a completely unique way.
The way the Nintendo Switch combines gaming and gaming at home, pleasing each in its own way, thanks to the team at Nintendo. With its ever-growing library of exclusive first-party games and top-tier third-party titles, the Nintendo Switch is a better proposition than ever.
Whether or not you’ve already made your purchase, you’ll have to agree that the Nintendo Switch is a great idea, something that combined makes the Wii and Wii U attractive to gamers (even if the developers have no idea how to play the game). I have a hard time figuring out how to get the most out of the latter device).
The Nintendo Switch brings with it a central idea that can benefit virtually every game, not just a select few who can use motion controls or a second screen. Who once upon a time didn’t want to pack up their console and take it with them?
Broadly speaking, the Switch does a great job on this hybrid idea. You’ll find it a solid, premium-feeling handheld, which can then flip into docked mode and work more or less as you’d expect of a home console, if and when needed.
Plus, the Nintendo Switch certainly isn’t perfect: Most of its issues are the result of it daring to try and do everything all at once, and that compromise isn’t always perfect.
Those who aren’t sold on its hybridity and just want the classic Nintendo handheld experience will be interested in a compact, lighter alternative: the Nintendo Switch Lite, which delivers the full range of handheld Switch gaming experiences.
Update: we look forward to seeing something Nintendo Switch Deals during the amazon prime day 2021, because it’s often been a good time to save the popular handheld. Make sure you stay tuned to Nerdshala so you don’t miss out on any potential savings June 21-22.
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Nintendo Switch: Price and Release Date
- What is this? Nintendo’s Hybrid Console
- When did it come out? March 3, 2017
- What is its price? $299.99 in the US, £279.99 in the UK, $469.95 in Australia, R6,999 in South Africa
Nintendo Switch: Design
- Three form factors: handheld, console (docked) and tabletop
- Lots of items at risk of being lost
In the box with your shiny new Nintendo Switch you get the main console, two detachable controller sides (Joy-Cons), a grip that enables you to combine these controller parts into a more traditional gamepad, two straps that can make them in two Personal controller, and a dock for plugging the console into your television.
You also get a USB Type-C power cable (with a non-detachable power brick) and an HDMI cable to connect the device to your TV.
You’d be right if you thought this sounds like a lot of stuff: we suspect a lot of Nintendo Switch owners will have lost at least one or two of these within a few months.
We’ve taken to wrapping our Joy-Con straps around our Joy-Con grips to hold everything together, but we’d love some way of attaching them to the console so they don’t go wrong on the end.
It’s a pretty novel (not somewhat complicated) setup, so it’s worth going into each of the different ways to use the console.
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Nintendo Switch: Handheld Mode
- bigger than traditional handheld
- Slightly tight for right hand due to right analog stick
- Left side split D-pad
The first of the Nintendo Switch Mode is Handheld Mode, which is the same form factor as the hardware devices that preceded the Switch.
In this configuration you attach two controller parts (Joy-Cons) to the left and right sides of the screen, then game as much as you can playstation vita.
In fact, the size and shape of the console’s analog sticks make it feel like a modern Vita, though it’s not quite as solid due to the joints between the Joy-Cons and the screen.
On the top of the Nintendo Switch is a slot for a game cartridge, a headphone jack (Bluetooth headphones/headsets are not currently supported), a volume rocker, and a power button.
The bottom of the device is less busy. You’ve got a kickstand for tabletop mode (more on this later), which hides a small microSD slot for expandable storage. Internal storage on the Nintendo Switch is limited to just 32GB, so if you’re planning on downloading games instead of buying them, you’ll want to invest in a Nintendo Switch SD card (up to 2TB of capacity is theoretically supported).
Watch our unboxing video of the Nintendo Switch below.
Detachable Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons have a lot going on. On the right hand side is the classic A, B, X, Y button configuration that Nintendo has turned on and off since the SNES, an analog stick (slightly awkwardly placed below the face buttons) and two shoulder buttons.
There’s a small plus-sized button that serves the equivalent of the Wii U’s ‘Start’ button, and a Home button for accessing the console’s system-level menus.
The Joy-Con on the left has a very similar story, as you’d expect. You have a minus button that serves as the console’s ‘Select’ button, a share button (in selected titles) for taking screenshots and videos, an analog stick, two shoulder-buttons, and most un-Nintendo D. -Pad we’ve ever seen.
Instead of the classic cross D-pad Nintendo has used since the NES, the left Joy-Con is instead a set of four circular buttons that are similar in shape to the face buttons on the right Joy-Con.
This design decision, which seems very strange at first glance, so the left Joy-Con can be used as an individual controller, with the D-pad acting as a face-button in this configuration (again, More on this later).
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Nintendo Switch: Console Mode
- Connects to your TV via an included dock
- The docking process is seamless, and can be done mid-game
The second Nintendo Switch form-factor is Console Mode. You place the body in the included dock, which connects the device to your television—you’re then free to detach the Joy-Cons to control the Switch remotely.
The way the console transfers the viewing experience from its screen to the television is as smooth as it could possibly be, and you don’t even need to pause your game. Everything happens in real time.
Taking apart the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons can be a little awkward, of course: It’s done by holding the small buttons on their backs and sliding the controllers up.
The TV dock is roughly the same size as the central part of the Nintendo Switch. On the back you’ve got a USB Type-C port that powers the console, an HDMI port for connecting to your television, and a USB Type-A port.
There are another two USB ports on the left side of the console, used primarily for charging your Switch controllers as you play wirelessly (more on this in a moment).
If you want to use the Nintendo Switch with multiple TVs throughout your home, you can purchase additional docks, which make it easy to transition from one screen to the next in a plug-and-play style.
Nintendo Switch: Tabletop Mode
- The screen can also be detached and placed on a table
- Great for two-player gaming, but four players is a push on the console’s small screen
The ultimate form factor for the Nintendo Switch is what Nintendo calls ‘Tabletop Mode’. Using a kickstand attached to the rear of the screen, you can prop the console up on a table and then detach the Joy-Cons for some semi-portable gaming.
In theory, this is perfect for long trips on public transport where you have a tray table to hold the console; In fact, we found it a slightly mixed experience.
We like being able to use the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons in the Grip rather than attaching them to the console — the Grip provides enough extra plastic to make the controllers more comfortable in the hands, and keeps the console slightly further away from the mean. that your sitting posture may be too natural.
Tabletop mode is also great for multiplayer on Switch. Separating both Joy-Cons to allow two people to play against each other is a pleasure: It makes the Nintendo Switch perfect for hanging out at small gatherings where you already have access to a multiplayer session. Everything needed will be there.
However, there are a few problems that keep the console from fully capitalizing on this interesting tabletop mod.
The first is the kickstand. While it’s rubberized, which means the Switch doesn’t slide around, it only supports the console at a single height: if your tray table is a little too close to you there’s no ability to elevate the console so that it’s on your side. Be more straight in front, and instead you’ll be glued to the screen with your chest pointing up…