Nintendo Switch is among all gaming devices and platforms – whether handheld or conventional
it was the Nintendo Switch that helped Nintendo after disappointing results with the Wii U,
and since the launch of that first in 2017,
we have seen several revised versions of it improved on the market.
It added improvements like battery life,
including the Nintendo Switch Lite, which was designed for pure manual use.
Contents of the box
The device comes in a compact rectangular carton box,
which includes the main Nintendo Switch, with two control handle blocks,
as well as the docking station, as shown in the top and bottom of the box.
On one side of the box, you’ll see photos of a device that shows it in multiple games or use modes.
By opening the box, you will have a flat piece of cardboard in front of you, and as soon as you remove it,
you will immediately see both the control handle – left and right
according to the color that you chose for the device, of course,
in addition to the main Nintendo Switch block, and these pieces are of course covered in plastic bags.
Otherwise, the case includes a platform AC adapter, with an HDMI cable to connect the device to the TV,
as well as two Joy-Con Controller Grip attachments attached to the wrist straps, and, of course, a instruction manual.
Nintendo Switch Battery life and portability
The original Switch has a battery life of 2.5 to 6 hours, and its lifespan is dependent on how demanding the game you’re playing is.
A game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,
for instance, leans heavier on the console’s resources so the battery will last about 3 hours,
even less if you’re playing at full brightness.
All this to say, it won’t last through most flights, but it’s fine for the commute to work.
For a system that touts portability, this is disappointing.
While both the Nintendo 3DS and the PS Vita last between three to five hours,
Nintendo could’ve easily used the original Switch as an opportunity to improve on the standard.
Luckily, a new version of the Switch with improved battery life arrived in 2019.
The updated console, which has a new chip layout and a revised Tegra X1 processor, drastically improves on the original Switch’s battery performance, offering 4.5 to nine hours of battery life.
That’s two precious hours of playtime added to your Breath of the Wild gaming session.
This change to one of the Switch’s biggest flaws takes the console to new heights, especially for players who frequently game on the go.
Speaking of gaming on the go, while the Switch is not quite as portable as the 3DS,
the Switch Lite delivers on its promise of a handheld-focused system.
Bringing a smaller, lighter, and more compact build to the family,
the Switch Lite aims to satisfy players who prefer the handheld gaming lifestyle.
It features the same revised chip layout and Tegra X1 processor in the updated Switch
and promises a battery life of up to seven hours.
Released on September 20, 2019, it adds the missing portability that the hybrid version of the console lacks.
Nintendo Switch Play your way
Though the Switch is a small tablet, it wears its soul outside of its small casing.
The Joy-Cons can be used to control games in many different ways.
The small, remote-style controllers slide and snap into place on either side of the Switch,
turning it into a handheld gaming device á la Nintendo’s Game Boy and 3DS systems.
Nintendo Switch A multiplayer machine
Having two Joy-Cons opens the door for self-contained local multiplayer experiences.
Some games allow players to each use a single Joy-Con as a controller.
The Joy-Cons also have all the motion sensors necessary for gesture-based, motion-controlled games, similar to the Nintendo Wii.
However, using the individual Joy-Cons as mini-controllers for local multiplayer can be downright uncomfortable.
The controllers are very small and, when turned horizontally, have a rounded rectangular shape.
Holding onto them can become painful after sustained and/or intense play sessions.
The console’s included “Joy-Con straps” add more comfortable shoulder buttons and, of course, a wrist strap, to each Joy-Con but they only slightly improve comfort.
The Joy-Cons aren’t identical, either.
The analog stick and buttons are in different positions on the left and right Joy-Cons.
A toy chest of peripherals
Not only do these “optional” items greatly inflate the cost of the Switch,
but they bring to light that the cost of the Switch’s jack-of-all-trades approach
to hardware design has created a console with acceptable, but annoying flaws.
For example, the console’s 32GB of internal storage can store plenty of screenshots,
short video clips (for a small number of first-party games)
and probably more than a few small indie games,
but players accustomed to buying games digitally will need a large MicroSDXC card for additional storage.
Still, not all of the peripherals were created to address the system’s shortcomings.
Nintendo Labo, which launched about a year after the Switch itself,
allows younger players to combine the Switch and its Joy-Con controllers with cardboard kits to create entirely new experiences.
These include everything from playable pianos to RC cars and even a fishing rod,
each of which makes use of the system’s infrared cameras and rumble to do unexpected things.
Support for VR has even come to existing games, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, giving fans a novel new way to race.
Nintendo Switch All about the games
Nintendo’s Achilles’ heel with some past home consoles was a lack of software support.
The Wii U had trouble releasing games on a consistent basis over its short lifespan,
and the Wii had trouble attracting third-party developers.
With the Switch though, that hasn’t proven an issue. From Zelda to Mario to Pokemon,
the Switch has enjoyed a barrage of excellent games that can appeal to both long-time Nintendo fans and newcomers.
Better still, the Switch has become the go-to platform for remasters, remakes,
and reissues of older games. It can play the original Doom and, soon, its sequel, Doom Eternal.
a variety of emulated NES and SNES games through the Nintendo Switch Online service.
Even The Witcher 3 is available. There’s a huge depth of content for a variety of gamers.
Better online, mostly
Nintendo hasn’t been at the forefront of online gaming innovation over the years,
but the Switch offers a relatively stable multiplayer experience in everything from Arms to Splatoon 2.
Some games, like Mario Kart 8, work fantastically well online.
No Netflix here, yet
Despite its multitude of play-styles and parts, the Switch is actually a straightforward gaming machine.
Unlike other consoles, which aspire to become all-in-one living room or mobile online entertainment devices, the Switch is dedicated to gaming and gaming alone (at least for now).
The user interface is very simple — a series of large squares, which shows your available games.
There’s a second set of smaller round buttons below the games with a Nintendo-curated blog feed, the eShop, a place to view and share screenshots, etc.
There are few non-gaming apps available right now — Hulu is the only current major streaming service — and Nintendo hasn’t said when or if those features will make their way to the console. Like the camera, their omission doesn’t feel like a huge loss, but they would be welcome.
Maybe Link can save our world
You probably don’t think about the power a game console uses, but it can be substantial.
An Xbox One X can suck down more juice than a small refrigerator while gaming.
That damages our planet and, over time, can add a hidden cost to your power bill.
Nintendo’s portable Switch sidesteps the issue.
It draws about 12 watts while gaming in docked mode. The Switch’s total power draw is even less when other factors, like standby use and data center use, are considered.
PlayStation and Xbox consoles frequently download large patches and can be used to stream content from power-hungry data centers.
How long will it last?
Historically, successful game consoles have a shelf-life of about five years before the manufacturer makes a new console.
We should also note that console makers have been working to shorten the lifecycle of systems,
even when the hardware is successful. This is the case with the Switch.
Two years following its initial release,
Nintendo launched an upgraded version of the console with improved battery life.
The Switch Lite, a compact version of the Switch made exclusively for handheld play,
arrived shortly after. Original Switch owners that aren’t interested in a more handheld-friendly console will likely pass on the Switch Lite,
but the revised version of the Switch will is a permanent replacement for the original
that significantly improves battery life, which was a bit short on the debut version.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you love Nintendo and want to keep playing new Nintendo games,
or already own a modern game console,
then the Switch should be your next game console.
However, if this is your first modern console, or if you mostly like to play a lot of games online, you should pass.