Well, it’s finally here. Nintendo’s next attempt at a console. They haven’t been shy about wanting to push their console market into their dominate handheld market, given that the Wii U was basically a tablet/console abomination. The Big N is doubling down on that concept by making the next console completely portable as well as allowing away from home gaming with the ability to play with friends on the same screen via the dual control pad system.
Will this gambit pay off in the end, or is Nintendo going to eat away at their own handheld market and further confuse their audiences with non compatible options that both sit in the mobile market?
So, what comes in the box?
- The Switch tablet (duh, I mean… right?)
- Two Joycon controllers/handles
- USB-C AC power adapter
- A couple wrist straps that double as controller enlargers… (for her pleasure)
- A Joycon “Dock” controller, which allows for off-device, living room play.
- and the Switch Dock itself for HDMI to hook into a TV.
*Turns box upside down and inside out* WTF? No game? not even a cart of mini games like Wii Sports?
Nope, that is strike one against this thing. You pay the same price as you did for the Wii and you don’t get a pack-in game with it. Sure, the Deluxe edition of the Wii U was the only SKU that had a pack-in on launch and cost $50 extra, but it also came with a couple other things for the consumer, not just a shitty game (sorry, Nintendo Land will be a forgotten game. I bet you forgot it existed at all, didn’t you?) This is compounded by the fact that 1,2 Switch, a game that looks like it was supposed to be a pack-in, full of mini games to highlight the abilities of the system… is $50. This game screams pack-in “Not-worth-buying” status and the ONLY reason it’s going to sell is because the Switch has an utterly disappointing launch line-up who’s bulk comes from previously released games on other consoles. It’s a little embarrassing, but I digress. Let’s talk about the actual hardware and touch on the issues a bit later.
The Console (Tablet?):
The system/tablet itself is smaller than I was expecting. I don’t know why that was, given the screen size has been well known for a while, but I guess I just thought it was going to be bigger (that’s what she said.) It’s built fairly well and torquing the device showed no major flexing even though it’s made entirely out of plastic including the screen. Yes, plastic screen that I suspect is made of butter since it can be scratched by looking at it wrong. This is a double-edged sword as it’s very soft and WILL scratch easily, but won’t shatter when dropped and there are solutions out there for those of us that like the feel of glass on touch devices. Head over to Amazon for a glass protector.
Staying on the topic of the screen, while only 720p, which does seem a bit low given the insane resolutions of most mobile phones at much smaller sizes, actually looks REALLY good. Clearly Nintendo tapped into their handheld roots to make sure the screen was perfect for the way in which it was going to be used. This lower screen resolution also hides that the system really isn’t all that powerful when compared to current gen systems, though it is more powerful than any other mobile devices… so it has that going for it. But Nintendo is well known for selling us on the software and not the power of the hardware so this shouldn’t come as much surprise and shouldn’t be a big deal to Nintendo fans.
What is a big deal though is the location of the USB-C charge port. Kudos to Nintendo for going open standard, but having it at the bottom of the device, while great for the dock, is a nightmare for those wanting to charge and play on the go with a friend. You simply can’t use the kickstand while charging with this design and that’s kindof a bummer.
Going back to the Dock… it’s just a lump of plastic with ports. It doesn’t boost the system, provide cooling when the system upscales, nothing. Just ports. The Switch itself, when it receives the HDMI out signal, does the upscaling to a higher resolution all it’s own. The dock is so plasticy that the plastic rails inside that rest against the screen have been reported by a few to scratch the screen of the switch! Did I mention you should go get a glass screen protector?
Inside the little-screen-that-could is a pretty weak 32GB of storage. That is standard for a mobile phone, but for a console?… for a HOME CONSOLE which this is supposed to ALSO be? That’s piss poor and I’m calling Nintendo out on that. Sure, a MicroSD slot sits under the kickstand, but that is another expense you have to swallow if you are going to be downloading ANY games for this thing. This should be a huge red flag for people’s hopes of Nintendo putting ANY thought or actual care into their online presence. Many games are already slated to use 12GB of storage and that adds up if you don’t buy a separate microSD. Strike Two, Nintendo.