While in the hands it’s pretty snappy when it comes to navigating the menu systems. The load times aren’t eye rolling like the Wii U and the 5Ghz Wireless radio seems to do a pretty decent job at downloading larger games and is at least on par with PS4 and X1, who both can lag even in the most ideal wired situations. Game play has some interesting issues which highlights the weak specs of the system. While playing on the go most games actually play better than they do on the TV. In my tests with Zelda and FAST rmx they seemed pretty locked at their respective framerates of 30fps and 60fps, when docked both games exhibited slowdown. Zelda struggled in forested to maintain even above 20fps in some situations while FAST rmx only lost a few frames and didn’t seem to dip below 30 frames per second, but it was clear it wasn’t keeping at 60 like in handheld mode. Far from unplayable and in the case of rmx it was only for a brief moment here and there, but it does create a sense of unease realizing these are the very first titles for the device. Here is hoping that better optimization can be found later in its life.
Battery is a sticky subject for any mobile electronic. Apparently the Switch can get about 2.5hrs with graphically intense games and as high as 6hrs for something fairly light. I personally haven’t had much battery issue but I’m limited on playtime away from home where I can just dock it and play on the screen. The Joycons, on the other hand, can go on for a good 20hrs according to reports. Just make sure that while you aren’t playing anything have those slid into the Switch so they can charge.
Graphically it’s not bad. While mobile things look really good. Breath of the Wild is gorgeous and is a perfect title to highlight how amazing mobile gaming can be, FAST rmx does this too if you are a racing fan as the 60fps, blistering fast pace is amazing to witness. But while docked it “can” upscale to 1080p, both these games are only up to 900p… and on bigger 1080p, 4K screens the cracks begin to show. If you area graphics-whore than your gunna want to not even bother. Things become a bit blurry, jaggies show up and ruin the clean edges on everything and it simply won’t match the visual fidelity of PS4 Pro or even X1. Taking things into context though it’s perfectly fine. The console is completely portable, even upscaled it’s not like it looks like ass, it just won’t be as pretty as other systems. Is it as butt-ugly as the Wii was? Oh thank god, no. It’s serviceable and art direction goes a LONG way to highlighting visuals, more so than more power can.