Nintendo Switch console can do a lot at once. Nintendo has continued to innovate with its hybrid design, such as the motion controls on the Wii or the glasses-free 3D experience of the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U’s experimental second screen.
The Nintendo Switch has been a huge gaming success in the three years that it was launched. It’s been a hit every holiday season and social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic have made it a favorite among gamers and non-gamers.
The Nintendo Switch’s hybrid design is a major reason for its success. It bridges the gap between home console and handheld console in an entirely unique way.
Nintendo’s team is proud of the Nintendo Switch’s ability to combine gaming on-the go and gaming at home. Each one makes gaming a pleasure in its own right. The Nintendo Switch is an even better proposition with its growing library of first-party and top-tier third party games.
You can’t deny that the Nintendo Switch is a great idea. It combines some of what the Wii U and Wii U offer, making it appealing to gamers.
The Nintendo Switch is a game console that brings a central idea to all games, not just those that have motion control or a second monitor. One of the best things about the Nintendo Switch is that it allows you to take your console with you wherever you go.
The Switch does a great job with this hybrid idea. It will feel solid and premium, and can be docked to work as a home console, or flip into dock mode.
However, the Nintendo Switch is not perfect. Most of its problems are due to the fact that it tries to do everything simultaneously and doesn’t always find the right compromise.
If you don’t like its hybridity, but still want the classic Nintendo handheld experience, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a lighter, compact alternative. It offers a unique handheld Switch gaming experience.
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Nintendo Switch: design
There are three types of form factors: handheld (docked), console (docked), and tabletop
Many accessories are at risk of getting lost or misplaced.
The box contains the Nintendo Switch’s main console, two Joy-Cons (detachable controller sides), a grip that allows you to combine the controller sections into a traditional gamepad, two straps that can be used to make the controllers into individual controllers, as well as a dock for connecting the console to your TV.
The package includes a USB Type C power cable with a non-detachable power block and an HDMI cable to connect the device to your TV.
You might think that this sounds like a lot. We suspect that many Nintendo Switch owners will have lost at least one or two accessories within a matter of months.
To keep things together, we have used our Joy-Con straps to wrap around our Joy-Con grip. But, we would love to see a way to attach them to the console to prevent them from getting lost.
This console is quite unique and complex. It’s well worth exploring all the possibilities.
The Nintendo Switch’s first mode is the handheld mode. This form factor is most similar to the previous hardware devices.
This configuration allows you to attach the Joy-Cons (two controller parts) to the left or right edges of your screen. Then you can play the same way as you would with the PlayStation Vita.
The console’s shape and size make it feel like a modern Vita. However, it isn’t as solid due to the joints between the Joy-Cons, the screen, and the Joy-Cons.
The Nintendo Switch’s top has a slot to hold game cartridges and a headphone socket (Bluetooth headphones/headsets currently are not supported). There is also a volume rocker, as well as a power button.
The device’s bottom is more simple. The kickstand is for tabletop mode (more details later), and conceals a microSD slot for expanding storage. The Nintendo Switch’s internal storage is limited to 32GB. If you plan on downloading games instead of buying them, you will need to purchase a Nintendo Switch SD Card (capacity up to 2TB theoretically).
There are many functions to the detachable Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. On the right side, you’ll find the A, B and X buttons. There are also two buttons on the shoulders.
A small, plus-shaped button acts as the Wii U’s equivalent of the ‘Start’ button. The home button allows you to access the system-level menus.
It’s a similar story as the Joy-Con to the left. A minus button acts as the console’s ‘Select’ button. There is also a share button to take screenshots (in certain titles), and an analogue stick. We also have two shoulder-buttons and the unintelligible D-pad.
Instead of the cross-shaped D-pad Nintendo used since the NES’s inception, the left Joy-Con now has four circular buttons. They are identical to the buttons on the right Joy-Con.
This design decision is very strange at first, but it allows the left Joy-Con to be used as an individual controller and the D-pad acts as face-buttons. (Again, more later).
Nintendo Switch: console mode
An included dock connects to your TV
The docking process is simple and can be completed mid-game.
Console mode is the second form-factor for Nintendo Switch. The main part of the Nintendo Switch is placed in the dock. This connects to your TV. You can then remove the Joy-Cons and control the Switch remotely from afar.
You don’t even need to pause your game to see how the console transfers the viewing experience to the TV. Everything happens in real-time.
It can be difficult to remove the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. To do this, hold small buttons on the backs of the controllers and slide the controllers up.
The size of the TV dock is approximately the same as that of the Nintendo Switch’s middle section. The back of the TV dock has a USB Type C port for power and an HDMI port to connect to your TV. There’s also a USB Type A port.
Two additional USB ports are located on the left side of the console. They are used primarily to charge your Switch controllers while you play wirelessly. (More details in a moment).
You can purchase additional docks to allow you to connect the Nintendo Switch to multiple TVs in your home. These docks make it simple to switch between screens, plug-and play style.
Nintendo Switch: tabletop mode
You can also remove the screen and place it on a table.
This console is great for 2-player gaming. However, four players are a challenge on its small screen.
The Nintendo Switch’s final form factor is the ‘tabletop mode’. The kickstand attached to the back allows you to prop the console on a table, then remove the Joy-Cons and enjoy semi-portable gaming.
This is a great solution for long public transport journeys where there is a tray table to place your console. However, it was a mixed bag.
The Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons can now be used in the grip, rather than being attached to the console. We like that the controllers are more comfortable in our hands. Sitting a bit further away from the console allows for a more natural sitting position.
Multiplayer on the Switch is possible with Tabletop mode. It’s a joy to detach both Joy-Cons so that two people can play against each other. This makes the Nintendo Switch ideal for small gatherings, where you already have all you need to host a multiplayer session.
There are however a few issues that the console cannot fully exploit this tabletop mode.
The kickstand is the first. It’s rubberized so the Switch won’t slip around. However, the kickstand only supports the console at one height. If your tray table is closer to you, then you can’t prop it up so it faces you directly. Instead, the screen will point at your chest.
The second is the Nintendo Switch charging port. This is not accessible when it’s in tabletop mode. This meant that, even though we were in a perfect spot to use tabletop mode on a train trip, we decided to use the console as a handheld charger so it could be charged up.
The NIntendo Switch screen for multiplayer gaming is a bit too small to accommodate more than two players. The display’s resolution and size make it almost impossible to play four-player Mario Kart. We found ourselves placing our faces just inches away from the console in order to see distant details.
The Switch’s tabletop mode is better suited for short periods of time, which is a shame since it seems like the best way to use the Nintendo Switch over longer periods.
It’s simple to set up a Nintendo Switch.
To use the device as a handheld, attach the Joy-Cons and press the power button.To play Nintendo Switch games on your TV you will need to connect the dock to the TV via HDMI. Then, hook the USB Type-C power cable to the dock. You can then slip the console into the dock.
The fact that the controllers can be used together or separately makes pairing a little more difficult than other devices. To tell the Switch which controllers are being used, press the L and R buttons on the shoulder in the configuration that you have chosen.
If you are using the Joy-Cons alone, press the buttons on your Joy-Con straps.
The console will ask for both Wi-Fi information and account setup info. These details are easy to enter on the console’s touchscreen. Although the keyboard is not as intuitive as one would expect, it’s still better than the typical console experience.
Once that’s done, you can play games from a cartridge or from the Nintendo Switch’s internal storage.
To see how easy it is to set up your Nintendo Switch, check out our guide.
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