Getting excited for Nintendo’s new game console? Maybe you haven’t heard about it? It’s called the Nintendo Switch, and it arrives in one week.
The Switch is a home console and a portable console all at once, like so:
Here’s the quick and dirty:
- It’s called Nintendo Switch. It’s scheduled to launch on March 3. It starts at $299. Nintendo has a gaggle of games starring its most prominent creations in the works.
Even though the console doesn’t arrive in stores for another week, Nintendo sent one over earlier this week. I’ve been using the Switch for 48 hours now – both as a home console and a portable – and I have a heap of stuff to tell you. Let’s dig in.
Thankfully, setup is quick and easy.
You don’t even need to plug the Switch into the wall to set it up – you just need the console itself (the tablet) and a few minutes.
After switching on the console, it quickly boots to a simple setup that asks for stuff like your time zone, Wi-Fi information, and Nintendo Account name. Most of this stuff can be skipped, though, if you wanna jump right into a game.
You could do this from the home console version of the Switch, or you could do it in the portable version. It’s clear that, right out of the box, the Switch is intended to be used both ways interchangeably.
If you decide to set up the Nintendo Switch dock, it has a great way of hiding cables.
After setting up the console while in portable mode, I moved on to the dock. Setting it up was as easy as setting up an Apple TV – one power cable (to the wall) and one HDMI cable (to the TV).
Best of all, the power cables are hidden away behind a plastic panel. If you place it carefully, you can set up the Switch dock in such a way that it hides your cables from public view altogether – the wireless future we’ve been waiting for, sort of.
The dock also enables wired internet connections, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The dock has three USB ports on it, all of which can be used for charging various controllers. You can also plug in an Ethernet-to-USB adapter if you’d like to run wired internet to your Switch dock. (If your home has spotty Wi-Fi coverage, a wired connection can be more reliable.)
If that’s your kind of thing, one of those three USB ports is in between the HDMI and power ports – which is to say, you can easily hide the Ethernet cable if you’re trying to maintain the cable-free look. A nice touch, no doubt.
After setup, I was immediately impressed by how speedy the Switch is.
While it may be light on features, the Switch is fast and nimble.
Navigating menus is snappy, the operating system is easily understood on first blush, and the touch screen is responsive. In short, it feels like a modern piece of technology. This is an especially important metric for the Switch to nail – Nintendo’s last console, the Wii U, was slow, and its hardware felt cheap.
The Switch feels sturdy and looks pretty. The buttons on the gamepad have a satisfying click. It feels new.
The most impressive aspect of the Nintendo Switch is something you’ll barely notice: It turns on incredibly quickly.
Going from “powered off console” to “playing a game” is faster on Switch than any other console I own, including both Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4.
That’s no overstatement – I tested it. Turning on the Switch and getting into a game is ridiculously fast. You know how fast an iPad wakes from sleep and loads apps? That’s how fast the Switch is. But when the Switch is docked, you get the same experience you would on an iPad on a home game console. And that, friends, is genuinely magical. Let’s see more of this, game-console makers.
The gimmick of docking the console to push a game to your TV (and vice versa) really does work as well as it does in the commercials.
It’s not just the magic of television – the Switch docks incredibly quickly. In a second, the game you were playing on the portable version of the Switch is whisked to your TV screen. It’s not instant, but it’s very fast.
More impressively, the Switch dock has a smart little buffer that guides the Switch tablet into the dock with ease.
Since the Switch connects to the dock by USB-C, you might worry about having to carefully fit it into the dock every time you wanted to go from portable to home console. Worry not! The bracket (seen above) inside the dock handles that finagling for you. It is possible to miss the bracket, but it’s glaringly obvious. The long and short of it is that Nintendo figured out a way to make docking the Switch into something easy and quick, even kid-friendly.
The screen on the Switch is gorgeous and bright. The new “Zelda” looks great on it.
I’m not a huge fan of portable gaming. I play a ton of “Threes” on my phone, and I own both a Nintendo 3DS and a Vita, which I mainly use while traveling, not daily. I’m experienced with portable gaming for sure, going all the way back to the Game Boy, but my preference is to home game consoles that I can play from my couch.
That said, in the past few days, I’ve preferred playing the Switch as a portable.
Games simply look better on the smaller screen, and the controls are identical. Since the gamepad on the Switch is modular, it makes little difference, control-wise, if I’m playing the Switch as a handheld or as a home console. The bigger difference is how good “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” looks. And it looks much better on the smaller screen.
Nintendo provided a copy of the new “Zelda” game, which looks and plays way better in portable form.
When playing “Breath of the Wild” at home, on my TV, I experienced some pretty major technical issues. For one, the game has issues with consistent framerate – the game becomes choppy and slows down dramatically.
This could be fixed with an update to the game, but I’m basing this experience on the Nintendo Switch ahead of launch and playing a copy of “Breath of the Wild” before launch.
If it isn’t fixed by or after launch, that’s tremendously unfortunate – who wants their first experience playing a game on a new console to be a subpar one? No one.
Grabbing screenshots of games — or anything else on the Switch, for that matter — is remarkably easy.
There’s a little dedicated button on the Switch gamepad that captures screenshots. It acts like a shutter button on a camera – the second you push it, it takes a snapshot of whatever’s on the Switch screen.
This concept isn’t new.
The PlayStation 4’s gamepad has a “share” button built in, meant to enable easy screenshots (and video, in the case of the PS4). The difference is that it works even better on the Switch than it does on the PS4. The snap is instant, whereas on the PS4 it brings up a sub-menu that often takes several seconds. Making it instant makes it that much easier – the snaps can then be shared on social media.
We couldn’t test anything involving internet functionality on the Switch because none of that has been enabled yet. The console is set to receive a major update ahead of launch that adds a digital storefront and support for microSD cards, as well as turns on online connectivity.
Nintendo built software to enable tremendously silly, shareable images of games.
In the Album section of the Switch menu, you can explore the various screenshots you’ve taken. More importantly, you can then edit those screenshots. Even more importantly, you can add ridiculous text on top of the screenshot.
We imagine it going something like this:
• Take a screenshot of a game.
• Push the Home button, select Album.
• Select photo, edit photo with silly caption.
• Share on social media.
Playing the Switch while commuting has been strange and cool.
I live in New York City – Brooklyn, more specifically – so I’m a commuter who uses public transportation daily.
As such, I’m using the Switch as a portable game console between home and work – as Nintendo intended. (Nintended?) And it’s been really cool.
That comes with one major caveat: The Switch is big compared with, say, an iPhone. I feel a little ridiculous holding this massive handheld next to someone playing, say, “Candy Crush.”
That embarrassment quickly fades when I’m able to dive into Hyrule while sitting on the F train. Sure, I look a little weird with my giant handheld – but I’m playing a gorgeous new game.
The battery life hasn’t been an issue yet.
Nintendo says battery life on the Switch varies depending on what you’re doing. But if you’re playing a game without pause, you’re looking at only a few hours of battery life.
In my experience so far, the battery has lasted more than adequately. I commute to work while playing the Switch with a full charge, I put it in Sleep Mode most of the day, and it’s still mostly fully charged when I leave work eight hours later. That’s nice.
Sleep Mode means never having to “boot” the console. It operates like an iPad, essentially.
After turning on the Switch initially, there is no one-step way to turn it off. Most people will stick to Sleep Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. Think of it like turning off the screen on an iPad, or closing a laptop: You push a button, and the Switch is instantly awake once more, whatever you were doing last displayed on the screen. This is why going from “off” to “playing a game” is so incredibly fast – you’re not actually turning on a system or spinning up a hard drive. It’s immediate.
You can technically shut down the Switch, but it requires holding down the power button and navigating a menu.
The kickstand on the back of the Switch is flimsy and feels cheap.
If the kickstand on the Switch doesn’t break quickly after frequent use, I’ll be shocked. This is the only outright negative component of the Switch that I’ve encountered. The kickstand is wobbly and cheap, and it looks like it could be broken off way too easily. It doesn’t snap into place and remain firm – even when it’s fully extended, it feels like it could collapse at any moment.
It is the only aspect of the Switch, hardware-wise, that feels cheap.
And that’s a problem because the kickstand is hiding the microSD-card reader – and it would be unfortunate if the kickstand broke off and the microSD slot was exposed permanently. It’s a needlessly easy way to get lint or dust or whatever else stuck in the Switch.
There’s still a lot we don’t know.
The Switch, right now, is able to do very few things. A Day One update is planned, and it’s supposed to add a bunch of stuff:
• Online connectivity, including posts to social media.
• The digital storefront (the eShop).
• The ability to use microSD cards.
Other than playing “Zelda” and taking screenshots, I’ve been able to do little else on the Switch. Nintendo’s already said it doesn’t plan to integrate Hulu, Netflix, or other streaming apps. The long-running Virtual Console service, which is a digital storefront for Nintendo’s massive back catalog of games, doesn’t arrive until sometime after launch. (Nintendo isn’t saying when.)
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I spent 48 hours with Nintendo’s new game console, the Switch — here’s what it’s like have 2208 words, post on www.businessinsider.sg at February 24, 2017. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.