Nintendo Switch Review: Buy, wait or pass

Nintendo Switch

I got the new Nintendo Switch console at launch last Friday, I have been testing it the whole weekend, playing mostly The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild . (Only title worth it at launch in my opinion.)

For some time I have been disappointed with the console market, in general Sony and Microsoft just release crappy “cheap” PCs and the exclusives they offer are not so exclusive anymore.

The last Nintendo console I owned was the Nintendo 64, after that they seemed to focus way too much in younger audiences so I stayed away.

I decided to try out the Nintendo Switch as an option for a nice portable device and because of the 3rd party support they are promising, I got interested mostly in some JRPGs that are coming and the target audience seems more ad-oc to me now.

So here are the aspects I evaluated:

Tech Specs

It seems Nintendo finally decided to launch something that is not using 10 year old technology. You can find a list of the specs in Nintendo’s official site

The touch screen is multi-touch capacitive finally, it has 32 GB of internal storage and you can expand it with a micro-SD card, I have a Sandisk of 200GB and it works pretty well. You can buy one in Germany at Amazon.de

It has a pretty decent processor, not comparable with PS4 or Xbox but in the end it offers pretty good graphics, quick loading times and seamless transition from TV to portable.

Price

In Germany you can get a Nintendo Switch for around 330 EUR, I think it’s an affordable price for what the console promise to deliver. It’s worth it to give it a try but as an early adopter you will find yourself struggling to get titles to use your console.

Price Vs Quality parity, you get what you pay, good quality materials, and the box includes everything you need out of the box (minus a game) to have a fairly good use of the console.

Launch Titles

This is the Nintendo Switch weakest point, the release titles I found them lacking and uninteresting, I can tell you the only title that it’s really worth it is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I think this title will keep you entertained for something between 50-100 hrs, based on what I have played this weekend.

Other titles include 1 2 Switch which is just a glorified (and expensive) tech demo of features that I think no 3rd party will ever use in their games and you will only see them in random “wii like” Mario titles. Another one is Super Bomberman … more of the same “wii like” stuff among others. 

Features

The main selling point of this console is it’s ability to become portable in an instant. Well I can say that works perfectly, you can switch from TV to portable very easily.

The joy cons are another thing that they have been marketing a lot, while it may look like a nice idea on paper, in reality they are rubbish and I don’t see myself preferring them over the pro controller any time soon. Those controllers are another attempt of Nintendo to “Wii-fy”everything, they haven’t learned that most people don’t care about that. On the other hand, the hi resolution vibration it’s pretty neat. If you want to tech demo the joy cons just buy 1 2 Switch “game”, but it’s a waste of money in my opinion.

The kick-stand, why in hell Nintendo decided to design so poorly that kick-stand, it’s over me, but the thing is a piece of plastic so flimsy that I can see it breaking really easily, on top of doubling as the micro SD card cover, it provides very poor balance to the console so I wouldn’t rely on it to play while on the airplane as the commercial shows. It’s better if you buy a case that includes some sort of kick-stand or something.

The docking station, it feels cheap plastic, it’s merely a stand with an HDMI connector and some USB ports. Nothing special, it adds no processing power to the console whatsoever or any benefits.

Software, this I am really torn about, many people complained the lack of browser, and multimedia apps such as netflix, amazon prime video, etc.. I’m really not bothered by that, for those services I have a smartphone, a tablet, other consoles a PC, a smart TV etc.. for me it’s more important that a gaming device does one thing right and that is GAMING.

What really bothered me, it doesnt have a browser, fine I can live with it, but when I wanted to create my nintendo account it literally sent me a smart device or PC and gave me a web address. I mean, WTF !! it should include at least an applet or something to be able to register using the console.

Now, things that the software does right, the standby mode or sleep mode, its wonderfully made and does what you expect it to do, contrary to my PS4 that always crashes or something happens if you suspend a game. 

Loading times are really quick, as all the info is in a cartridge or internal memory, the loading is really almost not noticeable.

Battery Life

I bought this device, mainly as a mobile gaming machine, and the battery life it’s a total let down. The first problem is that the battery is just 4310 mAh, so by playing a game like Zelda it lasts around 3hrs. But that’s not the main issue, I’m used to carry powerbanks and cables around.

The main issue is that the thing requires an output of 15V and 2.4 A when most powerbanks, wall chargers, car chargers etc.. have 5V and 2.1  A that means that it would take more than 8 hrs to charge fully with those chargers, rendering useless for a long roadtrip or train trip or even an air flight, considering you spend in the airport a few hrs of downtime.

So if you want to charge your device you need the official charger which is a huge brick. On top of that it uses USB-C you need another cable.

 

Summary

The pros for this console are:

  • Portable Option to a home quality console
  • Quick loading times
  • Small and light
  • Inexpensive gadget
  • When played with the pro controller it’s pretty comfortable
  • Nice quality look and feel materials

The cons are:

  • The battery life and charging options can potentially be a hassle
  • the hideous hand cramping joy cons
  • The screen resolution on portable mode is not so great
  • Lack of accessories and good games at launch
  • The worst kick-stand to have ever been designed in history of videogames

All in all I think it’s a good purchase if you want an inexpensive console to spend some time with your kids, or keep them entertained on the go. For someone like me is yet to be seen if the battery/charging hassles will become a major problem or not. Other than that I am pretty happy with it.

 

 

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