The Nintendo Switch is just a little over a week away from launch, but I've had the opportunity to spend the last 48 hours previewing the console/handheld hybrid and take it through the paces. The Nintendo Switch is different than anything else out there, and trying to compare my experience with it to that with any other handheld or console would be impossible. Although I can't let the cat all the way out of the bag yet on all of the ins-and-outs of the Switch, I can give a rundown of some of my experience with it so far.
What's in the Box
I didn't have an opportunity to go to the Nintendo Switch Reveal Event, so the Switch I received for preview/review purposes was the first one I had ever had the chance to try out. When I opened the Nintendo Switch's box, I was struck by just how weird it felt. The whole Switch concept is odd in general, and to see how small the actual Switch unit was somewhat mindblowing. How does Nintendo think this little tablet-sized console can keep up with the competition? However, after spending some time with the Switch I fell in love with the versatility of the system and how fresh it feels.
The size of the Nintendo Switch belies its power, though. After slipping the Joy-Con controllers onto the Switch unit, I started setting up the system. The UI is snappy and spartan in the right way. It's obvious that the Switch is meant to be a gaming system first and foremost, and the lightweight OS seems to be designed around that purpose.
As previously reported, you don't have to set up a Mii or even connect a Nintendo Account to make a profile on the Nintendo Switch. Each Switch can hold up to 8 profiles, each with a personal avatar. An awesome design choice makes it to where you choose your profile per game on the Switch instead of logging in on a system level. This easy way to switch between profiles will make a huge difference for people who share a system and don't want to have to go through logging in and out of accounts to get to certain content.
The Switch comes with a USB Type-C adapter that can power either the dock or charge the Switch in portable mode. Unfortunately, the system comes with just the one integrated AC adapter. I would have also liked to have seen Nintendo include a USB-C to USB-A cord for portable charging purposes, especially because USB Type-C is still relatively rare.
The Joy of Joy-Cons
The Joy-Con controllers would be a huge mistake in my eyes if not for one saving grace, the extenders. When the Joy-Con controllers are detached from the central Switch unit for use as two-player controllers, they're ridiculously small. However, Nintendo has included with the Switch two extensions for the Joy-Cons that make them fit in your hand much more comfortably.
In TV mode you can slide the Joy-Cons into the Joy-Con Grip for a more traditional controller experience. This is probably the way most players will enjoy playing when the Switch is connected to a TV, but you're free to play with a Joy-Con in each hand instead.
If you wanna go big, you can grab a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The Pro controller runs $69.99 but is an excellent way to play the Switch when it's in TV mode. However, it's not the most portable option, so if you're thinking of taking the Switch on the go a lot, it may not be the product for you.
The other two accessories Nintendo sent along with the Switch are the Joy-Con Charging Grip, and the Nintendo Switch Carrying Case + Screen Protector. The Joy-Con grip that comes with the Switch doesn't charge the Joy-Con controllers, but with the Joy-Con charging grip, you can attach a USB Type-C cord and charge your Joy-Cons as you play. It's not an entirely necessary accessory, especially if you're not a marathon gamer, but it is handy to have.
A carrying case and screen protector are going to be essential if you want to take your Switch on-the-go, and the first-party Nintendo option isn't bad at all. The simple black case offers space to store extra game cards and snugly and safely zips around the Switch. The screen protector isn't anything super fancy, but it is a decent quality protector, and it wasn't hard to apply at all. I would recommend if you plan on having your Switch in portable mode a lot to get a tougher protector when they become available though because the Nintendo Switch is all screen just waiting to be dropped.
More to Come
I'll be spending a good deal of my waking hours over the next two weeks with the Nintendo Switch, and I'll deliver my verdict on Nintendo's newest system next week, along with all the details I had to hold back for the preview. For now, I can say that so far it's been a fun and fascinating time and the Switch might be just what Nintendo needed to get back into the console game.