Nintendo Switch Preview

We preview the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo's soon-to-be-released console/handheld hybrid.

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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.

Accessorize

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.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    February 23, 2017 6:00 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, Nintendo Switch Preview

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      February 23, 2017 6:58 AM

      Excellent preview, Jason! So jelly you've been playing Zelda all week. :D

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        February 23, 2017 7:01 AM

        Seriously. Did you lose the rock papper scissors game David?

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          February 23, 2017 7:42 AM

          Something as important as reviewing what appears to be the best Zelda game so far this decade cannot be decided with a simple rock/paper/scissors game.

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            February 23, 2017 7:59 AM

            So a dance off?

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              February 23, 2017 8:05 AM

              That may have been a part of it. Personally I would have voted for a random event decathalon, including a 5k, dance off, Triforce hunt race, beer pong, outdoor mattress surfing, wine tasting, and several other activities to be voted on by a jury of our peers.

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            February 23, 2017 8:00 AM

            I would do a first Triforce piece race in the original LoZ.

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          February 23, 2017 8:12 AM

          I took myself out of the running. :) Prepping for GDC next week. I'm actually taking a red-eye home on Thursday night so I can go straight from the airport to Best Buy and pick up my Switch pre-order on Friday morning!

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        February 23, 2017 7:58 AM

        Not trying to be a negative nancy, but that's not really a preview, it's more of a "hey you can buy these accessories for the switch".

        Is there an embargo on people publishing their experience using the thing?

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          February 23, 2017 7:59 AM

          Yup, actual "Reviews" are embargo'd till the 1st.

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          February 23, 2017 8:13 AM

          Yeah, I can't actually "review" the products until next week so that kinda stifled my ability to share my experiences with them in detail.

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      February 23, 2017 8:14 AM

      So how do you put on that screen protector? I bought one of the kits but I never use them. Now with a 4 year old it is a must.

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        February 23, 2017 8:20 AM

        Just like putting on a phone screen protector. Protip: USE REGULAR SCOTCH TAPE.

        Tear a piece a few inches, roll it into a circle with the sticky side out. Use your index and middle finger to spread the loop and apply to the screen to remove dust and lint. No matter how many times you wipe a screen with a cloth, it's going to leave something behind. The tape will save you from unsightly bubbles underneath the protector and also from having to pick it up and reapply it. Reapplying is the worst thing for them, you can create creases that will never go away. I used to work at a Cricket store and I would apply screen protectors to every customer's phone that purchased one.

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          February 23, 2017 9:33 AM

          Nice thanks.

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            February 24, 2017 6:55 PM

            What skankcore said. They even throw in a few strips of scotch tape to clean the screen with.

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      February 23, 2017 8:37 AM

      Jason can you test out the bluetooth headphone functionality and report back, or is that off limits? I noticed no other media outlet touched on it, which is strange.

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      February 23, 2017 9:00 AM

      " An awesome design choice makes it to where that allows you to choose your profile per game on the Switch instead of logging in on a system level."