First thing you notice when you pick up the Switch is how heavy and premium the build quality feels (Switch console weight = 297g). Unlike the Wii U’s gamepad, which had a plasticky lightness to it that never really convinced, the Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con controllers are all glass, metal and composite, communicating a sense of quality and expense whenever they are in the hand.
In Handheld Mode with the Joy-Con controllers slotted into the system this is doubly so; while the look of the Switch, both close up and from afar, is just lovely.What then grabs you next is how crisp and rich the Nintendo Switch’s 6.2-inch, 1280×720 capacitive touch screen is. From the menu screens to playing games, the visuals pop with a clarity that if you are used to 3DS or Wii U visuals, are an order of magnitude more impressive and really hammer home that this really is a super powerful gaming system when taken handheld. Sure, it isn’t as powerful as a home console when put up against behemoths like the PS4 Pro, however as a portable, handheld, slotted in your backpack or pocket console, it certainly is, outstripping rivalsThe Joy-Con controllers have typical video game controller layouts with twin thumbsticks and X,A,B,Y button-style configs, however the left one also comes with the Nintendo Switch photo button, which allows you to instantly take screenshots in games and have the images saved to the system’s storage (32 GB as standard, although some of that is taken up by system files; screenshots can also be transferred off the system).
DOCK AND CABLING
The Nintendo Switch dock is made out of plastic and, unlike the Switch, is rather light. Slotting the Nintendo Switch into and out of the dock is easy and, much to our approval, seems to be designed so that screen scratches are not an issue, with the dock port securely holding the Switch well clear of the dock’s interior walls.
At the back of the dock lies a flip-down plastic door, which once dropped down allows access to three ports: an AC adapter port, HDMI port and USB port. Slot in the bundled cables, and you can then neatly rout the cables out of a hole in the back plate, making it easy to both hide the cables and maintain a clutter-free environment.Accessories, such as the Joy-Con Charging Grip and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (see below) can be connected to the Nintendo Switch dock via one of three USB ports, with one located in the rear cavity, as well as two others installed in the dock’s left hand end. Obviously, neat freaks may not want to use the exterior ports all the time as wires very visibly extend out of the side of the dock, however when multiple players all need a wired connection these extra ports become invaluable.
ACCESSORIES AND CONTROLLERS
The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Charging Grip is almost identical to the Joy-Con Grip bundled with the Nintendo Switch console apart from the fact that it features a top-mounted charging port, allowing users to keep playing with the Grip controller even when the Joy-Cons have no battery, and also that its handles are made from a dark transparent plastic rather than a matte black one.
Seeing how similar the two Grip controllers were was a little disappointing as it made us wonder why Nintendo couldn’t have included the Charging Grip as standard, however you can obviously keep playing with the Joy-Cons connected to the Switch and, in all honesty, you’d need to play for many hours straight without any charging to run the Joy-Cons down to a level where you’d have to stop playing this way.The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is similar to the Wii U’s Pro Controller, however now has a slightly wider, more rectangular build. The controller is also made from transparent black plastic rather than the Wii U’s shiny black plastic. It is largely business as usual for a video game console controller after that however, with the standard thumbsticks and buttons, though there is the Switch’s built-in photo button as seen on the Joy-Cons.