Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s Nintendo Switch is a fine-tuned machine that transforms from console to mobile device with precision due to well-engineered hardware and versatile Joy-Con controller peripherals.
The Nintendo Switch hardware is a sleek technology slab that includes a 6.2-inch LCD display, custom Tegra processor from Nvidia Corp., and attachable Joy-Con controllers to provide standard game controls.
At home the Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch Dock that connects to a standard television. The dock itself is a plastic shell with HDMI and USB-C ports to power the dock and connect the Switch to the television. Two external USB 3.0 ports offer a handy way to charge peripherals. When lifted from the dock the Nintendo Switch becomes a portable handheld device with a 1280 x 720 multi-touch capacitive high-definition screen.
Portable Joy-Con controllers can attach and detach from the Nintendo Switch. The Joy-Con Grip attaches both sides to the grip to resemble a home console controller. Each Joy-Con includes an analog stick four-button array, two triggers, and additional SL and SR triggers when detached. The peripheral offers nearly every former Nintendo technology built-in, including NFC, gyroscope, accelerometer, and force feedback called HD Rumble. Build quality, like the Switch, is solid and each holds a respectable 20-hour battery life.
In handheld mode, the Nintendo Switch weighs only .66 lbs, or .88 lbs with Joy-Con controllers attached, and is comfortable to hold at length as a result. The 4310 mAh battery lasts between 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on game usage.
Outside the home Joy-Con controllers can be used together for single-player games with the included Joy-Con Grip, or can each be used separately for two-player local games. Their versatility is a technological marvel in video game controller design that allows the Nintendo Switch to move from console to handheld with ease.
The Joy-Con can be held back by connectivity issues when blocked from direct view of the Nintendo Switch. At times, the left Joy-Con lost connection and required a re-sync for normal use.
Graphics quality from the custom Nvidia chip is impressive. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild renders a massive world that can be seen far into the distance. Even the less complex Super Bomberman R can emit vibrant high-definition visuals comparable to current-generation HD systems. In handheld mode, the resolution dips from a maximum 1080p to 720p, however, games still maintain a solid fidelity.
Audio output is 5.1 Linear PCM output or stereo sound via the built-in 3.5mm headphone jack. The hardware relays quality sound output in console mode and in handheld mode through lengthy rear speakers.
The Nintendo Switch is an innovative console and mobile solution that provides a solid solution to any game player. From TV to mobile to portable local co-op machine, the hardware transforms with understated ease through a wealth of smart engineering to produce Nintendo’s most confident hardware to date.