Reviews - Updated on April 14, 2022

The new Nintendo Switch console is noticeably different in concept from everything that has been done with consoles before. It is not only portable and not quite homely, it seems to be on the mobile “stuffing” of Tegra, but, in theory, with a whole teraflop of power, that is, almost at the level of Xbox One. Instead of discs, cartridges are used here, and in the kit there are two gamepads at once, from which everyone managed to wean. In a word, the device is non-standard, which means it deserves attention. General or fan – we will understand.

Even the packaging of the device is in the middle between portable devices and home devices in size.

Assemble yourself

I wrote about the device after the presentation in January. For those who do not like to follow links, let me remind you: Switch is, in fact, a constructor.

A “tablet” is waiting for us in the box – the main part with a 6.2-inch touch screen, in which the hardware is located: a “customized” NVIDIA Tegra processor and an unspecified (4 GB, according to unofficial data) amount of RAM. The device is almost not equipped with buttons (only for turning on and adjusting the volume), but it has slots for cartridges, microSD memory cards and a USB-C connector for charging. Wi-Fi is provided for access to the Network, the base connects to peripheral devices via Bluetooth.

Two Joy-Con gamepads are connected to the “tablet” from the ends, they can be used separately in some games. You can also connect gamepads on a special stand and get one controller. Or upgrade them with Wii-like wrist straps and get two motion controllers. If you want absolutely classics, the Pro Controller is sold separately – the most ordinary gamepad, similar to the “boxing”.

To bring the whole thing to your 40-inch screen, there is a docking station with connectors for power, HDMI and a pair of USB. From this you can collect very different game situations, including exotic ones: we remove the Joy-Con from the console, put the mini-screen on the stand, give a gamepad to a friend and punish him in Mario Kart. Potentially, it turns out to be a very cool opportunity – the device allows you to make absolutely any game, except for VR. But there are two main scenarios: on the road, when the Joy-Con is inserted into the console, and at home, when the console is charging in the docking station. This is how I spent most of my time.

Near the TV, the device looks very neat, because it takes up very little space.

Home and away

Deciding to think of the Switch primarily as a portable device won’t make you much different from your bus neighbor playing on an iPad or iPhone. Even the gadget extended along the edges remains within the framework of medium-large tablets. It is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad mini, but sits very comfortably in the hands. Unlike the Wii U with its bulky, cheap plastic controller, the Switch has a very modern feel. The build quality and materials themselves are very good. Only the thin stand behind the main module is embarrassing.

But the fastening of the controllers to the working part is very pleasing – they have almost no backlash, they definitely will not fall out when used. The pixel density on the display is high enough not to see individual dots. As it turns out, the basic HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels is enough for a 6.2-inch diagonal. At the same time, the display has very decent viewing angles and a good margin of brightness, although it will be hard to play outdoors in sunny weather. It “lives” from one charge for at least three hours. Stated generally up to six, but it will be in not too advanced games or when using additional features. This is perhaps the first handheld device from Nintendo in many, many years that looks and feels truly modern.

The home part of the console evokes not only pleasant feelings. First of all, because it is just a piece of plastic to which cables are connected. Yes, the Switch fits easily into the dock, and you can instantly move to the big screen in Full HD resolution – and it’s really convenient. It can be seen that games from at least Nintendo itself will be made with the expectation of home gaming. Unfortunately, at home, you may encounter a small technical problem – the left Joy-Con loses communication with the console if there is an obstacle between them.

In addition, what looked amazing on a small display shows some flaws when enlarged. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, framerate drops and crate-type elements popping up out of nowhere have become visible. Of course, a single game, especially with a huge open world, is not an indicator. It’s just that the “slightly better Wii U” level for a portable console is a real breakthrough, and for a home console it’s the last generation.

Unlike the previous generation, Switch is not a bulky and up-to-date device in design.

Without a browser and teraflops

Why it turns out this way is quite understandable, because inside the device is still mobile hardware. The Japanese do not indicate the exact performance of their offspring. According to preliminary estimates, it can be up to one teraflops. For comparison, a regular PS4 offers 1.8 teraflops, Xbox One – 1.23, Wii U – 0.35. There are other data that speak of lower rates in the region of 0.3 – 0.7 teraflops, depending on the mode. In any case, it is weaker than even the basic models of competitors. Therefore, one should not expect any miracles. Multi-platform releases will be able to visit the Switch, as Nintendo has enlisted the support of major publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. But, most likely, these will not be the same games as on completely home consoles, but greatly simplified.

On the other hand, the main hit of the launch line, The Legend of Zelda, already shows an open world of outstanding proportions with a decent study of the environment – and after all, it was created with the expectation of a less powerful Wii U. planned. We will definitely introduce you to Zelda on the stream this Sunday.

I still have not paid attention to the software of the console itself, because there is almost nothing to talk about here. Until March 3, the functionality of the device is limited to the ability to run games, and only one cartridge came to the journalists. The menu is vaguely reminiscent of Android, it is very concise and well-translated into Russian. So far, it has neither a browser, nor a working app store, nor social networks, nor any other interesting features. Unless the screenshots taken are now easier to publish (it’s not clear where), and they can also be transferred to a memory card.

In addition to the Pro Controller, they promised multi-colored Joy-Con and a case from accessories.

***

If you look at Switch only as a gaming device, this is a great thing that can replace two devices at once. The console is made very high quality, it is convenient and pleasant to use, it looks good near the TV, and the screen allows you to comfortably play on the go.

But today, ecosystems and additional bells and whistles decide too much. I just couldn’t test either one or the other: the material was written before the release of the gadget and before the patch of the first day. In it, Nintendo promised to seriously complement the set of features and make available its online store. So stay tuned for more about online features, starter games and share your opinions in the comments!

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