Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Swap overview

Our Verdict

The Nintendo Swap is one-part handheld and one-part dwelling console, and hopes to be the one gadget you may ever want for gaming, wherever you’re. The hybrid console is an simple success, providing up an distinctive degree of handheld graphical high quality, whereas seamlessly transitioning into a house console – although this very adaptability has required compromises on energy and performance in comparison with the devoted consoles and handhelds that got here earlier than it.


  • Distinctive hybrid design
  • HD Rumble
  • Two controllers included
  • Vibrant, crisp, colourful display screen


  • Pleasure-Cons cost solely on console with out accent
  • Break up D-pad
  • Oddly positioned proper analogue stick
  • Restricted on-line service at launch

The Nintendo Swap is a console that does a variety of issues . Just like the movement controls of the Wii, or the glasses-free 3D of the Nintendo 3DS, or the experimental second display screen of the Wii U, the Swap’s modern hybrid design has helped Nintendo to proceed to blaze its personal path and do one thing completely different. 

Within the three years since its launch, the Nintendo Swap has turn out to be a real gaming hit—each vacation season it is one of the in style gadgets round, and as social distancing guidelines have taken impact throughout the coronavirus pandemic it is turn out to be a agency favourite with avid gamers and non-gamers alike.

A big a part of the Nintendo Swap’s success is its hybrid design which has allowed it to bridge the hole between handheld console and residential console in a very distinctive means.

The best way that the Nintendo Swap combines gaming on-the-go and gaming at dwelling, making every a enjoyment of its personal means, is a credit score to Nintendo’s staff. With its ever-growing library of unique first-party video games and top-tier third-party titles, the Nintendo Swap is a greater proposition than ever.

Whether or not you’ve got already made your buy or not, you need to agree that the Nintendo Swap is a advantageous thought, mixing collectively a few of what made the Wii and Wii U interesting for avid gamers (even when builders had a tougher time determining how you can take advantage of the latter gadget).

The Nintendo Swap brings with it a central thought that may profit actually each sport, not simply the choose few that may use movement management or a second display screen. Who hasn’t at one time wished to pack up their console and take it with them?

Largely, the Swap delivers very effectively on this hybrid thought. You will discover it a stable, premium-feeling handheld, which may then flip into docked mode and work roughly as you’d anticipate a house console to, if and when wanted.

On the similar time, the Nintendo Swap definitely is not good: a lot of the points it has are a consequence of the best way that it dares to try to do all the pieces directly, and it would not all the time get the compromise proper.

Those that aren’t bought on its hybridity and simply need that traditional Nintendo handheld expertise will little question be curiosity within the compact, lighter different: the Nintendo Switch Lite, which affords a solely handheld Swap gaming expertise.

UPDATE: In the course of the coronavirus lockdown, the Nintendo Swap has proved to be the most well-liked gaming console of alternative in lots of international locations. Or at the very least that appears to be the case given it is out of inventory virtually in every single place. If you wish to get in on the Animal Crossing craze otherwise you’ve heard that Breath of the Wild 2 is coming and also you wish to be prepared, we’re monitoring all the newest Nintendo Switch deals and sales proper right here on TechRadar, however should you’re struggling to seek out extra inventory you may wish to take a look at our information on where to buy a Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Swap: value and launch date

  • What’s it? Nintendo’s hybrid console
  • When did it come out? March 3, 2017
  • What does it price? $299.99 within the US, £279.99 within the UK, $469.95 in Australia, R6,999 in South Africa

Nintendo Swap: design

  • Three type elements: handheld, console (docked) and tabletop
  • A lot of equipment, that are susceptible to being misplaced

Within the field together with your shiny new Nintendo Swap you get the principle console, two removable controller sides (Pleasure-Cons), a grip which lets you mix these controller parts right into a extra conventional gamepad, two straps which may make them into two particular person controllers, and a dock for plugging the console into your tv. 

You additionally get a USB Kind-C energy cable (with a non-detachable energy brick) and an HDMI cable for connecting the gadget to your TV. 

When you suppose that seems like a variety of equipment then you definitely’d be proper: we suspect a variety of Nintendo Swap house owners can have misplaced at the very least one or two of those inside the area of some months.

We have taken to wrapping our Pleasure-Con straps round our Pleasure-Con grip simply to maintain all the pieces collectively, however we would love a way of attaching them to the console so they do not find yourself getting misplaced.

It is a fairly novel (to not point out considerably sophisticated) setup, so it is price delving into every of the other ways you need to use the console.

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Swap overview (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Nintendo Swap: handheld mode

  • Larger than conventional handhelds
  • Barely cramped for the proper hand as a consequence of proper analogue stick
  • Break up D-pad on the left aspect

First within the Nintendo Swap modes is handheld mode, the shape issue most just like the {hardware} gadgets that got here earlier than the Swap.

On this configuration you connect the 2 controller parts (the Pleasure-Cons) to the left and proper edges of the display screen, then sport very like you can do with the PlayStation Vita.

In reality, the dimensions and form of the console’s analogue sticks make it really feel rather a lot like a contemporary Vita, although it is not as stable due to the joints that exist between the Pleasure-Cons and the display screen. 

Alongside the highest of the Nintendo Swap is a slot for sport cartridges, a headphone jack (Bluetooth headphones/headsets are at present not supported), a quantity rocker and an influence button. 

The underside of the gadget is much less busy. You’ve got received the kickstand for tabletop mode (extra on this later), which conceals a small microSD slot for expandable storage. Inner storage on the Nintendo Swap is restricted to simply 32GB, so should you’re planning on downloading video games relatively than shopping for them, you may wish to put money into a Nintendo Switch SD card (capacities as much as 2TB are theoretically supported).

Take a look at our unboxing video of the Nintendo Swap under.

The removable Nintendo Swap Pleasure-Cons have rather a lot happening. The fitting hand aspect has the traditional A, B, X, Y button configuration that Nintendo has used on and off for the reason that SNES, an analogue stick (barely awkwardly positioned beneath the face buttons) and two shoulder buttons.

There is a small plus-shaped button appearing because the equal of the Wii U’s ‘Begin’ button, and a house button for reaching the console’s system-level menus. 

Throughout on the left Pleasure-Con it is a very related story, as you’d anticipate. You’ve got received a minus button that acts because the console’s ‘Choose’ button, a share button for taking screenshots and video (in chosen titles), an analogue stick, two shoulder-buttons, and probably the most un-Nintendo D-pad we have ever seen. 

As a substitute of the traditional cross D-pad Nintendo has utilized for the reason that NES, the left Pleasure-Con as an alternative has a set of 4 round buttons which can be similar in form to the face buttons on the proper Pleasure-Con. 

This design determination, which seems very odd at first look, is so the left Pleasure-Con can be utilized as a person controller, with the D-pad appearing as face-buttons on this configuration (once more, extra on this later).

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Swap overview (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Nintendo Swap: console mode

  • Connects to your TV through an included dock
  • Docking course of is seamless, and will be completed mid-game

The second Nintendo Swap form-factor is console mode. You place the principle portion within the included dock, which connects the gadget to your tv – you are then free to detach the Pleasure-Cons to regulate the Swap from a distance.

The best way the console transfers the viewing expertise from its personal display screen to the tv is as seamless because it might probably be, and you do not even should pause your sport. Every part occurs in actual time. 

Detaching the Nintendo Swap Pleasure-Cons generally is a little fiddly, admittedly: it is completed by holding small buttons on their backs and sliding the controllers up.

The TV dock is roughly the identical measurement because the Nintendo Swap’s center portion. Across the again you’ve got received a USB Kind-C port to offer the console with energy, an HDMI port to attach it to your tv, and a USB Kind-A port. 

On the left-hand aspect of the console are an extra two USB ports, primarily used for charging your Swap controllers as you play wirelessly (extra on this in a second).

If you wish to use the Nintendo Swap with a number of televisions all through your house, you may buy additional docks, which make it straightforward to transition from one display screen to a different, plug-and-play fashion.

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Swap overview (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Nintendo Swap: tabletop mode

  • Display can be indifferent and propped up on a desk
  • Nice for two-player gaming, however 4 gamers on the console’s small display screen is a push

The ultimate type issue for the Nintendo Swap is what Nintendo calls ‘tabletop mode’. Utilizing the kickstand that is connected to the again of the display screen, you may prop the console up on a desk after which detach the Pleasure-Cons for some semi-portable gaming. 

In idea, that is good for lengthy journeys on public transport the place you’ve gotten a tray desk to position the console on; in actuality, we discovered it a little bit of a combined expertise. 

We do like having the ability to use the Nintendo Swap Pleasure-Cons within the grip relatively than having them connected to the console – the grip supplies simply sufficient further plastic to make the controllers rather more snug within the palms, and having the console somewhat additional away means your sitting posture generally is a lot extra pure. 

Tabletop mode can be nice for multiplayer on the Swap. Detaching each Pleasure-Cons to permit two individuals to play towards each other is a pleasure: it makes the Nintendo Swap good for whipping out at small gatherings the place you may have already got all the pieces you want for a multiplayer session.

Nonetheless, there are a few points that forestall the console from absolutely capitalizing on this relatively intriguing tabletop mode.

First is the kickstand. Though it is rubberized, which signifies that the Swap would not slide round, it solely helps the console at a single peak: in case your tray desk is somewhat nearer to you then there is no capability to prop the console up in order that it is dealing with you extra instantly, and as an alternative you may be caught with the display screen pointing at your chest relatively than your face. 

Second is the Nintendo Swap charging port, which is inaccessible if you’re utilizing it in tabletop mode. Throughout a latest prepare journey this meant that though we have been within the good state of affairs to make use of tabletop mode, we ended up utilizing the console as a handheld in order that we might cost it up. 

Lastly, for multiplayer gaming the NIntendo Swap display screen is just a bit too small for greater than two gamers. 4-player Mario Kart is nearly not possible because of the measurement and determination of the show (we discovered ourselves placing our faces inches from the console to have the ability to make out distant particulars). 

Total, tabletop mode on the Swap feels higher suited to brief durations of use, which is a disgrace when it feels prefer it ought to be the de facto means to make use of the Nintendo Swap over lengthy durations. 

Nintendo Swap: set-up

  • Set-up is easy sufficient
  • Console must be instructed whether or not Pleasure-Cons are getting used collectively or individually

Organising a model new Nintendo Swap is refreshingly easy, you may be happy to be taught.

When you’re utilizing the gadget as a handheld, merely connect the Pleasure-Cons, press the facility button, and… er… that is it.

If you wish to play Nintendo Swap video games in your TV, you could plug the dock into the TV through HDMI, then hook it as much as some energy through the included USB Kind-C energy lead. The console then simply slips into the dock. 

Pairing the controllers is a bit more sophisticated than with different gadgets due to the truth that they will both be paired or used individually. The best way you inform the Swap which controllers you are utilizing is to press each the L and R shoulder buttons in whichever configuration you’ve got opted for.

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Swap overview (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

So should you’re utilizing the Pleasure-Cons individually, you press the buttons on the Pleasure-Con straps to point that that is the case. 

On the software program aspect, the console asks for the usual mixture of Wi-Fi particulars and person account set-up information. These particulars are a doddle to enter on the console’s touchscreen – the keyboard is not fairly nearly as good as a telephone’s but it surely’s significantly better than a typical console expertise.

After that is taken care, video games will be performed off a cartridge or the Nintendo Swap’s inside reminiscence.

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Introduction, design and set-up

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