Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Hardware Preview

Less than five years since the Wii U was released, Nintendo has launched their next generation console. As the company’s seventh home console to grace Western shores, the Nintendo Switch – formerly codenamed the NX – should have a little more fortune and luck on its side with consumers and developers. Gone are the tougher development days for the Wii U, swept under a glossy marketing rug, and in comes the third-party cavalry (we hope) to strike a resonating chord with young and old Nintendo fans. There’s already been a flurry of developer excitement, as the Switch is reportedly more dev-friendly than its predecessor, so even though I’m not a betting girl, the future does look good.

Out of the box, the Nintendo Switch looks smart. It’s slick, polished and refined. If the Wii U was an old man’s liquor, the Switch is a classy martini with a twist. Sliding the red and blue controllers onto the console gives that oh-so-satisfying click, fixing them in place so they don’t budge. And setting up the Switch is remarkably easy, since it can be completed in ten minutes flat. Inside the box you’ll find your standard wires (AC Adapter and HDMI Cable), as well as two wrist straps, your Joy-Cons, the Switch tablet and its attached stand, a Switch Dock, and a Joy-Con grip.

nintendo_switch_collection
What’s in the box? AC Adapter, HMDI Cable, Switch, Dock, Joy-Cons, two wrist straps and a Joy-Con grip.

When setting up the Switch, the dock has a subtle back panel which can be pulled easily to reveal the HDMI and AC Adapter slots. There’s even an indent at the side so you can slide your cables and neatly tuck them together once the back panel is affixed again. The Switch rests nice and securely in its lithe dock, though can be tricky at first to ascertain where it’s most likely to slide into place. One drawback is the Switch’s cable length, meaning you’ll have to place it much closer to a plug socket than you would with a Wii U. But here’s the good news, there’s no power block, making the console truly portable and much easier on my poor cable situation at the back of the TV. Though let’s be honest, these days it’s probably more of a media corner hub.

Each Joy-Con can be easily detached from the main console by pressing the circular buttons at the back of each controller. Simply slide them off and use them separately, or in the Joy-Con grip which is ideally the most comfortable way to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The wrist straps, though, are a different story. Popping them on is quick and painless, but removing them is like taking a blunt knife and guiding it through a hard cheese block. You’re not getting that cheese anytime soon. After some jimmying – for lack of a better term – the wrist straps pop off by unlocking them, pressing the circular release button and sliding them upwards. It’s more than likely that they will loosen over time, however.

Almost immediately, you’ll feel the difference in weight of the Switch compared to the Wii U GamePad. To me, it feels oddly heavier due to where the weight is placed, despite it actually physically weighing less, and has no back grooves or moulds to support your hands for lengthier play sessions. Resting it on your lap seems to be the best option for now when playing in portable mode. It’s also incredibly smooth to touch, unlike the rougher texture of the GamePad, and feels like it could slip from my hands. While the screen is multi-touch, the Switch also bodes a power and volume button on the top left, as well as a headphone jack and game card slot on the top right, while at the bottom, you’ll find the MicroSD card slot.

Once the console set up is complete, you’ll be prompted to add a user, including choosing a nickname and user icon. Both of these can be changed in the main user profile page later, however. Old habits die hard as they say, so I made sure to copy my Mii from a previously registered amiibo (you can do this in the amiibo menu on system settings) and on to the Switch. Miitomo must have had an effect here, given you can now change your Mii’s facial expression and their pose, alongside choosing a background colour. It’s not as cool as Miifoto, but you get the gist.

nintendo_switch_airplane_mode
The home menu is tidy and minimalistic, coming in white and black colour themes.

Of course, users can also create miis and store up to 100 in the console. It’s largely the same process as the Wii U and 3DS versions, but now you can choose your hair, eyebrow, glasses, lips and eye colours from a vast colour spectrum. Though it appears users are still locked into choosing their favourite shade (ie. their Mii’s shirt colour) from 12 set colours. And while you can seemingly send and receive miis from another console, presumably another Switch, you can’t seem to connect it to a 3DS yet. We’re hoping this may be added in the future.

While the home page is very sparse, minimalistic even, it does bode several tabs such as a news page, the eShop, your album from in-game captures, controller and system settings, along with a sleep mode. There’s also a quick settings mode too, which gives you access to the neat flight mode. At the moment, there’s no sign of an activity log either – perhaps further digging will give us a way to log our in-game time.

As it stands, the Nintendo Switch not only looks beautiful but is also greatly practical too. While it may be minimalistic from its home page and current settings, there’s certainly scope for the future. Not one to miss a trick, I’d say my body is ready… for more.

Disclaimer: Nintendo has provided My Nintendo News with a Switch console for the purposes of this preview. 

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42 comments

  1. Nice article.

    I am surprised at the weight comment though as other outlets have reported it to be lighter than the Wii U gamepad. Is that not so?

    Don’t get me wrong, given the tech I was expecting it t be heavier, it’s just others have stated otherwise.

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    1. Yeah, according to weight in grams it is lighter. I thought that too. But when I actually had them both in my hands, the Wii U GamePad felt lighter and the Switch heavier. I think it’s due to the coating, the lack of moulds and where the weight is placed. On the Switch, the weight is mostly in the middle (with joy-cons attached), so there’s more strain when you hold the console. But on the GamePad it’s heavier on the edges and lighter in the middle. It doesn’t feel as comfortable as the GamePad straight away. Either way, I’ll certainly be addressing that again in the hardware review.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I have to say when writing an article like this the goal is to not lie and try to sway people the wrong way! A blatant lie is the fact you stated the Switch is heavier than the Wii U gamepad! It’s clearly not and if it feels heavier to you then your not able to properly judge weight because the Wii U gamepad was much heavier according to many measurements done! The switch is lighter and for that lie right there that you stated it was heavier made me instantly stop reading this piece! Terrible job fact checking your research’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who rattled your cage? The word ‘feels’ as used in the piece is a subjective word. And since this piece involves the opinion of the author, subjective words are fine. These previews are all ‘stream of consciousness’ type stuff and rightly so.
      This is neither fake news nor alternative fact. It’s just the opinion of the previewer.
      Maybe you’re just jealous she’s got her hands on a Switch and you’ve got to wait with the rest of us proles :p

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors of issues with the Bluetooth signal not being strong enough in some situations to keep the Joycons synced at all times… not sure if it’s valid though.

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    1. You can create a username which serves as your “nickname” it can be changed in the user settings menu at any time, along with your user icon (it doesn’t always have to be your mii). Though I have not linked my Nintendo ID to the console yet, so I don’t know if that has any bearing on it. Will cover this in the review, if I can. :)

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      1. Thanks for the response! What about the User ID though? You didn’t see a connection with that? It’s separate from the NNID. On the My Nintendo account, you can create both a nickname and a User ID.

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      2. Honestly I’m not sure on that one. I can’t actually access the Nintendo Account on the console yet. :) I’ve noted down your question though. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

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      3. Thank you! Just reading up on the Nintendo Account – I don’t actually currently have a User ID associated with mine, as I automatically linked my NNID with it instead and use this to log in. Since you can only have one account associated with your NNID, it’s logical that it can only be used with the email address you signed up to use your NNID / Nintendo Account with. So I assume your user ID has no real bearing on it, it’s your email address that will link. Just guesswork here though. :)

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      4. Oh ok. Thanks for the NNID info, wasn’t sure if you could still log in with that. However, I now remember how GameXplain’s UI tour showed an option to link a Nintendo account. Still, I guess we’ll have to wait and see once online goes up on the Switch. Nintendo hasn’t clarified this online account thing much.

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  4. Have you been able to test the connection between the Switch and the phone app? I’m not even sure if the app is even available yet, but maybe there is something in a manual or whatever.

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  5. “You’re not getting that cheese anytime soon.”
    Must be my bad Norwegian sense of humour, but that is the best description EVER!

    Excellent as always, Colette. Keep it coming!
    I’ve heard the shoulder-buttons are too close each other. Any opinion on that?

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  6. King Kalas X3 {Greatness Awaits at Sony PlayStation 4! Hopefully it will also await us at Nintendo Switch if Nintendo doesn't FUCK things up again!} says:

    Fucking wrist straps! I feel like I’m gonna break the damn things, & the Joy-Cons, trying to get them the fuck off! Not that I might use them much considering even with my small hands, the Joy-Cons are tiny & the tiny buttons don’t help matters. I’m sadly forced to use the grip thingy right now. Hopefully they’ll eventually release bigger Joy-Cons later on that can still work with the regular sized Switch console.

    Like

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