Respected technology publication Digital Foundry is reporting that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs better in portable mode rather than docked. When Breath of the Wild is docked you can notice major frame rate drops whereas these aren’t so noticeable playing the game in portable mode. You can see examples in the video, below.
“Beyond performance, there is very, very little to separate the visual experience. Yes, the game runs at a higher resolution when hooked up to your HDTV, but the presentation on the 720p 6.2-inch display looks beautiful, and while the pixels-per-inch metrics may not impress by smartphone standards, it’s still enough to ensure that the complete lack of anti-aliasing isn’t that much of an issue, especially as the game renders at the screen’s native resolution. Zelda looks crisp and precise in handheld form, while the blown-up image on your flatscreen serves to emphasise the less impressive aspects of the game’s image quality.”
“However, playing while docked highlights one visual improvement: texture filtering still isn’t great, but it’s clearly improved over the handheld version, resolving more ground detail in particular further away from the player. Will you actually notice outside of eyeballing screenshots? It’s highly unlikely. Miniaturising the action onto the 6.2-inch screen makes the difference virtually indistinguishable, and the improvement – such as it is – manifests as a ‘band’ of additional texture detail just ahead of the Link character.”
“Otherwise, the experience is identical. Nintendo could have made minor tweaks to engine settings in order to accommodate the handheld mode’s slower GPU clocks, but as it turns out, that’s not required. The lighting is unchanged, level of detail transitions and pop-in (such as it is) are like-for-like and shadow quality is a match. Overall, expectations of Switch performance here are reversed when looking at final code – going in, we’d expect downgrades in the mobile execution of the game owing to reduced GPU power, but it’s actually in handheld form where we find the smoothest experience.”