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The Nintendo Switch launched on March 3rd. If you weren’t one of the people pre-ordering within days of release or waiting in line for hours at launch, you might be one of many people on the fence about picking one up. Don’t worry, because a lot of people are in the same boat. Luckily we’ve picked one up to let you know what to expect!

Handheld or Console

The Switch is unique in its design, in that it is both a standard console as well as a handheld. As a console, it handles about as one would expect. The controllers can be a bit of a pain to deal with since unless you purchase a Pro Controller for $70 or a Charging Power Grip for $30, you have to put the Joy-Cons on the Switch to charge them. This puts the system in a position to be used as a handheld about half the time. Luckily, this is where the system shines and is quite the device to use.

While being used as a handheld, the screen size and power of the device puts the Switch well above competitors. Other handhelds feel piddly in comparison to the large screen and amazing graphics. You can choose to leave the Switch off the dock and charge it with a cable when needed, or you can use the charge time as an opportunity to put the Switch in the dock. Doing so instantly turns it into a console without any sort of delays or pauses. It really is as quick and easy as they show in the trailers.

Interface

An image of the Nintendo Switch with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild playing.The bootup time of the Switch is amazingly quick. Resuming your game from sleep mode is almost as quick as flipping open a 3DS lid. No more wasting precious time settling in just to start playing a game. If you are familiar with the 3DS interface, the Switch will make you feel right at home. After booting up a game for the first time however, you are required to install game data though, which is closer in feel to the PS/Xbox feel. No matter your preference though, they make it quick and easy to locate everything you need.

Games

One of the biggest draws to Nintendo consoles are the proprietary titles. At launch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is definitely the biggest draw. While the Wii U had backwards compatibility, the Switch is left without many games to choose from. In the past, Nintendo has been great at opening up their virtual consoles in the store so that you can relive old titles, so there is hope that the problem will be remedied. Until then however, if you aren’t a huge fan of Zelda, there isn’t much to choose from.

New Online Features

Previous Nintendo devices have had internet and eshop. These have always provided a basic interface and lacked a lot of the features from competing consoles. Their new online service will turn to a paid service starting in fall of 2017. Amid the outrage some people expressed over having to pay for a once free service, there is quite the upside as well. New features like exclusive deals, monthly game downloads, and online lobbies with voice chat put it up to par with other consoles. If these aren’t up your alley, there will still be basic online features that match the existing Nintendo eshop interface.

Price

Price has been a big deal for a lot of people with the release of the Switch. Compared to the 3DS, which was $250 at launch and the Wii U which was $300, the price of the device alone isn’t too bad. When you dig into it a little bit though, you find that doesn’t include any games. Accessories are also far more expensive than people would like. After adding just a few basic items to your shopping cart, the price quickly shoots up to an easy $600. If you want to scrape by with the bare minimum, the price is quite comparable but if you want to up your game, you’ll have to pay for it!

Additional Gear

Aside from the basics like controllers, chargers, and other console-specific items, there are additional things that the Switch can use. The internal storage might be very fast, but is only 32GB in size. That means that picking up some additional storage in the form of an SDXC card is a must. While picking up a knock off 128GB from Amazon for $11 can be quite tempting, dropping the extra money on a high-speed (Class 10) card from a quality manufacturer like Kingston is important if you want to keep load and save times to a minimum.

Playing the Switch on the go still looks great, but the audio quality of all handhelds doesn’t quite hit the mark. We have previously covered the HyperX Cloud Stinger, and its the perfect solution. Don’t skip out on the amazing audio of Zelda titles, and do yourself a favor by immersing yourself so you can enjoy the full range of sound like the developers intended. As competitive titles start to roll out like Splatoon 2, it will be important to have a great headset to communicate with teams. A headset and SD card are a must if you plan to take gaming seriously on the Nintendo Switch.

Final Thoughts

The Nintendo Switch is an amazing console/handheld hybrid. It brings the best of both worlds together into a piece of gear that satisfies the needs of both types of gamers. If you’re on the fence about it, the new features make the leap worth it. The speed of handhelds meets the power of consoles in the perfect way. Games will come out in time, but the titles now will keep you occupied until then. The Nintendo Switch is a purchase you are sure to not regret.

Images have been provided by Damian Estrada.

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