Things We Love: Nintendo Switch

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After reviewing the Nintendo Switch a few months ago, I had to send the Switch back to Nintendo. And while it was impressive, I didn’t feel the need to purchase a Nintendo Switch of my own… at least, not right away. However, my commutes into Manhattan became less and less enjoyable. Forced to play offline mobile games on my iPhone (there’s no signal in the tunnels), the simple controls and lack of a good story on iOS made me long for the Switch. Eventually, I caved and purchased the Nintendo Switch, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Stardew Valley.

Nintendo The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The best feature of the Nintendo Switch is, without a doubt, the sleep mode. The ability to put the Switch down and pick it back up exactly where you left off is a quality-of-life feature that I didn’t know I needed. In comparison, loading up Steam on my PC isn’t too much slower, thanks to my SSD, but there is still a load time. When it comes to the Xbox One, the load times are very noticeable, especially for some games, like GTA V. The difference is even more clear when you compare them side by side, or switch from one system to another. In fact, there have been times where I would be checking my farm on Stardew Valley on the Switch while I waited for my Xbox One to finish loading into a game (don’t judge me).

Nintendo Switch with Gray Controllers

Another interesting feature is the dock. Dropping the Nintendo Switch into the dock and playing on a monitor or TV is quick and easy. Also, if you’re going to play docked often, I highly recommended the Pro Controller. The controller is quite comfortable and responsive. I dare say it feels better than the Xbox One controller and the PS4 DualShock 4 controller. It improved my experience with Zelda: BotW. It was also equally as seamless to remove it from the dock and switch to handheld mode. You no longer need to save the game and return later. Just take it with you, even if it’s to the bathroom (just don’t forget to wash your hands).

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Speaking of portability, the battery life on the Switch is decent. Nintendo said that the built-in 4310mAh battery reach up to 6 hours on a single charge, but it was also dependent on which game I was playing. For instance, I got around three hours with Zelda: BotW (which Nintendo lists on their website). I did switch to airplane mode and turn down the brightness, which I’m sure also helped contribute to the battery life. I also carry around this ASUS ZenPower 10050mAh Portable Battery Pack so I can plug in my Switch (don’t forget your USB Type-C cable) if I’m going to be traveling or out for a bit.

ASUS ZenPower Pro 10050mAh Portable Battery Pack

While the Nintendo Switch is intuitive and impressive, there are some technical flaws. Nintendo had to sacrifice some power to make it portable, so you’ll be stuck with 720p while in handheld mode, which isn’t that big of a deal because it only has a 6.2" screen. It can run at 1080p while docked, but you will probably run into some frame-rate issues. For example, I witness some significant frame-rate drops when there were a lot of enemies on the screen in Zelda: BotW. Fortunately, those times are few and far between (also, probably my fault for aggro’ing so many enemies at once). Overall, all the games looked great, but the kickstand seems a bit flimsy and I feel like I’m going to break it every time I deploy it.

My online experience is limited, since I only borrowed some of my cousin’s multiplayer games for a short time to test it out. I got destroyed by more blue shells than I care to admit in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and my shooter skills from Xbox One and PC didn’t translate well in Splatoon 2. The online system is wonky with friend codes and the need to use the Nintendo Switch Online app for the iOS and Android (for Splatoon 2). And while Nintendo Online is still free for now, it’ll cost you $20 a year starting September 2018. While it’s not as bad as the $60 for Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, it is yet another cost added to the Switch.

Nintendo Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

I won’t get into the whole debate between physical and digital copies of games. Each has its pros and cons. I tend to like physical copies because I can always resell them after I’m finished. However, with the Switch, I decided to take a digital approach because most of the games I want on it have high replay value and are games I probably wouldn’t sell anyway. The Nintendo Switch has 32GB of internal storage, which isn’t a lot of space if you’re going to be downloading all your games. Luckily, there’s a microSD card slot, so I purchased and installed a SanDisk 200GB microSDXC Card. Now I have a physical Zelda: BotW game card inserted, and digital copies of Super Mario Odyssey and Stardew Valley downloaded. This allows me, essentially, to carry all three games with me without needing to carry around all the games. I still have plenty of storage space for more games without the added bulk.

The last Nintendo gaming console I’ve owned before the Switch was the Nintendo 64. And while the 64 was unique with its share of classic games, I had since moved on to the Xbox and PC. I missed out on the GameCube, briefly played into the hype of the Wii, and completely skipped over the Wii U. The Switch has reignited my interest in Nintendo. Zelda: BotW is an amazing game with lots of depth, Super Mario Odyssey is a simple yet challenging 3D platformer with unique characters and Easter eggs, and Stardew Valley is a PC port that can easily become addicting with its simple charm of owning a farm.

SanDisk 200GB Ultra UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card

The Nintendo Switch is definitely a versatile gaming console that can be a supplement to your already existing gaming systems, like the Xbox One, the PS4, and PC. If you travel a lot, commute to work, or just want to play while lying down in bed, the Nintendo Switch can do it all.

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