Computers / Hands-on Review

We Unbox the Nintendo Switch

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Gamers around the world have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Switch, Nintendo’s latest foray into video game consoles. Nintendo has long been a powerhouse in the gaming industry, and with that great power comes great responsibility—many industry insiders believe that the Nintendo Switch is the last chance the Kyoto-based gaming giant has to reclaim its former glory.

Fortunately, the system seems to be living up to its hype. Although we got an early look at the Nintendo Switch—read the article here—we just received our very own in-house unit and, we have to say, it’s probably one of the most exciting unboxings I’ve seen here in a long time.

B&H is now selling the Nintendo Switch systems, games and accessories (preorders for the system  started at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 3), and they are selling out fast. Our advantage—no one thinks a photo, audio, and video SuperStore also sells electronics, but we offer a lineup of games, home video game consoles, and accessories for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, gaming PCs laptops and accessories, virtual reality headsets, and more.

So, how does the Nintendo Switch stack up against the other two main home consoles? You’ll have to wait for the full review when B&H presents Gaming Week, in two weeks. You’ll see articles extolling the virtues and pitfalls of the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One S, and PlayStation 4 Pro. We’ll also talk about the game lineups and what they offer, along with the target audience they’ll hit.

As for the Nintendo Switch, it promises to be a powerful and influential game system but, right now, it’s just a promise. The lineup of launch games includes one stellar title, a title so many people have been looking forward to that it will drive system sales on its reputation alone: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Is this one game worth the price tag of the whole system? The answer is probably going to be yes. At this moment, only three hours into the launch, the Zelda game is selling on a one-to-one scale with the systems. We also sell a deluxe edition of Breath of the Wild that includes extras like a Sheikah Eye Collectible Coin, Sheikah Slate Carrying Case for the Nintendo Switch, a Relic of Hyrule: Calamity Ganon Tapestry and Weather-Worn Map and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sound Selection CD.

The unit comes in several pieces, so some assembly is required. The main unit is a 6.2" 720p 10-point capacitive display. It’s a sharp, thin tablet that will let you access the Switch’s portability features. Also included are two Joy-Con controllers, a left and right controller that attach to the sides of the tablet (it’s seamless; you slide them in, they lock, and you press a button to unlock them and slide them out). The ones we used were both gray, but there is a Nintendo Switch system that contains red and blue controllers. If you’re the kind of gamer who loses a lot of peripherals, opt for the red and blue; they’re easier to find when tucked under a sofa cushion, trust me.

Also in the box is a Nintendo Switch controller grip; you slot the two Joy-Cons into the grip, and you end up with a seemingly standard classic game controller. More on its functionality and ease of use in the review next week. Additionally, you also get two wrist straps for the controllers, a power adapter, and an HDMI cable.

The HDMI cable is for the Nintendo Switch charging dock. The real excitement around the Switch is that it’s made to let you “switch” seamlessly from a portable gaming tablet to one that connects to your TV via the included TV dock. How seamlessly does it work? Again, we’ll let you know more in our review in a couple of weeks.  

The top of the tablet has a covered slot for game cards (yes, game cards), a volume rocker panel and power button, and a headphone jack, with a speaker grille that occupies the middle section. The bottom of the unit has the USB Type-C port that fits into the TV charger dock. The tablet can be powered separately from the charging dock, and can also charge the Joy-Con controllers when attached to the tablet. Charging times and longevity of the batteries will also be discussed in the review.

For right now, the only game that matters is The Legend of Zelda, but there are many more on the horizon, including Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart, and Street Fighter. Pick up a Nintendo Switch today, and you’ll be future proofing your entertainment options. By the time you finish playing Breath of the Wild, other games should be ready to enjoy.

A couple of pluses right out of the box: the screen is super crisp and the touch feature is quite clean, unlike the Wii U touchpad, which felt far clumsier and unresponsive. Another plus is the ease with which this thing connects—plug it into the HDMI port of your TV, and you’re good to go. The design of the Joy-Con controllers, although a little cramped when used separately, fits right into the unit and the Joy-Con grip seamlessly. The haptic feature of the Joy-Cons is also a big improvement over last-gen systems, so games like ARMS will be amazing to play. You may want to consider purchasing a separate Nintendo Switch Pro Controller when you’re ready for gaming with a friend.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

That’s our unboxing. As we stated before, check back with us in a couple of weeks for the full review of the system. Remember to always check B&H for the latest in gaming hardware and software. We’re a hidden gem in the vast ocean of electronics retailers.

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