So I’ve spent a weekend putting my new Switch to the test and forming an opinion on the system as a whole. I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve read a number of instances of people having issues — from scratching the screen while docking to dead pixels to blue screens of death and skinning messing up the system’s finishing.
These are all really unfortunate situations, but I will report that on my end, I haven’t seen any of these problems. I’ve been super careful while docking my system, and have already purchased a screen protector (which should arrive Wednesday). I’ve played my Switch several hours every day, and thus far, everything has gone just fine.
The Switch itself is just a tablet with a dock and the ability to hook up to controllers on either end. While this is exactly what I expected, it’s still a little amazing what this tablet does. Just like in the ads, sliding it into the dock projects the game on my TV (though with a few seconds of lag), and pulling it out of the dock instantly projects it on the tablet.
I’m using it primarily as a TV gaming console, so that’s the focus of my review. I’m happy that it offers portability, however. I’m just being super careful with the system when it’s out of the dock until I get that screen protector!
My biggest concern going into this was with the joy-cons and their design. They just didn’t look at first glance to be controllers that could handle heavy game play or be real comfortable to play for hours. I was convinced that I’d be rushing out to get a pro controller the first day.
I was wrong about this.
I stuck the joy-cons in the the controller grip, and it felt every bit like a solid controller. Putting many hours into Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I never once felt like the joy-cons couldn’t do the job. It’s also much more comfortable than I expected. Keep in mind, though, I have small hands, so a controller of this size fits me perfectly.
I also didn’t have any issues with joy-con connectivity. I’ve read folks with issues, especially with the left joy-con, but did not experience this myself. Granted, I’m sitting about six feet away from the system and have it up on a shelf with nothing blocking the signal between myself and the Switch.
The one small complaint I have about the joy-cons is the tiny little release button you have to hold to slide it out of the grip or the system. Its location is kinda wonky and I find myself accidentally clicking all other kinds of buttons on the controller as I attempt to slide it out. It’s not a game-breaker, but a slight annoyance.
I also had initial confusion with the dock itself until I discovered it had a back flap which was covering the location of the plug slots. Once I found that, though, it was no big deal.
The Switch software setup was quick and painless. I had it out of the box and running in less than 10 minutes. Most of that time was spent puzzling over how to plug in the dock (which I did figure out fairly quickly).
The Switch found my Internet connection without any trouble. It connected to my existing My Nintendo account for the e-shop like a boss. It had two short updates that downloaded super fast. One was for the system itself. One was for when I inserted the micro SD card the first time. Zelda also had an update, but that took no time at all to complete.
The system has a wonderful, clean UI and a very uncomplicated operating system. And, as I hoped, it saves screenshots to the micro SD card, which means I can pull the card out to transfer images to my computer. Thank you!
I’m also happy about the Friends section. I know that some people are grumbling about having friend codes, but it’s really not that big of a deal.
I was able to connect with my sister and brother-in-law using their friend codes. However, the Switch also recognized and recommended friends that I’d connected to through playing Miitomo. This was very cool because I could invite folks that I probably wouldn’t have even known had a Switch.
In fact, I have more friends in the first three days of owning a Switch than I ever did using the MiiVerse on the Wii U.
This isn’t saying anything about the experiences I’ve had playing Zelda yet — I’m super impressed with this game and plan to have a solid playthrough series of articles for the game starting soon.