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Nintendo Switch review

Get the Nintendo Switch for its portability and wide game library.

Nintendo Switch review
(Image: © Nintendo)

Our Verdict

The Switch's signature docked/portable modes are perhaps reason enough to buy one. However it also offers Nintendo's best library of games yet, and they're easy to share and play with others, despite its lower specs and confusing online system.

For

  • - Handheld portability
  • - Varied selection of games
  • - Excellent local multiplayer options

Against

  • - Worse graphics than rivals
  • - Poorly optimised online
Nintendo Switch specs...

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

Size: 102 x 239mm x 13.9mm (with Joy-Cons)
Weight: 297g (398g with Joy-Cons)
Processor: Customised NVIDIA Tegra
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 at 60fps (docked), 1280 x 720 (handheld)
Screen: 6.2-inch (1280 x 720) LCD touchscreen
Storage: 32GB, expandable with microSD cards
Battery: 4,310 mAh

Four years after its launch, the Nintendo Switch remains a fantastic games console. At its core, the Switch follows in the footsteps of the Wii U, Wii and other Nintendo consoles that preceded it by offering a family-focussed first-party library, playable with traditional gamepads, motion controls and more. But unlike those consoles, the Switch can do much more.

The big difference is its ability to be played both plugged into a TV or as a dedicated handheld. Add to that the fact that the Switch now offers many ports of older AAA titles and indie games, and the Switch has a wider appeal that older Nintendo machines never had. It's now able to compete both directly with the PS5 and Xbox Series X's libraries while offering a different vision of what console hardware can do.

While the new PlayStation and Xbox are more powerful, and have more developed online multiplayer systems, the Switch is still worth a look from diehard Sony or Microsoft customers. Read on for our Nintendo Switch review's closer look at the key parts of the Switch experience, including its features, games and more.

Already decided to get the Nintendo Switch? Check out the best Nintendo Switch headsets and best Nintendo Switch games. If you want to double up on controllers and save some cash, here are the best Nintendo Switch Joy-Con deals. Want something different? Try our pick of the best games consoles.

Nintendo Switch features

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

The core of the Switch's personality is its ability to be played either as a handheld, on a tabletop, or docked into a separate display. It's something no other console can offer, and makes for a consistent source of entertainment at home or on the move.

One of the Switch's other unparalleled abilities is local multiplayer. You can pair up to eight sets of controllers with one Switch, and pair multiple Switch consoles together for up to 64-player games. The Joy-Cons that come with the Switch can also function as two sets of controls for instant two-player gaming.

Nintendo Switch build and design

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

The Switch console itself is a simple rectangle, with some buttons on top, and a touchscreen on the front. The two included Joy-Con controllers are either a sensible grey or a more playful red/blue pair depending on which version you get. If you don't like either option, you can buy different coloured controllers from Nintendo to swap in instead.

The dock is another functional rectangle. It features a slot for the console with a USB-C port, USB ports on the side for peripherals and HDMI and power ports on the back, hidden behind a fold-out panel.

This colourful package is a lot busier looking than the monolithic Xbox Series X, or the PlayStation 5's confusing mix of lines and curves. However the Switch is smaller than both, which makes it easier to find a home for.

Nintendo Switch price

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

At £299, the Switch is cheap for a current-generation console; the same price as the Xbox Series S. The only cheaper option is the Nintendo Switch Lite, which costs £199 but cannot plug into a screen or detach its controllers.

Nintendo isn't keen on offering money off its products, but there are occasionally notable discounts to be found on the Switch, particularly when bundled with games. Look out for these if you want the best deal.

Nintendo Switch availability

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

The Nintendo Switch launched back in 2017. However a revamped edition with a longer-lasting battery came out in 2019. When buying a Switch, make sure you buy the version with the all-red packaging to get this better version.

There have been some stocking difficulties for the Nintendo Switch over the past year. Fortunately these seem to have blown over, unlike other consoles we could mention.

Nintendo Switch controllers and peripherals

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

The basic Joy-Cons are two halves of a standard gamepad, but also contain Nintendo Wii-style motion controls, an infrared sensor and an NFC sensor for different kinds of gaming.

The Pro Controller is sold separately, and is a more standard-looking gamepad, although it still has motion controls. Beyond that there's Nintendo Labo, a series of cardboard toys that become interactive with the insertion of a controller or the whole console.

Nintendo Switch performance

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

With its NVIDIA Tegra chipset, the Switch is capable of displaying games at 60Hz and 1080p when docked, or 720p on its built-in display. These are acceptable numbers, but compared to the 4K output and 120Hz refresh rates of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it can't compete.

You also get 32GB of internal memory to store save files and downloaded games on the Switch. It's more space than you think since Switch games tend to be smaller than comparable titles on other consoles. However you will have to buy a microSD card or a Switch Online subscription if you need more room.

Nintendo Switch game library

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

Nintendo is famous for first-party games, and the Switch has brought in some excellent new installments. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are just some of the great titles only the Switch offers.

The Switch is also a great place to play indie games. The eShop hosts a variety of smaller games that you'd normally find on PC or occasionally on the PlayStation or Xbox. Titles like Celeste, Hollow Knight, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Hades add a new layer of appeal to the Switch if the first-party games aren't for you.

You can find a few older members of gaming's greatest hits on the Switch too. This includes the remake of Crysis, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Doom (2016). Many players may have experienced these already, but they're new terrain for those who've stayed within the Nintendo ecosystem.

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch review

(Image credit: Future)

While local multiplayer is one of the strongest parts of the Switch experience, the online multiplayer however is not quite as competent.

To play some games online with your Switch, you need the Switch Online subscription. However, many titles don't require it. It's a weird inconsistency, so make sure you only pay for it if you need it for a specific game, or you want its other benefits like cloud storage for your saves.

Furthermore, while Sony and Microsoft have voice chat well implemented on their consoles. Nintendo instead requires you to hook up your phone to act as your in-game microphone via the Nintendo Switch app. It's hardly convenient.

Nintendo Switch — should you buy it?

The Nintendo Switch is easy to love. The convertible play style cannot be matched by other home consoles, and the library is chock-full of hit games, so you won't be bored. And if you happen to find a friend or another Switch owner to play with, it gets even better.

That said, its graphics can't compete with the ray-tracing and 4K-ready visuals of the PS5 or Xbox Series X. Plus the Switch's small storage means you'll be more reliant on swapping game cards, or buying external storage.

If you're desperate to make the next-gen jump, the Xbox Series S may serve you better than the Switch. Don't overlook the cheaper Nintendo Switch Lite either if you just want the handheld experience or exclusive games. If you're looking for a versatile console though, which works just as well in or out of your home, and whether you're playing alone or with friends, the Switch gets an almost unreserved recommendation.

Buy a Nintendo Switch now!

The Verdict
9

out of 10

Nintendo Switch review

The Switch's signature docked/portable modes are perhaps reason enough to buy one. However it also offers Nintendo's best library of games yet, and they're easy to share and play with others, despite its lower specs and confusing online system.