Nintendo Switch is one piece of hardware that can function as both, a console and a handheld, allowing you to seamlessly transition from playing your games at home to taking them on the go.
First up is handheld mode; in this configuration you attach the two controller portions (the Joy-Cons) to the left and right edges of the screen, and use the console.
Along the top of the device, you’ve got a slot for game cartridges, a headphone jack (Bluetooth headphones/headsets are not supported), a volume rocker and a power button. The bottom of the device has a kickstand for using it in tabletop mode, concealing a small microSD slot which provides the console’s expandable storage. Internal storage is limited to just 32GB, so if you plan on downloading games rather than buying them then you will require a microSD card.
On the right hand side of the detachable Joy-Cons there is classic A, B, X, Y button configuration and two shoulder buttons. There is a small plus-shaped button which acts as ‘Start’ button, and a home button for reaching the console’s system-level menus.
Across on the left Joy-Con, there is a minus button that acts as the console’s ‘Select’ button, a share button for taking screenshots, an analogue stick, two shoulder-buttons, and a D-pad. Instead of the classic cross D-pad the company has utilised since the NES, the left Joy-Con instead, has a set of four circular buttons that are identical in shape to the face buttons on the right Joy-Con.
In console mode, you place the main portion of the console in the included dock which connects the device to your television. This allows you to detach the Joy-Cons to control the Switch from a distance.
This TV dock is around the same size as the Switch’s middle portion. Around the back, you’ve got a USB Type-C port to provide the console with power, an HDMI port to connect it to your television, and a USB Type-A port. On the left-hand side of the console are two more USB ports, which will mainly be used for charging your controllers as you play wirelessly.
Using the kickstand that’s attached to the back of the screen, you can prop the console up on a table and then detach the Joy-Cons for some semi-portable gaming. The screen can also be detached and propped up on a table.
In many ways it's a big success, offering an exceptional level of handheld graphical quality, before seamlessly transitioning into a home console – but this very adaptability has necessitated compromises which mean it isn't quite as good as the dedicated consoles and handhelds that have gone before it.
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