At launch, no console is a complete experience, simply by virtue of the fact that most of its games are yet to see the light of day. 

But the Switch suffers more than normal from this problem. At launch its virtual console is missing, and its full-featured online service is still months away. 

There are also a number of features we’ve been unable to test in the pre-release period while we’ve had the Switch. The eShop has been missing, and at launch there aren’t any games available to allow you to link multiple Switch consoles together locally for multiplayer gaming. 

It’s important, then, to emphasise that this review will be a constantly evolving appraisal of the console, with new features evaluated as they become available. 

We liked

When compared with the handheld consoles that have come before it, the Nintendo Switch blows them out of the water with its graphical quality, which comes close to the last generation of consoles. 

This is helped by its impressive screen which is bright, crisp, and colorful. 

Providing the console with a controller that also doubles as two individual controllers is a very neat inclusion, and should mean that you’re never unable to join a friend for a quick multiplayer game while you’re out and about. 

The docking and undocking process is impressively seamless, with games that don’t even need to be paused before being plugged into a television. 

We disliked

The phrase ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ may sound negative, but the impression the Nintendo Switch has left us with is that sometimes compromise is a necessary, good thing. 

Yes there are better home consoles out there with controllers that can be good at doing just one thing, and yes there are handhelds out there that have better battery life and a more compact form-factor, but no other piece of gaming hardware has attempted the sheer amount of things as the Nintendo Switch and delivered so competently on so many of them. 

The graphics aren’t the best around, but they’re good enough that they don’t feel dated. The controller isn’t the most comfortable, but it never feels outright difficult to use. The battery life isn’t the best, but its enough for daily use. 

All of these have been born out of compromise and an attempt to make something that works in so many situations, and on that final point the Nintendo Switch is a great success. 

What remains to be seen is if, in the years ahead, its games library can shape up to be something you’ll want to play both at home and on the go, and whether its online service can compete with the existing efforts from Sony and Microsoft. 

If both of these play out well, then Nintendo will have found a compromise worth making. 

So is it worth the $299.99 (£279.99 / AU$469.95) asking price? Unless you absolutely have to play Breath of the Wild (and you don't already own a Wii U) then at launch the answer has to be 'no'. The online functionality is unproven and the library of games just isn't there yet. 

By the end of the year that could all change. There are some very interesting releases on the way. The Super Mario series rarely puts a foot wrong, Mario Kart 8 was great on the Wii U, and by that point we'll finally have been able to try out the full online service. 

That said, this is a very promising start, and its 4-star rating is evidence of that. There's little wrong with the hardware, but developers need to build on this solid foundation to make the Nintendo Switch a truly essential package.