Should you buy a Nintendo Switch console?

Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch is, in many ways, this generation’s must-have console. Only a few years after the launch of the unloved Wii U home console, Nintendo changed the gaming landscape with a hybrid console that was at home in your living room as it was in your bag for on-the-go play.

But while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been around the block and had their prices (and revised console builds) reflect that, Nintendo’s gear – as ever with the produce from the Mario House – has retained its premium pricing. And if you’re holding out for a price drop, a better bundle deal, or even a hardware upgrade, you may be tempted to wait for the stars to align in your favor.

As ever, TechRadar is here to help. If you’re on the fence about the Nintendo Switch, we’ve run through the key arguments for and against the popular gaming machine, and whether now is the time to buy. If you’re already convinced, though, you can skip straight to the cheapest Nintendo Switch prices.

Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)

For: why you SHOULD buy a Nintendo Switch

Its library of games is fantastic

Consoles always get off to a slow start when they’re new. A few key exclusives here, a smattering of third party developers testing the waters here. But the line-up of Nintendo Switch games is now full of great options for all sorts of play-styles.

You’ve now got generational classics like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild sitting next to brand new must-haves like Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Then you’ve got cross-platform smash-hits like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the superb Diablo 3, along with indie hits like Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Golf Story and Stardew Valley.  We’ve talked in the past about the Nintendo Switch being the perfect “second console” for a home after a PS4 or Xbox One, but with a line-up like that now, it could very well deserve to be your primary machine.

And while there's only so much internal storage on the console (32GB) to fit in those games, a Nintendo Switch memory card gives you a lot of room to expand.

It’s the best console for local cooperative and competitive multiplayer play

Since the days of the multi-tap and four-ported N64 console, Nintendo has always been very supportive of local multiplayer, and that tradition continues with the Nintendo Switch. Packed in with two controllers (each half of the motion-sensing Joy-Cons can act as its own individual pad), out of the box you’re ready to play. The fact that you can set it up with its onboard screen and kickstand mean that you can huddle around and play no matter where you are – and keep from annoying mum and dad on the big telly.

Nintendo's commitment to multiplayer titles is also key here though, with many supporting as many as eight local players at once, including the smashing Smash Bros. From Mario Party to Mario Kart to Overcooked 2 to Snipperclips, there are loads of ways to enjoy Nintendo Switch fun with a friend.

Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch is a perfect travel companion

The first of its kind, the Nintendo Switch can be docked with a bigscreen TV for living room play, or taken out as a handheld console with controllers attached to either side of its main unit screen, with up to six hours of battery-powered play. 

As mentioned earlier, there’s even a kickstand to gather around with friends when no other screen is available. This makes the Nintendo Switch perfectly suited for car, train or airplane trips, giving you the option to bring console quality play on the go with you.

Great games on the horizon

It’s been a big year for the Nintendo Switch, but 2019 could be the year when the console truly comes into its own. We’re waiting on the releases of hotly anticipated titles like Metroid Prime 4, a fully-fledged all new Pokemon game, Luigi’s Mansion 3, a new Yoshi platformer, Doom Eternal and a new Animal Crossing game. Things can only get better from here on in.

If you're convinced, be sure to check out the latest Nintendo Switch deals.

Against: why you SHOULDN'T buy a Nintendo Switch

It could get cheaper... at some point

However, with all the positives up top said and done, the Nintendo Switch is still a relatively pricey console for its age. Black Friday came and went without a killer price-cut or bundle deal, with the Switch’s price more-or-less staying the same in the run up to Christmas as it has in the entire 12 months preceding it. 

Switch consoles are still selling consistently, so there's no immediate incentive for a price drop. If nothing else, we could see some more generous bundle deals as retailers try to trade on the console's continued success.

Nintendo Switch Online service

Nintendo Switch Online service still needs refinement

Nintendo has never been all that great at online play, and the Nintendo Switch Online Service still leaves us wanting. While it’s affordable compared to the competition and its included library of classic old school NES games is fun, it lacks the polish of Sony’s PS Plus or Microsoft’s Xbox Live. It’s still too tricky to add and find friends, there’s no onboard console chat – while Nintendo’s own first party must-have online brawler, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, has courted controversy for the way it handles certain online play elements.

There could be a Nintendo Switch 2 on the way

This is still all whispers and hear-say, but rumor has it we could be seeing a new Nintendo Switch, even a Nintendo Switch 2, on the way before long. A Wall Street Journal report back in October stated that the company was planning a rejigged Switch that would make use of a higher-quality LCD screen that would not only look better and brighter than what’s currently on offer, but deliver improved battery life too. Existing peripherals are expected to work with the revised machine, with some slight hardware improvements and potential new software features.

Of course, it’s a rumor at this stage, with Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa stating a new model wasn't currently on the cards. But, with units to shift they would say that, right? And, if you look at the Nintendo Switch in the light of Nintendo’s previous handheld hardware, from the Gameboy to the 3DS each machine has had regular hardware reworkings. It may not come soon, but we’d put money on the fact this will be on the way before very long at all.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.