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Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Switch marks the dawn of the console-handheld hybrid

Nintendo Switch review
Image credit: TechRadar

By all accounts the Nintendo Switch has had an amazing start to life, with a number of excellent exclusive games and solid sales.

However, the complete package (including Nintendo Switch Online) has only just become available, so we'll have to reserve judgment on that part of the Nintendo Switch experience for the time being.

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 always able to join a friend for a quick multiplayer game while you're out and about. 

We're pleased to report that the Nintendo Switch docking and undocking process is impressively seamless too, with games that don't even need to be paused before being plugged into a television.

We also like the pattern of regular updates that Nintendo has established: Fortnite has just been added, for example, and the  online service seems set to shake things up once again.

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo Switch review (Image credit: TechRadar)

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 necessary and good. 

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 number of things as the Nintendo Switch does – and then 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 it's enough for daily use. 

Final verdict

All of these trade-offs 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 set of compromises worth making. 

So is the $299.99 / £279.99 / AU$469.95 asking price justified? At this point the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Nintendo has released excellent game after excellent game for the system, and the hardware does a great job of making these games come alive. 

It's also worth mentioning there are often some really good value bundles available across all markets – for more on this check out our guide to the latest Nintendo Switch bundles and deals.

But if you're after a 'complete' console experience, then you might have to wait a while longer to see how Nintendo Switch Online pans out.

Image Credit: Nintendo

Image Credit: Nintendo (Image credit: Nintendo)

Should I wait for the Nintendo Switch Lite?

We highly recommend the Nintendo Switch, but everything has been shaken up by news that the Nintendo Switch Lite is on its way in September 2019. 

According to Nintendo, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a device "dedicated to handheld gameplay", has integrated controls and, unlike its larger predecessor, will not support video output to TV.

That means, so far, what we know is the Lite is, as you probably guessed, a lighter version than the Nintendo Switch. Not only will it cost less, but it's designed to be only handheld rather than syncing up to your TV. Depending on what you need the Switch for, and how you game already, it could be relatively easy to figure out which one you need. 

If you want to know whether you should wait for the Lite version of the console, check out our guide: Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: which one is for you? 

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-AV Editor for TechRadar. He wrote for magazine and websites such as The Verge, Practical Photoshop, TrustedReviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes, Plant Services Magazine