The Nintendo Switch has been reviewed to death and verdicts vary across the board. Some good, some bad, but overall, it seems it’s been a fairly well-received product. In terms of sales at least, it is reportedly Nintendo’s best selling console at launch, surpassing even the original Wii.
And yet it seems like the elusive device is very hard to get your hands on. So many people are anxious to buy it despite a plethora of launch problems such as dead pixels, un-syncing controllers and even the dock scratching the console’s screen, and its sold out everywhere in stores.
So if you’re a broke college student desperate to get one, here are a few things to keep in mind.
As of now, the console has a complete lack of media functionality. It has no other purpose other than to play games, which is what most people would use it for anyways. But if you were expecting the Switch to replace your iPad or browse the web in between classes, you might be very disappointed. Unfortunately, it hasn’t even been officially confirmed yet if the device will accommodate basic apps like Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, etc, and considering the Nintendo eShop is the closest thing we have to an App Store, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
For gaming, however, it does the job right. Granted, it’s not cutting-edge technology by any means (a four-year-old original PS4 and Xbox One still out perform it), but it’s not supposed to. Nintendo is not hoping to compete in the market of eye-popping graphics. And yet Zelda, probably the only must-have title released so far, is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been taking pictures with the built-in screenshot button like an American tourist at Niagara Falls. It just goes to show how resolution and amazing graphics aren’t everything when it comes to creating a gorgeous looking game.
This is probably the main selling point of the console. But does it deliver? Yes and no. I can fit it in the back of my pants’ pocket (and I’m a pretty skinny guy). So as long as you’re not wearing girl jeans, you can probably cram it in there. The problem is, are you really going to? The joysticks stick out and press awkwardly in tight spaces and the screen is easily scratchable. The rubber padding on the right joy-con is already kind of wonky-looking on my Switch and it has a key mark or two. Let’s face it, I may be crazy, but most people aren’t going to want to risk damaging their brand new $300 console in their pocket especially with such a flimsy, plastic screen.
And if you put on any kind of protective case, it’s going to add considerable bulk. You may have trouble fitting it in any purse. In fact, you would be better off putting the whole thing in your backpack.
That said, it’s still extremely cool to be able to take a console experience on the go. Even if it’s a bit troublesome. Zelda on the go is a thrilling experience.
Not great but not the worst either. It barely lasts three hours. Now, if you’re a busy college student like me and you only take it out for a few minutes at a time in between classes or waiting for the bus, you’ll probably be just fine. Otherwise, be prepared to drop in an additional 30-50 dollars in a battery pack.
The Switch definitely feels premium, especially for a Nintendo product. I wouldn’t go as far as to compare it with Apple products as other reviewers, but it’s so much better than the toy-looking piece of plastic that is the 3DS. With the gorgeous looking IPS panel screen, it looks and feels like you’re holding a high-quality product.
Note that a lot of people have been complaining about the placement of the joysticks. Your hands fit at different angles on the sides since your right hand has to hold the device slightly lower than the left. I haven’t perceived it to be a major issue and I’ve grown so used to the feel of the joy cons that I grown to love it. But if this sounds like the kind of thing that would throw you off, you should find someone with a Switch that will let you try it before you buy. Or get a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, though admittedly, I’ve barely touched mine.
Local? Pretty good. Online? Nonexistent. Seriously. Nintendo is sticking to their awful 10 digit friend code that everyone hates and there seems to be absolutely no reason to use it. You can’t even message people on your friends list yet and we’re almost a month into release.
So… is it worth your time and money?
Short answer: probably not. Unless you’re a die-hard Zelda fan like me or you’re impatient to have a console experience on the go, you’re probably better off waiting. It’s hard to ignore how limited the game’s catalog is right now and Nintendo will probably release improved iterations of the Switch in the near future.
Zelda is a different story though. If you have a Wii U, buy it. If you don’t and you’re out of luck or money, find a friend with a Switch and a copy of Breath of the Wild, go to their house, and beg them to let you play it. Seriously. You won’t regret it.