Nintendo Switch Unboxing & First Impressions
After long months of waiting, the Switch has finally been released. And we’re still beginning to unravel its many mysteries. Now, it’s time to check out what’s in store for us. Once you open the box, you will see the Switch screen and the Joy-con controllers. The screen looks like an ordinary tablet. At the bottom, there’s a USB Type C port for charging as well as connecting it to the dock. On the top is where you’ll see most of its buttons and slots. For example, there’s a game card slot to put the cartridges in, power and volume rocker. We’ll get to them later. Next up are the Joy-Con controllers. They’re in neon red and blue, but there’s also a grey option available. On their sides, you’ll find the rather small SL and SR buttons. There’s also R and L buttons atop. Although the Joy-Cons look similar, there are a few slight differences between them. The left Joy con has the small circle button to capture screenshots. The right Joy Con on the other hand, has the home button. It also has the motion IR camera which allows for motion-based gameplay available in some Nintendo titles.
Moving on to the bottom compartment are the Switch’s accessories. First up is the HDMI cable. You can use this to connect the Switch to your television or monitor. Next is the AC adapter, the basic necessity for your Switch…Complete with the nintendo brand. It’s long enough to plug into the nearest socket, and it’s a USB Type C that matches some of the newest phones on the market. Underneath it are the individually wrapped Joy-Con straps. They come with an extension of the SL and SR buttons on the controllers, a metal underside for frequent attachments, and the straps themselves. Moving along, we have the Joy-Con Grip. The lights in the middle will tell you your Joycon’s battery levels. The controllers will fit easily into it. Its structure is very simple, and, without the JoyCons, its noticeably light. Lastly we have the Switch’s dock. At its bottom left is the TV out indicator that will tell you if it’s sending signal to a TV or monitor. Inside is the primary USB type-C connector. And in the back panel, there are three ports: the AC adapter, a USB port, and the HDMI port.
There are also two additional USB ports at the sides. That’s it for the Switch box. Let’s take a closer look at its contents. There are many ways of using the JoyCons, that much is certain. Slide in the straps and you can play with them in two ways. Hold them up vertically like the Wiimote, or horizontally like small controller. (The SL and SR extensions help give the Joy-Con a better fit, making it slightly more comfortable for multiplayer gameplay.
) Despite its size, the tablet comes with all the basic features. The top part has the power button. Press it once to put the device on sleep mode, and hold for the option to turn it off. Right beside it are the volume buttons. There’s also a fan to disperse heat from its CPU and GPU. Next to it are the headphone jack and the game card slot. The speakers are placed at the back of the device. The stand is right beside it. It’s actually easy to take out, if done correctly. For handheld gaming, you can place the JoyCons at the sides. They slip in very easily, and makes the signature click once attached. (Although the JoyCons are asymmetrical, handheld mode is still comfortable letting you thumb through the buttons with ease.) In docked mode, it’s recommended to use the Grip. Just like the tablet, the JoyCons slip into the grip easily, too. To remove the controllers, simply press the small button at the back and pull.
As for the cartridges, they come in smaller but traditional boxes. Opening them reveals the small, SD card sized cartridges. Pop in into the game card for hours of fun…Now, pop it into your mouth and it’ll be an opposite experience. When the Switch was first announced, we were hoping for a powerful console that will compete with both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As details were unveiled, it became clear that Nintendo has something else in mind. The new Nintendo Switch seems like a bridge between handheld and console gaming. Let’s start with the dock. How do I put it… it’s just a dock made of plastic. There’s nothing more to it really. It has a total of 5 ports, three USB-Bs, 1 Type-C for the AC adapter and one for HDMI.
It feels sturdy and has a similar feel as the plastic on the PlayStation 4. The screen of the Nintendo Switch is significantly better than that of the Wii U. It’s sharper, more vibrant and the viewing angles are better. Specs posted online put its pixel density to around 237. For reference, the PS Vita has around 220. While this density doesn’t come close to flagship smartphones, it’s enough to display sharp and bright images. It may be bright enough to play in the shade outside. We still have to test it in real, outdoor gaming sessions. Meanwhile, our initial impression of the Joy-Con controller is a bit of a mixed bag. The matte finish of the controllers makes handling easy… but they’re a bit too small to hold and the button travel is short.
It may take some time to get used to them if you’re like me who is used to the Wii U’s gamepad and the PlayStation 4 controller. The straps are the most annoying. They’re easy to slide in but really hard to remove. And we’re not the only ones complaining about it. The Joy-Con morphs into something familiar when mounted on the Grip that come with the package. This relieves the comfort issue but only slightly. That tight key-and-stick layout still feels weird. Maybe we really need a couple more hours of playing with it. The Switch takes it from when the Joy-Cons snap into the screen. Honestly, it looks good and surprisingly more comfortable. After about 10 minutes of playing Breath of Wild, the back of the tablet begins to feel warm to the touch. So far, we played it while docked and connected to a monitor so we can’t comment on the battery yet. Again, we still have to spend more with it before we can give our full verdict. Enough with the hardware, let’s take a look at the software.
Nintendo has moved on from the glossy buttons of the Wii U and into the flat design of modern interfaces. When we first booted the device up, it was un-mistakable… the similarities between the new UI to those of Android’s material design and Windows 10. It felt familiar, making navigating around the menu and settings easier. Time to meaningful interaction — how long it takes before you can start clicking on the buttons and what-not — is also wayyyy faster. Thank god! Remember Wii U’s slow loading menu screens. That was — and still is — a pain. More things of note are the lack of a web browser and third party apps like YouTube and Netflix. The browser should come within a couple of months. As for other apps, we’ll have to wait for official announcements. But let’s be honest…what makes a gaming platform is what you play in it. Games now come in game cards. It’s smaller than the 3DS cartridges but with a bigger capacity. It’s small enough that Nintendo coated it with a bitter-tasting agent to keep children from swallowing it. Our package of the Nintendo Switch came with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2 Switch.
As expected, our time was mostly with the Breath of the Wild. We have 40-minute gameplay to show for it, check it now! Many claim the Zelda game is enough reason to buy the Switch. If you’re a fan of the franchise or of open world adventures, the answer is a resounding yes. If not, you may want to wait for more releases… or play the Wii U version instead. We’re currently tracking all the games announced for the Switch and will continue to post updates every couple of weeks so be sure to subscribe. The Switch has the potential…. If enough quality games are released on it. Nintendo has the IP to back this new console but it also needs the support of both independent and triple-A developers.
It won’t be surprising to see ports of Android or iOS games being released on the Switch on top of titles coming from the PC, PlayStation or Xbox.
As found on Youtube