Nintendo Switch 5 Months Later: What We Love and Hate

The Nintendo Switch made quite the splash back in March, winning over even some of our staunchest Nintendo haters, thanks to its smart hybrid design and a heck of a launch game in Breath of the Wild.

But does it still hold up nearly half a year later? And what are people actually playing on it besides Zelda? To find out, we asked the most devout Switch users on the Tom's Guide staff what they love and hate about Nintendo's new console after using it for five months.

Mike Andronico, Senior Editor

Time owned/used: Three months
Favorite games:
Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Thumper

What I love: My favorite thing about the Switch is that it goes where I go. I barely have time to sit in front of my PS4 or Xbox One at home these days, but I've dumped countless hours into Breath of the Wild, Arms and Splatoon 2 on planes, subways and weekend trips.

I've unashamedly become a walking Switch commercial, busting out the console everywhere from bars to parking lots just to challenge my friends in some Street Fighter or Mario Kart. If a third-party game comes to Switch, that's where I buy it — the portability is that big a deal to me.

What I hate: While the Switch is easily Nintendo's most refined console yet, it still suffers from classic Nintendo problems. Friend codes still stink. You can access your digital games only on your personal Switch, and there's still no way to transfer saved files.

Great multiplayer games like Splatoon 2 are held back by weirdly archaic online restrictions, and don't even get me started on the awful chat app. Also, the fact that the Switch isn't quite powerful enough to play big AAA games like Injustice 2 and Mass Effect: Andromeda keeps it from being the only console I ever need to use.

Andrew E. Freedman, Senior Writer

Time owned/used: Two months
Favorite games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

What I love: I love playing console-grade games on the subway, or even on the couch, without using a TV. To me, the Switch is a portable console first (even if Nintendo says otherwise). The lineup is already far deeper than I expected it to be this quickly, with more on the horizon to look forward to. I've been borrowing our office Switch on and off, but when a Super Mario Odyssey bundle drops, I won't be able to hold myself back from buying my own.

What I hate: The Joy-Con has proved to be a fine controller, but I wish the buttons were a little bigger and there were an option for a real D-pad without a Pro Controller. Also, it seems like a step backward from Xbox Live and PlayStation Network that you need an app for voice chat during online play.

Marshall Honorof, Editor

Time owned/used: One month
Favorite games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

What I love: Transferring the Switch between TV and handheld modes is really as seamless as it sounds. You just pick it up, and you're good to go. Multiplayer is also admirably lightweight. You just unhook the Joy-Con controllers and flip the kickstand, and you're all set for a few hours of Mario Kart, no matter where you are. Breath of the Wild is a beautiful game that's just as much fun to play on the go as it is on a big-screen TV. Everything about the system is just simple and intuitive, including the setup, charging and connecting of new peripherals.

What I hate: The Switch is nice and simple, but for $300, it may be too simple. It lacks streaming video, a web browser, classic games, media capabilities and game recording, all of which would be unbelievably useful on a portable console.

Game selection is a problem as well. Zelda is still the only big single-player adventure for the system, and a lot of the Switch's really meaty upcoming games have been out for years on other platforms. You also need some very expensive accessories to get the most out of it. A carrying case is a must and will set you back at least $20, while $70 for a Pro Controller is simply obscene.

Sam Rutherford, Senior Product Reviews Analyst

Time owned/used: Five months

Favorite games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Shovel Knight, NBA Playgrounds

What I love: The Switch's design and portability have made it my go-to system for playing games both at home and on the road. I've played the Switch on cross-country flights, on the subway to and from work, on my big TV and in bed. I still spend a fair bit of time playing League of Legends, Overwatch and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on my PC, but my PS4 and Xbox One have largely spent the past three and a half months gathering dust.

With a selection of titles including Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe andSplatoon 2, you can't really say the Switch suffers from a lack of games anymore. There are a ton of great downloadable games, particularly indie titles. For the first time in a decade, I'm skipping games I had planned to buy on Steam and instead waiting for them to hit the Switch. And with upcoming titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Golf Story and Wargroove due out before the end of the year, I'm going to have a full plate of games in queue for a long time to come.

What I hate: My biggest gripes about the Nintendo Switch have less to do with the system itself and more to do with the ecosystem around it. The simplicity with which the dock lets the Switch transform from a handheld to a home console is a big reason for the Switch's success. But it's big, it's bulky and it doesn't travel very well. And because you can't replace the dock with a regular USB-C-to-HDMI cable, people who are looking for a more compact way of hooking up the Switch to a TV are completely out of luck.

The way Nintendo handles voice chat is also worrisome.It's needlessly difficult to use and a bad experience for gamers in an increasingly connected world. But it does give rise to memes like this, so at least it's good for a laugh or two.

My one complaint about the hardware is that I wish Nintendo had gone with Gorilla Glass, instead of plain old plastic, on the Switch's screen. It would have been a noticeable improvement to durability (especially for young kids and butterfingered adults) and would have helped to prevent complaints about scratched screens caused by sliding the Switch into the dock.

Credit: Keith Agnello/Tom's Guide

Tom's Guide Staff

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