Nintendo Switch Review Roundup: What the Critics Are Saying

The Nintendo Switch, the company’s console that doubles as a handheld, is arriving on March 3 (at least, it is if you pre-ordered it). Reviews are now live, and they're quite mixed.

Most critics love the fundamental concept: playing console games on the go and on a TV, but there are a lot of flaws, including a flimsy kickstand, some graphics hiccups and the fact that a charging grip costs an extra $30.

Credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide)

Most reviewers haven't given the Switch a score. That's because Nintendo still has a bunch of questions to answer, including what will be included in a day one update that will be required at launch. We also know very little about how its online functionality will work and if you can keep your old eShop purchases. Expect these reviews to be updated soon.

Did the Switch need more time in the oven? Possibly. See what the people who had time to check it out had to say:

Nintendo Switch


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Polygon's staff had a strong first opinion: "Holy sh*t. It works." The team loves the hardware's industrial design, with the exception of a a flimsy kickstand. They found the controllers were a bit of a compromise between console and handheld gaming, and that each of the two are "a little awkward in its own way." Some staff also had issues wtih the left Joy-Con losing connection.

The Good:

“The Switch feels like a piece of serious consumer electronics; it couldn’t be further from the Wii U’s plastic toy quality."

“The phrase “it just works” is parodic in 2017, but this is a rare instance where, in fact, it just does."

The Bad:

The kickstand is "a perfectly fine concept with miserable execution."

"The Grip was a better option than free-floating Joy-Cons for most Polygon staff, but it still feels like a compromise."

"Over the course of our time with the Switch, at least one editor has had numerous, consistently recurring issues with signal loss in the left Joy-Con."


TIME’s Matt Peckham is "in love" with the Switch. He's full of praise for the concept and its execution, and loves thinks its well-built as a handheld. Unlike many other reviewers, he had no issues with the Joy-Con losing its connection.

The Good:

“If you hated the Wii U's sluggish menus, the Switch's are a full 180."

"I've seen reports of others experiencing erratic wireless connectivity with the Joy-Cons... I can't for the life of me reproduce the glitch."

The Bad:

"My worries at this point involve the questions Nintendo has yet to answer. Will old eShop purchases carry over? How robust and pliable will the online service be?"

DON'T MISS: Why Game Makers Think You'll Love Nintendo Switch

Ars Technica

At Ars Technica, Kyle Orland preferred to use the Switch as a portable device rather than a home console. In fact, he found using the dock to connect to a TV sometimes made The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild look worse than when being used on the go. He suggests holding off until the end of the year for more games.

The Good:

“The size and clarity of the screen makes even small details stand out; by comparison previous portable consoles look downright blocky."

"[Joy-Cons are] perfect for lazing in ergonomically questionable recline on a couch or bed or for playing the system propped on the built-in kickstand while squeezed into a tight airplane seat."

The Bad:

“When it comes to software range, depth, and variety, the Switch's day-one software lineup is one of the worst we've seen for a new system in quite a while.”

“Using the included dock to hook the system to a TV actually makes the graphical performance worse in some cases."

"Occasionally, the left Joy-Con will lose its connection to the Switch, leaving the player flailing for anywhere from one to three seconds before the connection comes back."

Credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide)


Kotaku editor-at-large Kirk Hamilton loves the Switch's fundamental idea and its execution - playing games anywhere on one system. But he found that the Joy-Con controllers aren't comfortable with "oddly placed" buttons, even when in the controller grip. He also often had the left Joy-Con stop tracking while gaming, and noted other annoyances including no Bluetooth headphone support and a flimsy kickstand. He loved playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but his recommendation is to wait to see hardware issues fixed and how the game library shapes up in a few months.

The Good:

"The fact that I can lift my Switch out of its dock and immediately be playing a handheld version of the same game I was playing on my TV is one of the most remarkable things about this device."

"I love being able to take screenshots while I’m playing, and I’m glad Nintendo included it."

The Bad:

"The Joy-Con are a nifty idea, though they don’t always work as well as I would’ve hoped."

“I’ve also run into a frustrating issue where the left Joy-Con momentarily loses tracking and stops responding to my inputs."

"Both the Joy-Con grip and the Pro Controller lack a headphone output, putting the Switch behind the PS4, Xbox One and even the Wii U in terms of allowing you to easily listen to game audio on headphones from your couch when you’re using the console to play a game on the TV."

The Verge

At The Verge, Ross Miller found the Switch to be a big upgrade over previous portables thanks to Nvidia's Tegra system-on-a-chip, though not a huge step for home consoles. He loves how effortless it is to switch from a console to a tablet, but thinks that the kickstand is flimsy and that the screen produces a lot of glare when you use it outside.

The Good:

“Outside of a small flicker every now and then, the process of moving from one screen to the next is seamless."

“Playing a full Zelda game on the go is pretty surreal. The game’s style seems tailor-made for a mobile console, favoring more impressionistic character models while playing around with more realistic particle effects.”

The Bad:

“It’s got a pretty nasty glare on sunny days — my dreams of practicing virtual archery in the park will have to wait for overcast weather."

"The kickstand hinge is the one spot that feels somewhat flimsy and has a slightly more jarring sound when it clicks into place."

“There have been a few hiccups while playing Breath of Wild — some choppiness when, say, you’re running through a rather large field you just set on fire."

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.