The Nintendo Switch is here, a new console that bridges the gap between living room and handheld gaming. The $299 system doesn't have the best specs on the market, but hey, you can use it play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, as well as a slew of great indie and third-party titles.
Nintendo sold 10 million Switch consoles in the system's first 9 months -- a tremendous feat following its dull predecessor, the Wii U. But is the Switch right for you? We've combed through the details to come up with the reasons you should pounce on the Switch, but also why you might consider holding off.
You should buy Nintendo Switch if…
You love Nintendo’s first-party games. Nintendo launched the Switch with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the hits haven't stopped coming since. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey are all must-plays, and there are new Kirby, Pokémon and Metroid Prime titles on the horizon.
Of course, we’re expecting much more of the console’s lifespan. It won’t be surprising to see a new Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros. and more of the Big N’s legendary franchises on the Switch. We’re still holding out hope for a new F-Zero. One day.
You want to take console games on the go. We’ve seen attempts to try this before, but never has a home console been so portable. Unlike the PlayStation Vita, which could stream games from a PlayStation 3, the Switch has a built-in screen, and its Joy-Con controllers can attach to the sides, making a portable out of your home console. You can play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go and on your couch.
You import games. The Switch is region-free, so you should have no problem importing games no matter where they were originally sold. Nintendo has previously been more stringent on this, but it's cool to see the company do away with it. It also means that you should be able to import a console and play American games.
You play indie games. In its first year of life, the Switch proved to be a home for a stable of awesome indie games (or as Nintendo calls, them, "Nindies"). The eShop is home to Thumper, Stardew Valley, Overcooked, Axiom Verge, Golf Story, Shovel Knight and a whole lot more. It's taking the Vita's place as one of the best ways to play indie games at home or on the go. These are often downloadable, so you might want to invest in a microSD card for your Switch.
You hate proprietary connectors. The Switch charges via USB Type-C, so you’ll be able to replace your cables with ease. It even makes it compatible with USB Type-C power banks for longer battery life on the go.
You may be less interested if…
You want the best graphics on a console. Sorry folks, but there’s no 4K support here. The Switch’s mobile-friendly Nvidia Tegra GPU means you probably won’t see anything comparable to a PS4 or Xbox One, nevermind the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X or gaming PC. The touch screen has 720p resolution, so you won’t be able to play Skyrim in full HD on the go.
You want a long-lasting handheld game system. With its skimpy battery life, you’ll only be able to play for so long. The Switch's battery lasts between 2.5 and 6 hours, depending on the game. The company says The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will endure for three hours on the tablet.
You have a limited accessory budget. Want to upgrade your Switch setup? The Pro Controller costs $70, and a new set of Joy-Cons will run you $80 (first-party PS4 and Xbox One controllers retail around $60, a single Joy-Con costs $50). The Joy-Con grip that comes in the box with the Switch can’t charge the Joy-Cons, but you can dole out $30 for a grip that can.
You like seamless online offerings. The Switch's online multiplayer experience is serviceable, but doesn't feel fully baked. The only way to chat with friends during multiplayer games is by using a cumbersome mobile app. Nintendo is also using friend codes for the Switch, which we were really hoping they would finally eliminate. The full Nintendo Switch Online service will cost $20 per year when it launches in 2018, and will include access to a monthly rotation of retro games. Here's hoping things improve by the time the paywall hits.