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Nintendo Releases Switch Console Specs

The upcoming Nintendo Switch console's specs were finally revealed. Nintendo previously revealed precious little about the console, which was originally known by the "NX" code name, before revealing more details in January. The console will officially debut on March 3 for $300. Here's what that money will get you--assuming the Switch is more readily available than the constantly sold-out NES Classic Mini console.

Nintendo Switch Console

The console itself is a 6.2-inch tablet with a 720p display. Nintendo designed the device to work in a variety of modes: a handheld mode with one controller on each side; a TV mode used when the console is docked; and a tabletop mode that allows two people to play together wherever they are. Switch is essentially what the Wii U, with its large GamePad that could mirror games, should have been when it succeeded the original Wii in 2012.

Bundled with each Switch is an HDMI cable, AC adapter, and the requisite controllers and accessories. That might not seem like much, but given that Nintendo didn't include a power adapter with the New Nintendo 3DS, knowing that all the necessary cables will be in the box is quite a relief.

Product NameNintendo Switch (Console)
Size102 x 239 x 13.9mm (with Joy-Con attached)Please note: 28.4mm at the thickest, from the tips of the analog sticks to the ZL/ZR Button protrusions.
WeightApprox. 297g(With Joy-Con controllers attached: 398g)
ScreenCapacitive touch screen6.2 inch LCD1280x720 resolution
CPU / GPUNVIDIA customized Tegra processor
System Storage32 GBPlease note: a portion of this internal memory is reserved for use by the system.
Communication FeaturesWireless LAN (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant)Bluetooth 4.1 (TV mode only. A wired LAN connection is possible through the use of a commercially available wired LAN adapter.)
Video OutputMaximum resolution: 1920x1080, 60 fpsPlease note: output via HDMI cable in TV mode. In tabletop mode and handheld mode, the maximum resolution is 1280x720, which matches the screen resolution.
Audio OutputSupports linear PCM 5.1ch Please note: output via HDMI cable in TV mode.
SpeakersStereo
USB TerminalUSB Type-C terminal Used for charging or for connecting to the Nintendo Switch dock.
Headphone Mic. JackStereo output
Game Card SlotExclusively for Nintendo Switch game cards.
microSD Card SlotCompatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC memory cards.Please note: an update via an internet connection is required to use microSDXC memory cards.
SensorsAccelerometer GyroscopeBrightness sensor
Operating EnvironmentTemperature: 5-35°C Humidity: 20-80%
Internal BatteryLithium ion battery / battery capacity 4310mAhPlease note: the internal battery cannot be removed. If the battery needs to be replaced, we plan to offer paid replacement via Nintendo Customer Support.
Battery LifeBattery life can last for more than six hours, but will vary depending on the software and usage conditions.For example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for roughly three hours on a single charge.
Charging Time3 hours approx.Please note: this is the time taken to charge while the console is in sleep mode.

Nintendo Switch Dock

The dock is what makes the Nintendo Switch a hybrid console; otherwise it would just be a handheld device. Each Switch comes with just one, so if you want to purchase more, you'll have to spend $90. Nintendo positioned this as a good option for people who want to use their Switch on multiple TVs, but given the dock's relatively small size, taking it around the house shouldn't be any more difficult than carrying the Switch console and its controllers.

The dock also lets the Switch go from supporting 720p with its own display to outputting 1080p to a connected TV. Nintendo didn't explain in the specs how exactly the dock accomplishes this.

ProductNintendo Switch (Dock)
Size104 x 173 x 54mm
WeightApprox. 327g
ConnectorsUSB ports: two USB 2.0 compatible ports on the side, one on the back. (Launches with USB 2.0 support, but USB 3.0 support will be added in a future update.) System connectorAC adapter portHDMI port

Joy-Con Controllers

If the dock is what allows Nintendo Switch to be a home console, the Joy-Con controllers are what let the device handle every other situation you can throw at it. Each is jam-packed with enough sensors to make the Wii Remote blush, and because they can be used whether they're attached to or detached from the console, the Joy-Con Controllers simultaneously provide a portable experience and enable multiplayer gaming on the device.

The Joy-Con controllers differ based on whether they're left- or right-handed. They also come in different colors--gray, blue, and red--and the Switch is able to automatically detect each controller's orientation and color. This should be useful for multiplayer gaming when the device is used in TV mode.

ProductJoy-Con (L)Joy-Con (R)
Size102 x 35.9 x 28.4mm102 x 35.9 x 28.4mm
WeightApprox. 49gApprox. 52.1g
ButtonsLeft Stick (pressable)Directional/L/ZL/SL/SR/− ButtonsCapture ButtonRelease buttonSYNC ButtonRight Stick (pressable)A/B/X/Y/R/ZR/SL/SR/+ ButtonsHOME ButtonRelease ButtonSYNC Button
Connectivity FunctionsBluetooth 3.0Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
SensorsAccelerometerGyroscopeAccelerometerGyroscopeIR Motion Camera
Vibration FunctionHD rumbleCapable of varied and precise vibrations.HD rumbleCapable of varied and precise vibrations.
Internal Battery525 mAh Li-ion batteryPlease note: the internal battery cannot be removed. If the battery needs to be replaced, we plan to offer paid replacement via Nintendo Customer Support.525 mAh Li-ion batteryPlease note: the internal battery cannot be removed. If the battery needs to be replaced, we plan to offer paid replacement via Nintendo Customer Support.
Battery LifeApprox. 20 hoursPlease note: this time is an estimate. Actual time may vary depending on individual usage patterns.Approx. 20 hoursPlease note: this time is an estimate. Actual time may vary depending on individual usage patterns.
Charging TimeApprox. 3.5 hoursPlease note: to charge the Joy-Con, you must attach them to a Nintendo Switch console or Joy-Con charging grip (sold separately).Approx. 3.5 hoursPlease note: to charge the Joy-Con, you must attach them to a Nintendo Switch console or Joy-Con charging grip (sold separately).

Joy-Con Strap, Joy-Con Rail, And Impressions

Nintendo also detailed the Joy-Con Strap, which is used to connect individual Joy-Con controllers to your wrist, as well as the Joy-Con Rail that combines the controllers into something resembling Sony's DualShock 4 or the Xbox One controller. (The company also made the $70 Pro Controller for people who don't want to use the Joy-Con controllers while the Switch is docked.) Both are simple accessories that are included with each Switch console.

Some questions remain unanswered. It's not clear how developers will achieve 1080p 60fps gameplay when the Switch is docked; more powerful consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One compromise on resolution, frame rate, or both. The PS4 Pro can handle 1080p with a stable 60fps, usually, but each developer has to modify their games to take advantage of the mid-cycle upgrade to Sony's console. Nintendo's goal is a bit hopeful, one might say.

It's further unclear what kinds of games will achieve the advertised six hours of battery life when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the console's flagship launch game that was originally developed for Wii U, manages just three. Hopefully we'll see how the Switch's hype compares to its reality when it debuts in March. Until then, at least we're now a few spec sheets closer to understanding what Nintendo built with this long-mysterious console.

  • torka
    I feel like 'System Memory' is being used incorrectly here. Is it 32GB of System Memory or System Storage? If its Memory, then thats good... If its Storage, not so good and how much memory does it have then?
    Reply
  • James Mason
    19217881 said:
    I feel like 'System Memory' is being used incorrectly here. Is it 32GB of System Memory or System Storage? If its Memory, then thats good... If its Storage, not so good and how much memory does it have then?

    didn't mean to downvote you, wanted to see more comments and the arrow looked like it was gonna do that -_-
    Reply
  • nathanielmott
    19217881 said:
    I feel like 'System Memory' is being used incorrectly here. Is it 32GB of System Memory or System Storage? If its Memory, then thats good... If its Storage, not so good and how much memory does it have then?

    Good catch! It's storage; Nintendo used "memory" in its spec sheet and I repeated the mistake.
    Reply
  • G0m3r619
    I am disappointed in the specs reported. Another underpowered system from Nintendo.
    Reply
  • chaosmassive
    5-35 temperature range seems bit restrictive
    you cant play on cold climate, and you cant play it in middle of dessert
    sad :(
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    It's not clear how developers will achieve 1080p 60fps gameplay when the Switch is docked; more powerful consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One compromise on resolution, frame rate, or both.

    You can also compromise on poly count, texture size, shaders quality, anti-aliasing, etc. That's the way Mario Kart 8 runs at 1080p 60 fps. It looks great, but it's less complex than Forza.

    The PS4 Pro can handle 1080p with a stable 60fps, usually

    LOL. No.
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    19217881 said:
    how much memory does it have then?

    It's not been confirmed, but the leaked specs said it was 4 GB. Pretty good for a Tegra-based system, and enough for a tablet-like device meant to execute just one big app at a time (= a game).

    32 GB of system memory would not have been good; it would have been absolute overkill. 16 GB would be more than enough even for the highest-end 4K-ready console conceivable today.

    Reply
  • Dosflores
    19220917 said:
    and you cant play it in middle of dessert

    Yeah, it would be difficult to eat your dessert while holding the Nintendo Switch.

    :p

    Reply
  • kingform
    Legend of Zelda is 900p 30fps
    Reply
  • thundervore
    19217881 said:
    I feel like 'System Memory' is being used incorrectly here. Is it 32GB of System Memory or System Storage? If its Memory, then thats good... If its Storage, not so good and how much memory does it have then?

    If customers need more storage large micro SD cards are very cheap.
    Reply