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 Name||Nintendo Switch (Console)|
|Size||102 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.|
|Weight||Approx. 297g(With Joy-Con controllers attached: 398g)|
|Screen||Capacitive touch screen6.2 inch LCD1280x720 resolution|
|CPU / GPU||NVIDIA customized Tegra processor|
|System Storage||32 GBPlease note: a portion of this internal memory is reserved for use by the system.|
|Communication Features||Wireless 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 Output||Maximum 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 Output||Supports linear PCM 5.1ch Please note: output via HDMI cable in TV mode.|
|USB Terminal||USB Type-C terminal Used for charging or for connecting to the Nintendo Switch dock.|
|Headphone Mic. Jack||Stereo output|
|Game Card Slot||Exclusively for Nintendo Switch game cards.|
|microSD Card Slot||Compatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC memory cards.Please note: an update via an internet connection is required to use microSDXC memory cards.|
|Sensors||Accelerometer GyroscopeBrightness sensor|
|Operating Environment||Temperature: 5-35°C Humidity: 20-80%|
|Internal Battery||Lithium 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 Life||Battery 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 Time||3 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.
|Product||Nintendo Switch (Dock)|
|Size||104 x 173 x 54mm|
|Connectors||USB 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|
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.
|Product||Joy-Con (L)||Joy-Con (R)|
|Size||102 x 35.9 x 28.4mm||102 x 35.9 x 28.4mm|
|Weight||Approx. 49g||Approx. 52.1g|
|Buttons||Left Stick (pressable)Directional/L/ZL/SL/SR/− ButtonsCapture ButtonRelease buttonSYNC Button||Right Stick (pressable)A/B/X/Y/R/ZR/SL/SR/+ ButtonsHOME ButtonRelease ButtonSYNC Button|
|Connectivity Functions||Bluetooth 3.0||Bluetooth 3.0, NFC|
|Sensors||AccelerometerGyroscope||AccelerometerGyroscopeIR Motion Camera|
|Vibration Function||HD rumbleCapable of varied and precise vibrations.||HD rumbleCapable of varied and precise vibrations.|
|Internal Battery||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.||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 Life||Approx. 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 Time||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).||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.