Nintendo Switch new specs and controller info revealed
We’ve known Nintendo was working on a new console for more than a year now, but the Big N finally pulled back the curtain on its next big system, the Switch. Now we know a great deal more about the hardware and the unique functionalities that set it apart from the competition. Here’s a complete rundown of all the most intriguing announcements so far.
Switching it up
The main Switch console may resemble an average tablet with its touchscreen and a thin form-factor, but that’s where the similarities end. Nintendo has devised the system to be incredibly modular, allowing for multiple ways to play on a single box.
Drop the Switch into the included dock, and it’s capable of displaying games on the TV, outputting the image at up to 1080p resolution. When you pull it out of the dock and snap on the Joy-Con controllers to the left and right side of the screen, however, it becomes a handheld console, allowing you to play full-scale games on the go, with between 2.5 and 6 hours of battery life on a single charge. Want to play with a friend? You can also throw up the Switch’s kickstand, disconnect the Joy-Con controllers, and use the setup to play together on a single screen. What’s more, if your friends have their own Switch consoles, you can connect them together locally, up to eight total, for massive multiplayer showdowns wherever you are.
The future is in your hands
The Switch’s snap-on controllers, called the Joy-Con, may look deceptively simple, but they might just be the most advanced video game controllers ever made.
The right and left Joy-Con aren’t identical, but they do share quite a few common features. Both include an analog stick, four face buttons, shoulder buttons, and a special function button at the bottom. The right Joy-Con gets the Home Button, while the left gets a Capture Button for saving screenshots of your gameplay. Both of the Joy-Con controllers also feature an accelerometer and gyroscope, allowing for full motion controls similar to those on the Wii.
Both controllers also feature what Nintendo has named “HD Rumble.” Just as the name implies, the feature is similar to current force feedback, but with a greater fidelity. As an example, Nintendo offered the example of a virtual glass being tied to one controller, with players able to shake it and detect individual ice cubes rattling around inside, or to feel water being poured inside.
The right Joy-Con also includes extra technology that expands the Switch’s capabilities. There’s an NFC reader and writer similar to that on the Wii U’s Game Pad, which is used in conjunction with the collectible amiibo figures. Second, and new to a Nintendo console, is an infrared sensor allowing the Switch to detect the motion, shape, and distance of real-world objects. Exactly how games might use the sensor remains to be seen, but Nintendo has described its capabilities as being able to judge a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors by reading the hand-shape of a player.
The Switch’s 6.2 inch screen features capacitive touch and a resolution of 720p, though, as previously mentioned, the console can output to a television at up to 1080p when docked.
As for internal storage, the Switch is shipping with 32GB of onboard space, with a micro SDXC expansion slot that supports cards up up to 2TB. That might not sound like a lot, but Switch games will come on physical cards, so you won’t need to fill up that hard drive with big titles unless you want to.
One of the biggest remaining mysteries of the Switch is exactly how powerful the chipset will be. Nintendo has confirmed that the system is powered by a custom Tegra processor from Nvidia, but it’s unclear how much horsepower it’s packing. Judging from what we’ve seen, however, it’s clear that the Switch will be less powerful than the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though it obviously does a whole lot those systems can’t.
Countdown to launch
So when can you get your hands on the Nintendo Switch? The console launches March 3, 2017.
Two different bundles will be available, with the only differences between them being cosmetic. One set has grey Joy-Con controllers, while the other other having a more colorful Neon Red and Neon Blue combination. Both packages contain the console, a dock, one left and one right Joy-Con, a Joy-Con Grip to connect both controllers to while the system is docked, two Joy-Con wrist straps, an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter.