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Up close with the Nintendo Switch

Every angle. Every port. Here's how Nintendo's hybrid game console fits together.

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James Martin

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Sean Hollister

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Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch: A game console that transforms into a portable handheld game machine.

Here's our first look at the final hardware, days ahead of its March 3 release -- and some surprising size comparisons with previous Nintendo systems.

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Nintendo Switch

With a bright, colorful 6.2-inch touchscreen at 720p resolution, the Switch looks like what the Wii U Gamepad should have been.

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Nintendo Switch

All the same buttons in all the same places... plus a few extras. (The little plus sign is a start button.)

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Nintendo Switch

Just because it's portable doesn't mean it has a flush, fiddly sliding joystick like the Nintendo 3DS. There's some depth, and the sticks have their own clicky buttons inside when you press down.

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Nintendo Switch

But here's the big surprise: The side controllers can snap right on and off. (It's a satisfying snap, too.)

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Nintendo Switch

That's because the two Joy-Cons, as they're known, are wireless motion controllers with their own internal batteries, advanced haptic feedback and more.

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Nintendo Switch

You can prop up the touchscreen tablet by itself, and play without the Joy-Cons connected.

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Nintendo Switch

There's a handy (if limited and lopsided) kickstand to keep the tablet upright, and rigid metal attach points on either side to keep the Joy-Cons relatively rigid once they're snapped into place.

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Nintendo Switch

Here's the button you press to unlock the Joy-Cons and slide them out. There's one such button on each side.

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Nintendo Switch

A closer look at the metal groove.

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Nintendo Switch

A closer look at the Joy-Cons. They have dedicated home and social sharing buttons, too.

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Nintendo Switch

Each has a bumper and a trigger. They're shallow and clicky, without a lot of pull.

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Nintendo Switch

There are buttons on the inside of each Joy-Con, too, so you can use just one and give the other to a friend.

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Nintendo Switch

Or, you can snap both of them into a Joy-Con Grip for a larger, more traditional-feeling controller.

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Nintendo Switch

While the buttons are different, the grips feel a bit like a GameCube pad.

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Nintendo Switch

One of the Joy-Cons has an IR camera for detecting motion, and another has NFC for connecting Nintendo's Amiibo toys.

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Nintendo Switch

An SD card slot is hidden beneath the kickstand.

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Nintendo Switch

Here's the power button and volume rocker, on the top edge of the system.

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Nintendo Switch

You'll also find the headphone jack and cartridge slot there.

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Nintendo Switch

Here, we've popped out the spring-loaded cartridge bay.

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Nintendo Switch

My, how Nintendo's removable media has shrunk over the years!

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Nintendo Switch

The game boxes are smaller and sleeker, too.

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Nintendo Switch

Here's the main vent, next to the headphone jack on the top edge.

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Nintendo Switch

If you angle it right, you can see a copper heatpipe inside that likely keeps the Nvidia Tegra chip cool.

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Nintendo Switch

The dock has a folding door at the back. You can see it routing cables in the next slide.

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Nintendo Switch

And inside you'll find an extra USB port.

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Nintendo Switch

There are two more USB ports on the left edge. You can connect a USB ethernet adapter, a gadget to charge or presumably some external storage.

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Nintendo Switch

If you want to charge the Switch and attached Joy-Cons without the dock, you can plug the standard (!) USB-C cable directly into the Switch instead.

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Nintendo Switch

Here's what the connector inside the dock looks like.

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Nintendo Switch

Together with the dock, the Switch is still far smaller than the already-small Nintendo Wii.

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Nintendo Switch

Here it is, properly blocked off for a size comparison with the Wii and GameCube.

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Nintendo Switch

All of these Nintendo game systems are barely bigger than the original Game Boy.

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Nintendo Switch

Bet you didn't think you'd see this comparison, huh?

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Nintendo Switch

But it's the thickness where Switch has OG Game Boy totally trounced.

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Nintendo Switch

Speaking of which: if you thought the Switch was the size of the Wii U Gamepad, think again.

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Nintendo Switch

So much thinner.

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Nintendo Switch

It's practically tablet-thin.

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Nintendo Switch

Sure, you lose a little height on the sticks and buttons compared to the Wii U Gamepad.

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Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's motion controllers have evolved. No more nunchaku-like tether needed.

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Nintendo Switch

Press two Joy-Cons together, and they're roughly the size of an NES Classic pad.

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Nintendo Switch

The history of Nintendo controllers (at least, the main ones without screens attached).

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Nintendo Switch

Here's the Switch next to Nintendo's 3DS XL. Not so big, eh?

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Nintendo Switch

Four generations of portable Nintendo consoles.

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Nintendo Switch

The Switch makes the Nvidia Shield portable look chunky and awkward by comparison. Both house Nvidia Tegra chips.

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Nintendo Switch

Only Nintendo's own shrink ray can make the Switch look gigantic by comparison. The Switch dwarfs the $60 NES Classic Edition.

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Nintendo Switch

One last picture of the Nintendo Switch.

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