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.
With a bright, colorful 6.2-inch touchscreen at 720p resolution, the Switch looks like what the Wii U Gamepad should have been.
All the same buttons in all the same places... plus a few extras. (The little plus sign is a start button.)
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.
But here's the big surprise: The side controllers can snap right on and off. (It's a satisfying snap, too.)
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.
You can prop up the touchscreen tablet by itself, and play without the Joy-Cons connected.
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.
Here's the button you press to unlock the Joy-Cons and slide them out. There's one such button on each side.
A closer look at the metal groove.
A closer look at the Joy-Cons. They have dedicated home and social sharing buttons, too.
Each has a bumper and a trigger. They're shallow and clicky, without a lot of pull.
There are buttons on the inside of each Joy-Con, too, so you can use just one and give the other to a friend.
Or, you can snap both of them into a Joy-Con Grip for a larger, more traditional-feeling controller.
While the buttons are different, the grips feel a bit like a GameCube pad.
One of the Joy-Cons has an IR camera for detecting motion, and another has NFC for connecting Nintendo's Amiibo toys.
An SD card slot is hidden beneath the kickstand.
Here's the power button and volume rocker, on the top edge of the system.
You'll also find the headphone jack and cartridge slot there.
Here, we've popped out the spring-loaded cartridge bay.
My, how Nintendo's removable media has shrunk over the years!
The game boxes are smaller and sleeker, too.
Here's the main vent, next to the headphone jack on the top edge.
If you angle it right, you can see a copper heatpipe inside that likely keeps the Nvidia Tegra chip cool.
The dock has a folding door at the back. You can see it routing cables in the next slide.
And inside you'll find an extra USB port.
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.
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.
Here's what the connector inside the dock looks like.
Together with the dock, the Switch is still far smaller than the already-small Nintendo Wii.
Here it is, properly blocked off for a size comparison with the Wii and GameCube.
All of these Nintendo game systems are barely bigger than the original Game Boy.
Bet you didn't think you'd see this comparison, huh?
But it's the thickness where Switch has OG Game Boy totally trounced.
Speaking of which: if you thought the Switch was the size of the Wii U Gamepad, think again.
So much thinner.
It's practically tablet-thin.
Sure, you lose a little height on the sticks and buttons compared to the Wii U Gamepad.
Nintendo's motion controllers have evolved. No more nunchaku-like tether needed.
Press two Joy-Cons together, and they're roughly the size of an NES Classic pad.
The history of Nintendo controllers (at least, the main ones without screens attached).
Here's the Switch next to Nintendo's 3DS XL. Not so big, eh?
Four generations of portable Nintendo consoles.
The Switch makes the Nvidia Shield portable look chunky and awkward by comparison. Both house Nvidia Tegra chips.
Only Nintendo's own shrink ray can make the Switch look gigantic by comparison. The Switch dwarfs the $60 NES Classic Edition.
One last picture of the Nintendo Switch.