Ever since Nintendo took its bulky grey brick of a handheld and slimmed it down to the svelte GameBoy Pocket, it’s never been shy of revising its hardware for a slicker experience, and it’s an open secret at this point that it’s planning to do exactly that for the Nintendo Switch.
The Switch is without a doubt a truly revolutionary console, bridging the gap between home and portable consoles in a way we’ve never seen before (and selling in ridiculous amounts, too). Overall, it’s a pretty slick package. Aside from a few launch-model issues that have already been smoothed over, there’s nothing approaching the clunkiness that came with the Wii’s janky motion controls and dreaded sensor bar, or the shuddering 3D of the first 3DS models.
The Switch usually just works – but there’s always room for improvement.
An updated version of the Switch is expected to be released in the second half of 2019 – potentially as soon as the middle of the year – and with that in mind, here’s our list of the minor niggles and larger issues that we’d like to see improved for version two.
For the most part the Switch’s screen does a pretty decent job of showing off its games in 720p glory, but a few improvements we’d like to see include:
- LCD to OLED: An upgrade from the basic LCD to the sort of OLED screen we’re seeing on most phones nowadays, to really bring out the vibrant colours that are Nintendo’s trademark. Some deeper blacks might even help lessen the effects of the divisive low-contrast art style of Breath of the Wild.
- Make it bigger: A slightly larger screen would be nice, making better use of the space currently occupied by the machine’s chunky black bezels.
- Matte, not gloss: Finally, a matte screen would be a dream, as the current one becomes a nightmarish hall of mirrors the moment it’s taken anywhere near sunlight – not ideal for a portable console.
The Switch isn’t known as a powerhouse in any regard, and while we’re not expecting that to change completely with a new version, some quality of life changes would be nice.
- More juice: The DS family were incredible consoles to take on the go, with batteries that would last for 15+ hours and live in standby for months. The Switch is a very different (and much more power-hungry) beast, but a couple of extra hours on the go would be very much appreciated.
- A power bump: We don’t need the Switch to compete with full-time home consoles and offer native 4k HDR output, but an eventual change to a newer chipset (a Tegra X2, perhaps?) and a slight bump in RAM would help avoid the unfortunate frame rate drops that impact a few titles, and let the console run cooler in the hands, too.
- Extra space: By any standard, the paltry 32GB of internal storage in the Switch is seriously stingy, only allowing for one or two larger titles to squeeze on before needing to buy an extra memory card. Doubling the storage to a still-affordable 64GB seems like a no-brainer.
- Bluetooth, WiFi and Ethernet: With phone makers pushing relentlessly towards using Bluetooth connections for headphones, it’d be nice if the Switch gave us that option too. An upgrade to the distance and stability of the in-built WiFi would also be welcome.
The Switch is a nice little console, feeling much slicker in-hand than the chunky tablet of its predecessor. Its party-trick transformation also works pretty flawlessly considering how many bits and pieces need to shift around, but there are a few areas for refinement.
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- Bulk it up: Sure, the Switch needs to be portable and handheld, but it’s not exactly a pocketable console like the DS was, so what’s a few extra millimetres between friends? Slightly heftier joycons would be easier to grip for extended periods, and a bit more heft would allow for the bigger screen and battery we’re after.
- The kick-stand: Despite Nintendo’s ads showing people crowding around a screen propped-up on a table in the middle of a house party, they sure didn’t seem to give much thought to the flimsy piece of plastic that was meant to achieve this. An easy fix, and a vital one.
- Joycon tweaks: Everyone has their own idea of a perfect controller, and the Joycon won’t ever please everyone. Some people pray for an official alternative with a proper d-pad, others wish the sticks felt a little more durable, or that the rumble didn’t have the harsh, surprisingly loud sound of a mobile phone vibrating on a desk.
- More ports: The Switch may be known for half of its best games being ports, but that’s not what we’re talking about here: we want to see an HDMI port on the console itself to allow for TV connectivity without the need to bring the dock with you. And as for that dock, give us an ethernet port built in this time, rather than charging for an adapter.
- Let us talk: Nintendo’s voice chat solution is a clunky one, requiring the downloading of a voice chat app to a smart device, and an external headset. It’s a bit ridiculous. Give us a built-in option, and an internal mic, please.
A portable-only Switch?
We’d already be absolutely stoked with even half of the above tweaks, to be honest, so anything beyond it is just dream territory. But what if we were to see not one, but two Switch models on shelves this year, offering both budget and premium experiences much like the 3DS/2DS siblings currently do?
And while the Switch’s versatility is a huge selling point, there are plenty of users who either keep the machine docked or handheld for the entirety of the time, and would love to see stripped-back versions that suit their needs – think a screen-free micro-console that sits below the TV permanently, or a smaller, more lightweight handheld-only version that does away with the dock.
There’s still a big market out there full of kids who’ll be after a replacement for their hard-wearing 2DS consoles, too, so a cheaper rough-and-tumble portable version for smaller hands might find a big market as the previous portable gets longer in the tooth. Bundle it with the next Pokemon game, and it’s a no-brainer.
Will any of this happen? Who knows. The one thing that’s sure is that Nintendo are always ready and willing to surprise. For now, we’ll just keep hanging out for these 22 SNES games that could be coming to the service any day now.