Tobold's Blog
Thursday, July 12, 2018
 
Switch on holidays

I have taken my Nintendo Switch with me on holidays to test its usefulness as a mobile gaming device. For that purpose I only took the main unit with the two JoyCons attached, not the stand to connect it to a TV. Now that I have been using the Switch for several days, this is what I think:

In terms of graphics and game quality, the Switch is doing quite well. There are a bunch of games available that you can play either on the PC or on the Switch, without the graphics on the mobile device being downgraded. However the 6.2” screen of course is much smaller than any PC or TV screen, and sometimes text is hard to read if the game was designed for a PC primarily. The JoyCon controls work quite well when attached to the main unit and used to hold it as well as control the game. However I primarily played turn-based RPGs, so not sure how well the controls would hold up for a platformer or shooter.

The main problem of the Switch is how much energy it consumes. It drains its own 4130 mAh battery in 2 to 3 hours. Knowing that I brought a 10000 mAh power bank, and even that was drained over the course of 5 hours, drawing 2 Amperes at 5 V. That was enough for my purposes, but if you wanted to play all day, you would need a bigger power bank, or stay connected to a wall charger.

I first wanted to play Disgaea 5, which I had bought with the Switch, but not used yet. Unfortunately it turned out that I didn’t like the game, despite fond memories of Disgaea 1 on a previous portable holiday gaming device (PSP). I then looked around what else to play and stumbled upon Octopath Traveler, with a free prologue demo available. I liked that, but the demo was limited to 3 hours, and the main game is only released tomorrow (I now pre-ordered it). So in the end the game I mostly played over the past days was Battle Chasers : Nightwar. Great game, but I already owned it on Steam (that fact slipped my mind when I bought it on the Switch), where I got it in a sale for 15 Euro, while on the Switch it did cost me 40 Euro.

So, yeah, the Switch is a viable option to bring as a gaming device on holidays. But if I was home I’d play the same game for cheaper on the PC, have a much bigger screen, and wouldn’t need to bother with a power bank. Fortunately Octopath Traveler is a Switch exclusive.

Comments:
Hey Tobold!

You may want to look into some settings if you're seeing the Switch eat that much juice (only 2 hours of playtime). Might have resolution jacked way up, maybe?

IIRC, you're not in the states, but I bought a "Lumsing 15000mAh Portable Charger" on Amazon for my Switch/3ds use when traveling and found it to do good. I got the brand off a list on the Switch subreddit. The amazon link I used shows dead, so might need to google a bit. I found it put off just enough juice to very slowly charge the game while I was playing BotW. Only thing I can tell you is to be careful in airports with it. When exiting Frankfort, when it went through the scanner the people got all angry with me and I had to show them how it charged my game. My traveling companions were helpfully waiting off to the side, falling over with laughter.
 
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