Whether you’ve bought a Nintendo Switch at launch – and managed to actually get it – or are waiting to see how it’s doing in a year’s time, no console is truly bought in isolation. Here’s a quick and easy buyer’s guide to Nintendo’s latest console and some of the things to consider buying alongside it.
We’re including links to Nintendo, Amazon and Game, but obviously shopping around may find you better deals elsewhere. These are not affiliated links.
The Console Itself
There’s only two configurations of the Nintendo Switch at launch, and outside of looking a little bit different, they’re completely identical. The only difference is that the Joy-Con in one version are an understated grey, and in the other have one in neon blue and one in neon red. Either way, it’s £279.99/$299.99 and you’re getting the same package which includes almost everything you really need to get the most out of the system.
- Joy-Con pair neon – Nintendo £69.99, Amazon £74.99, Game £74.99
- Joy-Con pair grey – Nintendo £69.99, Amazon £74.99, Game £74.99
- Joy-Con pair neon w/ Snipperclips – Nintendo £79.99, Amazon £79.99
- Charging Grip – Nintendo £24.99, Amazon £27.99, Game £27.99
- Comfort Grip – Game £9.99
- Switch Pro Controller – Nintendo £59.99, Amazon £63.58, Game £64.99
One of the best things about the Nintendo Switch is that it actually has two controllers in the box. Each individual Joy-Con has more than enough buttons to let you play something like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Overcooked, and the console comes with a pair of wrist straps for the more energetic games out there, such as 1-2-Switch. Snapping them into the included Joy-Con Grip makes them equivalent to a DualShock 4, as well.
But you’ll always want more controllers. A second pair of Joy-Con will let you have up to four players, at once, and if you grab a second grip, that’s a second full controller, if that’s needed. The problem? They’re flexible but come in as £39.99 individually or £69.99 as a bundled pair – the Snipperclips Joy-Con bundle sells for £79.99, with the game costing £17.99 separately. A second grip can be £9.99 or if you think the Joy-Con’s 20 hour battery life is a bit too short for you, then you can grab the charging grip for £24.99.
Of course, the Joy-Con layout isn’t quite ideal for longer play sessions. It’s not uncomfortable, but not ideal, so you might prefer the admittedly pricey Switch Pro Controller, even if it does feature HD Rumble, an NFC touch point and a wonderfully long 40 hour battery. That will set you back £59.99.
- Samsung EVO Plus 128GB – Amazon £41.95
- Samsung EVO 128GB – Amazon £36.04
- Toshiba Exceria M302 – Amazon £34.05
- SanDisk Ultra 128GB – Amazon £35.99
- SanDisk Ultra 200GB – Amazon £67.99
You can never have enough storage in the modern era of gaming, but the situation on Switch is a bit different to on PS4 and Xbox One. Retail games come on cartridge, meaning there’s no need to install games to the main storage beyond game patches, and even if you buy digitally, Switch games are going to be much smaller. That said, Breath of the Wild takes up more than half of the 25.9GB available to users.
The solution to this is boosting the internal storage via a microSD card slot tucked in under the console’s kickstand. The latest and fastest form of this is microSDXC, with read speeds often close to 90MB per second, and as a widely used standard, it can be rather economical. 64GB can be had for around £14.99, 128GB for £35-40 and 200GB cards for around £60-70. 256GB cards are currently over £110.
The current sweet spot is 128GB, then. Make sure you look for Samsung, SanDisk, Sony, Toshiba or another brand you trust, and then also ensure you’re buying a microSDXC card – not microSDHC – and ideally one rated at UHS-I speeds. Most importantly, buy from a known and reputable source, as it’s very easy to be lured in by cheaper counterfeit cards.
- Nintendo Switch Power Adapter – Nintendo £24.99, Amazon £27.99, Game £27.99
- 10,000 mAh Power Banks – Various brands via Amazon
- Anker USB-C cable – Amazon £6.99
The battery life that the Switch promises is hardly spectacular, there’s no denying that, but that’s not exactly a new problem for handheld devices. Thankfully, Nintendo have chosen to adopt the new USB Type-C standard, or USB-C as its shorthand, for power, video and data.
A second power adapter from Nintendo will set you back £24.99, capable of simply charging the device or pushing enough power for it to also run at full tilt for when playing docked games. However, the advantage of USB-C is that you can use other chargers and battery packs. You almost certainly have something suitable from your phone, tablet or even certain recent laptops. As long as you have USB power output and a good USB Type-A to Type-C cable – the charging grip and Pro Controller both come with these – you’re good to go.
Phone chargers are generally quite low powered, so you ideally want something that has enough output to keep a tablet charged when its in use. These used to be around 10W (2A at 5V), but are quite often 12W (2.4A at 5V) these days.
This counts for battery packs as well. A 10,000 mAh battery with 12W output can theoretically charge the Switch’s 4,310 mAh battery two times over and can be bought for under £15, and a suitable cable around £5.
There are many, many alternatives to those linked above.
- Nintendo Switch Accessory Set – Nintendo £16.99, Amazon £16.99, Game £16.99
- Breath of the Wild Premium Case – Game £14.99
- Giotek Protective Case – Game £12.99
- Stealth EVA Carry Case – Amazon £11.99
- Hori Switch Tough Case – Amazon £17.99
If you plan on taking the Switch with you, you really don’t want to risk it getting broken. Given the size, there’s no way to fit this into a trouser pocket – unless you’re wearing the baggiest of combat trousers – so you’ll need to stick it into a bag and you’ll ideally want to give it a little protection from whatever else you have stuffed in there.
Get a carrying case, in other words, and preferably one that gives it a good amount of protection, maybe with an extra pocket or two for game cartridges, cables and battery. Nintendo’s own option will set you back £16.99 for a nicely designed case (albeit without added pockets) and a screen protector, but expect there to be hundreds of cheap third party options. A few other options, both hard and soft shell are listed above.
Nintendo fans and those who just like to collect stuff will probably have a few amiibo anyway, but if you’re buying a Switch on day one, you’re 99.9% getting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild alongside it, with the various Legend of Zelda amiibo giving you bonuses and boosts within the game, each of which can be triggered once per day.
These include Archer Link dropping a chest with a set of arrows and a pile of fish and meat for cooking, through to Twilight Princess’ Wolf Link amiibo unlocking Wolf Link in game, who will run off and attack nearby enemies and wildlife for you, and a rather familiar equestrian buddy will join you if you have the first Link amiibo to be released and happen to be in the right part of the game world. For more on what they can do, head here.
Just make sure to enable amiibo in the game, and then trigger the sensor by activating the Sheikah Slate’s amiibo rune.