Two Months In, I've Barely Taken My Nintendo Switch Off The Dock

The big concept behind the Nintendo Switch is that it can be enjoyed both on the TV, and in handheld mode. Instead, the Switch largely operates like any other console system in my household, and I like it that way.

Oh, I've tried to take the Switch with me. I've braved the dangers of on-the-road scratches, I've propped the console up on its tiny stand, Joy-Con in each hand. The idea of taking Zelda anywhere with me is nice, but I don't like the actual experience of playing the Switch on-the-go.

For one, the Switch is slightly too big and slightly too heavy to comfortably lug around. More importantly, though, I just don't dig the tiny buttons and sticks. The Joy-Con make me feel like I'm playing with a toy, not a slick console. I also don't enjoy the disconnect that comes with holding Joy-Con separately, nor do I want to carry around a Joy-Con grip to fix that issue. Too much gear, too much hassle. I realise I may be in the minority here. It all comes down to personal preference, and most Switch owners I've talked to seem to have no problem with the quibbles I've mentioned.

What I do love, however, is playing my Switch with the Pro Controller. Everything about the Pro Controller feels right, from the weight of it in my hands, to the stick tension, to the feel of the buttons being pressed down. It's become one of my favourite controllers ever. The Pro Controller is so good, I feel spoiled by it. I can't go back. I'm eschewing the Joy-Con whenever I can in favour of playing on the TV, even if the promise of a hybrid console dies with that decision.

At this point, it's par for the course when it comes to Nintendo consoles: I didn't care for the dual screens on the Wii U, I hated motion controllers on the Wii. I still loved the associated Nintendo games, but it's never because of the console gimmick. At least in this case, it's nice to have the option of taking Switch games with me if I ever want it.

It's possible that one day, a Switch game hooks me so bad that I'll want to take it everywhere with me, regardless of slight comfort. Until then, I'm happy to keep my Switch perpetually docked.

What about you?


Comments

    Nail. Head.
    The only time ours gets undocked is when one of us wants the TV and the other isn't interested.

      Exactly the same for me, but that makes it worth it imo. Or playing it in bed. That's pretty good too.

      I'm the opposite, I never use the dock (only twice in 9 months) it sits collecting dust. I have no desire to play the games on the screen, I like the smaller screen, and I can move anywhere with it, its not so much about leaving home or being on the road, but just having it in any position when I lay on the bed (and lets face it when you game you arent standing up lol) I am on a bed...I'd rather have a system 1-foot away from my face, with my glasses on...and something about the dock...the scratching thing (I know you can get cases, sleeves/socks and screen protectors, my nephew has one) for general purposes but...whenever I've docked the Switch and played games on the HDTV it reminds me of the "bigger isnt always better" alot of the indie games I enjoy on the Switch, when blown up ....eh...feels washed out...not the same, almost like I've spent so much time w/ handheld (joy-cons attached to system, system in my hand)

      Thats how I play 99.9% of the time, also I have a HORI table-top stand where the Switch SITS...99% of every day/week/month the Switch just sits in this cradle/table-top stand adjusted all the way back (as if the switch is 90 degrees and staring up at the ceiling) and I use the AC adapter PLUGGED directly into the Switch, I dont care if undocked "will drain the battery faster, which in turn over a period of years will shorten its lifespan" I prefer the look of a smaller/condensed screen (and being its 720p on the small screen, games generally run better) a proven fact...maybe the system isn't utilizing all of its power (like when its in big screen/docked running 900p/1080p but...720p, 900p, 1080 unless your a videophile you wont notice it...but the games DO look (breath of the wild, binding of isaac, hollow knight) so much better in handheld mode, and I've been testing this theory out...game after game...

      Even after I put it in docked mode, and then adjust TV settings (I mean my TV is nice...its a standard 2017 Sony Bravia XBR49X900E model...a UHD/HDTV...quality, reputable...highly reviewed one of the better models on the market) I have a Xbox 360, PS4 Pro (Glacier White), and Wii U (3 consoles) hooked up via HDMI (and the 4th HDMI input is my DIrect TV Mini-genie receiver HD-DVR. All pretty basic stuff/setup. And then of course Wifi (Netgear Router + Fios 150/150 internet) so I dont mind gaming on a (basically) 50" UHDTV. Games look great (and my PC is an Asus All-in-One VR-ready, with a I7 processor, Quad HD + Gsync Panel) its a 23" QHD / Wide-screen monitor w/ G-sync enabled (1ms response time) 1440p/60fps. So while I'm not the biggest techie out there, I know what I see (whats that quote about "our opinions are shaped by our experiences") and my experience with the Switch while generally positive/enjoyable....I don't really like the docked setup as much...potential for scratching, the un-easy wobbly feeling when the Switch is in the dock...and (while this isn't nearly as important) it just looks ugly as sin without the joy-cons (cause if your playing on a HDTV/UHDTV and your switch is docked..then uh unless you have a 2nd pair of joy-cons more then likely you will need to un-attach them and hook them up to the Joy-con controller that comes w/ the Switch bundle. SO then you've basically got 6" tablet in a ugly dock lol.

      I just keep my Switch undocked, on a table-top stand WITH joy-cons attached (all the time) so when my System charges, the joy-cons charge (I have both the red/blue joycons that came w/ the system default and the neon green/pink recent joy-cons I got for a holiday gift) I figure having 2 pairs is better then 1...cause I've had some thumb-stick/joystick issues w/ right (red) joy-con.

      Nothing huge but...as for charging & battery issues (I've had none) the system launches and stays quiet and doesn't get too hot (then again my room has good air-flow) even IF undocked = puts more stress on the system, it still will survive for multiple years (that m uch is known) I've already had the Switch nearing-11 months (I got it 2 months after release in May 2017) and...well its June...so apologies (Hated math growing up lol) so over a year now (13 months give or take) and while it looses charge a "bit" faster now, its nothing major, I have my brightness TURNED up all the way, same with VOLUME and the system has wifi always enabled...and so when I play BOTW...after 1 hour = 70%....2 hours = 45-48%, 3 hours = 22%, so give or take 3.5 hours....bout normal...if its something less demanding (Binding of Isaac: afterbirth+ which I have 640 HOURS played LOL) I can get 5 hours...but I never play the system that long (generally speaking 2-3 hour play sessions) then I just reach out sit it back on the dock (like some antique going back on a wall-mount) lol and reach down towards the carpet (where the AC adapter sits) and plug it in...and boom, it charges, 45 mins later its 99%...or 100% (or somewhere in that area) I never let the Switch run down to 0% (hell the lowest I've ever gotten was...25% give or take...

      Usually when I quit its about 40-50% battery, only thing I do (that I want to stop doing is) when I plug the Switch in after a game session AT night and get sleepy (my TV stays on in the backround, I always have my TV on even when I'm playing Switch...I can hear whatever is on in the backround) my TV / my bed / my switch table-top stand are all in the same area (my 49" Sony Bravia TV sits on a TV stand, which is a 55" stand...I can put a few other things on the stand including my Switch table-top stand the official HORI stand that I got from Target for $9.99 and its the best accessory I've purchased for the Switch by far (other accessories I've gotten are A) Neon Green/Pink additional Joy-cons = $79.99, bit overpriced but oh well) and then B) Xenoblade 2 Pro Controller (the one with a splash of neon green, its the basic PRO controller but has a central PIVOT under the d-pad which makes the d-pad improved over the original Pro Controller, only issue is the Xenoblade 2 Pro Controller came out the same day Xenoblade Chronicles 2 came out in (December 2017) and LOL the controller SOLD faster then the game itself. And b/c of that (and its d-pad improvement, many consider the Xenoblade 2 Pro Controller = the definitive pro controller (cause there is 3 variations of the OEM pro controller, the basic black one released weeks after the Switch launched...then the SPlatoon 2 themed one (which is exactly the same as the regular pro controller, no new additions/updates/tweaks) and then the December 2017 release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 came the Xenoblade 2 Pro COntroller which has by far the coolest design + improved D-pad, so many would say its the best pro controller...even if its only that "1" change. So I got it, but its hard to find (thats the down-side) you WILL not find it in store...anywhere (Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Gamestop, FYE, HHGREGG, any electronic store/outlet)

      Unless you go to a speciality (ma&pa local shop, or some flee market OR of course online Amazon or Ebay) on Amazon the Xenoblade pro controller is easy $99.99 or more (I've seen it as high as $140 (which is damn near the price of the Xbox One Elite Controller) lol. A bit much (but once again oh well) I wanted 2 joy-con pairs + a pro controller (so I have 3 options if 1 screws up). Then the table-top stand and then an additional memory slot (I got a 200GB Micro SDXC SanDisk Ultra 90mb/s card off Amazon for $74.99) considering the 128GB Micro SD cards (the official ones Nintendo is pushing at stores) is $75 for 128GB, I got 200GB for the same price (just not the official BS line Nintendo pushes). As for screen I dont need a screen protector as I do not use the dock (but when I want to clean my switch I just use those little eye-glass cleaners people use on their cellphone screens or eye-glasses (alcohol wipes) they are merely moist, not soaked so..>I can wipe off the Switch screen, and continue playing (and use the same wipe to clean my reading glasses).

      Thats my normal ritual, grab a wipe, wipe glasses (which i'm almost always wearing) then wipe down the Switch, by then the wipe is dried out...doesn't take long, unplug the AC adapter, its 100% charged...I try not to over-charge it (that was my only issue when I fall asleep at night, I leave the AC adapter plugged into the Switch while it sits hibernating (I always keep the Switch in SLEEP mode, I've only turned the Switch off in 13 months (MAYBE) a handful of times ...I could count on 1 hand, how many FULL turn-off's I've done (full power shut-down). So my system stays

      A) undocked w/ joy-cons attached on a table-top stand
      B) with AC adapter plugged in (which I try to unplug after its 100% so I don't overcharge too much)
      C) Wiped clean daily (dust, smudge marks, etc).

      My bed is 1 foot away (if that) I can reach out, grab switch, press HOME button and launch it....Hollow Knight, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Celeste, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Cave Story+, Axiom Verge, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, Octopath Traveler (demo), Disgaea 5 Complete (demo), HULU - Media Player, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, Fornite (12 year old nephew downloaded it, otherwise I'd have 0 interest in it).

      Looking forward to Octopath Traveler + Dead Cells + Hyper Light Drifter, I have about 900-1000 hours already in 13 months on my Switch (I play it day to day, multiple times a week). 200 hours in Breath of the Wild, 95 Hours on Odyssey, 65 Hours into MK 8 Deluxe, 640 Hours on Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, currently playing Hollow Knight (already 20 hours or more) and so on and so on. I'll bet you EVEN if I put the system through abuse + lots of recharging, staying UNDOCKED, staying in sleep mode...even then It will last 3, 4+ years. Easy...and at that rate (the system basically paid for itself) $299.99 base retail price (and I got mine at Best Buy which was where I was WORKING at the time, employee discount which while not alot + Reward Zone points years of points added up) I only ended up paying (after taxes after all deducations) $242 and that was 13 months ago...say the system lasts another 2 1/2 years 2017, 2018, 2019, into 2020. By THEN I'll either have a 2nd Switch....(and with Nintendo Switch ONline/NSO coming this September I wont have to worry about loosing data/backup saved files...I'll have cloud storage, so I'll be able to buy any future Switch devices OR Switch revisions (that we all know will be coming eventually).

      So I dont think it matters what way you play your Switch...cause by the time the SYSTEM bricks or battery dies you either:

      A) Send it in, to get a battery replacement (as nintendo offers that since day 1) for $50, $75, or whatever it is + shipping & handling.

      or

      B) Buy a new Switch...and atleast you already have a pile of games/controllers/adapters, accessories already.

      or

      C) Buy a new (whenever it comes) Switch revision (Switch XL, Switch Pro, or whatever it ends up being called). So I don't fear "abusing a system by using undocked all the time" sure it does drain more battery...but these systems / device (phones, tablets, Switchs, Vitas, 3DS's, they are meant to last YEARS even with abuse/heavy battery use/charging/recharging/overcharing) Docked, Undocked, over-docked LOL I don't think it matters either way...

      I prefer undocked...and it willl stay that way...and when it does hopefully few years down the road $300 (or hell by the time I need a new one, it will be $250 or cheaper) thats pocket change...literally. I spend more then that in groceries+gas every 2 weeks. So I don't see an issue no matter which way you look at it...I've been plowing the web looking at "undocked vs docked" debates, and truth be told...it prob doesn't matter either way, 1 may deplete the battery faster, and overall put more strain (over period of months/years) but....either way by the time we need new Switch's we will have Cloud storage, data backup, online infrastructure, NEW switch joy-cons, new accessories, cheaper accessories, cheaper MODELS, maybe NON-dock models that cost $220 or something like that.

      Hell we've already head of Europe/Asia having that soon-to-be-Switch-handheld-only (cause in Europe supposebly 65%of all users play in undocked primarily) I don't have an agenda with this long-winded post (you play whatever you want, however you want) I just dont like docked, plus I'd have to unplug 1 device from HDMI to incorporate my Switch dock, with JUST playing undocked I dont need that extra power wire, that extra HDMI cable, that extra hookup, that extra limitation...with undocked, it just SITS 1 cable (AC adapter) inches from my bed, I can reach out, grab it, throw glasses on, wipe screen down and begin playing in 20 seconds. Sleep mode is quiet, system rarely gets hot (even after 2, 3 hours of play) its not that bad. For me its the perfect little system. Well NOT perfect (cause nothing is) but you know what I mean.

    I almost never play my wii u just on the pad. The TV is superior in every way.

    But with XCom 2 and Battlefront on the PS4, I almost never play my wii u full stop.

    Most of the time, our Nintendo Switch remains on its dock too. We like playing it on the TV as well.

    The only time it gets undocked is if we're going somewhere (for example, I took my partner to the dentist, so while she was in the chair, I was playing Zelda), or if one of us wants to use the TV (I've been playing Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the PS4 again, so when doing that, my partner plays the Switch undocked).

    Sometimes my partner will take the Switch upstairs into the bed room, but even then she plays it as if it were docked, e.g. using the kick stand and the pro controller.

    I don't think I've used mine on the dock for more than two hours, usually because the kids want to play Bomberman. Other than that I've played 150 hours of Zelda, 20 hours of Binding Of Isaac 50 hours of Mario Kart all undocked. Not interested in seeing this stuff on my 4k TV, it doesn't look great. Handheld though looks a schmick and is totally accessible.

      2 kids. 150hrs Zelda.

      Teach me, master. I am a single idiot and I have 'no time'.

        Stay up later :) I also run my own business and actually have 3 kids but the youngest is only 3yo.

    I'm the opposite. Maybe 20% dock 80% handheld. I can fit so much more gaming into my life being able to just pop it out of the dock and play. Usually when the kids are watching tv, I'll sit with them and have a few races or some Zelda. Its nice. And i have no issues with the joycons. Don't know why you would disconnect them in handheld mode.

    I'm the opposite. I've played a good 150-200 hours of various Switch games at this point, and I think it's spent maybe an hour in the dock. I also don't have competition for the TV, so it's not that - I just love handheld mode. Where I've had issues previously with handhelds being too small for me and giving me hand cramps, the Switch is perfect.

      Yep, I'm the same. No kids or housemates so no competition for the TV. Zelda is the fist game I have played all the way through in about 5 years and its because of the hand held option. I never have the time to sit down and play at home, but commuting/lunch breaks etc is the perfect time to ply for me so the switch is probably my all time favourite console purely for the fact that I can actually play now.

    Me too! ... Except mine hasn't been turned on in the last 2 months.. I'm not sure why I got it now...

    Fingers crossed for Monster Hunter

      Oh man, MH is going to be so sweet! I've almost been crippled by playing it on the 3ds all these years, and I've almost gone back to the wii u version soo many times.

      It'll be good to see a mainline MH game with graphics significantly beyond that of the ps2 for the first time, too!

      Switch sales in japan are so good that capcom will have to act on it. And the lack of region locking means that localisation won't keep it from me.

        MH was even worse on the PSP. Used to suffer 'monster hunter claw' on my left hand after working that crappy analog nub out on extended MH sessions. Left hand would cramp up so hard.

        Fingers also crossed for Switch MH! I could almost guarantee it'll happen though. It'd be the pinnacle of insanity for Nintendo and Capcom to not do it.

    I play it 50/50. We have one TV in the apartment and my wife usually uses the PS4 for Netflix etc so I play it handheld on the couch or in my office if she's watching a show.

    I LOVE the portable premise of the Switch, but I agree that its too big (and the screen is way too reflective) for too much on the road play.

    I don't understand the gripe about the size and weight - I pop it into my work bag and take it with me on the morning commute.

    I also prefer to play sprawled out on the couch rather than saying at the TV. Unfortunately my eyes aren't what they used to be.

    I don't like holding it TBH.

    I need to:
    1. Support its weight
    2. Hold it so I can use the controls with precision
    ... without my hand cramping up after a while and I just can't do it.

    However, I did get the Hori stand and a Pro-controller. This is an excellent tabletop setup. Sure there's a lot of things to carry around, but if I need to go on holidays or someone is using the TV, I have a nice little set-up I can play anywhere in the house.

      Do you even lift bro?

        I know you're probably joking, but I've just passed 40 and type for a living and RSI/wrist pain is an issue.

        Usually I just rest controllers on my lap. The 3DS was fine cause the screen angle can be adjusted. The Wii U Gamepad also has a ridge on the back so I didn't need to lift it either. But the Switch requires me to keep it at a certain angle constantly and it's not comfortable.

    I pretty much never play it on the TV. Handheld mode is just so good. I can lay down and relax on my bed, I can play on the bus on my way to work, I can play on long car trips. I can play it wherever and in whatever position I like. And I don't get the complaint about "the disconnect that comes with holding Joy-Con separately". It feels great to be able to stretch out your arms while playing a game. My wrists are no longer sore from holding a controller in the same position for half a day.

    Mine leaves the dock every day and gets some public transport love. That's the great thing about the hybrid nature of the device and the options with how to play it.

    i prefer playing it in hand held mode. i only use the dock to charge it.
    the visuals are much better on the small screen.

    For one, the Switch is slightly too big and slightly too heavy to comfortably lug around.

    How am I comfortably carrying mine around when it's not possible?

      I think she meant that as a personal experience. She might have small hands and a petite build.

      They didn't say it wasn't possible, just that it was not comfortable to do so. You are also not the 7 billion other people on this planet with different body types and contents of bags.

      I totally dont get the weight problem. It officially lighter than an ipad and only about 30 to 50 grams heavier the the 3DS XL.

      Its seriously light and boggles my mind that people say its even close to being heavy!

        30-50g heavier is still an increase of about 10-15%, which is not insignificant, and I've had problems with fatigue holding my 3DS XL for more than half an hour or so... tho that's mostly because the "ergonomics" of the 3DS-XL means I'm basically supporting 350g across 4 fingers to avoid wrist cramps, and because the top screen makes it top-heavy, most of that weight is balanced on my two middle fingers.

          Sounds like you might need to strengthen your hands with a hand grip ;)

          I cant imagine a portable console being any lighter than the switch

            Eh, that's why third-party grips exist - to give ergonomics to that which has none. :)

            And, considering the Switch (with the controllers attached) is the heaviest Nintendo portable to hit the market since the original Gameboy (394g), I can't honestly take that second comment seriously.

              This is Nintendos ONLY portable console. Its a hybrid, all the others are handheld only. As gooky states below, its a full 93 grams lighter than the Wiiu game pad. Lets not forget that we are comparing the entire switch console to only the gamepad of another console.

              Im happy with the shape if it not suiting you but please lets not say its heavy.

              Take my comment seriously ;)

                Please stop saying it's not heavy just because it's lighter than a full console. Yes it's amazing they can pack all that tech into such a tiny package, but "heavy" is about far more than just the number you get when you put it on the scales (thus my comment about the Switch feeling heavier than the Gamepad - and it's not just my opinion, I've handed each to guests and asked them which they thought was heavier and all of them answer Switch).

                Weight distribution and ergonomics play a huge role as well, and although the Switch ticks off the Weight checkpoint from an engineering point of view it doesn't do so well on the other fronts. It is heavy for how it is designed to be used.

                Agree to disagree, then, seeing as you insist on splitting hairs - if we're talking about a home console that you can take with you, then there's no discussion to be made - there's nothing to compare it to.

                You're comparing it to a controller with a screen to stream games from more powerful hardware? Fine, here's another - the PSVita is 119g lighter than the Switch. The Nvidia Shield is pretty chunky, but it's 8g lighter than the Switch. I'm struggling to find a single hand held gaming device (as in the part of any gaming device that is designed to be held during play), that is heavier than the Switch, and the Wii-U gamepad is the only thing I can find that is demonstrably heavier - the original Xbox controller may have been heavier, but its weight seems to have been wiped from the entire internet for all I can turn up.

                It's light for a tablet, sure, but it's heavy for a handheld.

                  I feel like the Lynx would likely have been heavier (especially loaded up with batteries) but can't seem to find any info on it. Also can't think of anyone I know who would have one to ask :P

                  OH WAIT I HAVE ONE. Wait no, I have two! Sega Game Gear is 397g with a game, 540g with batteries. The TurboExpress is 449g with game, 590 with batteries. Hot damn.

                  Also @owlix Nintendo already had a portable console before - the Virtual Boy. Only 236/378g for the controller, though 1190g for the unit with stand if you're going to hang it around your neck or something... (may or may not have done that once).

        According to my scales it's 93g lighter than the Wii U's gamepad, and yet between the two the Switch feels so much heavier, because it's not at all shaped to be held comfortably. I've played 14 hours of Splatoon in one day and been totally fine, but after barely half an hour of the test fire on Switch in handheld mode it started getting painful. Horrible, horrible design.

        (Also it's 60g heavier than the 3DS XL)

          hey, i was super close. 60g is the weight of a standard mars bar.....

          Fair point about the shape and it being comfortable but lets not say its heavy, it isn't

    I'd say i've had it more off the dock than on. I only have 1 TV in the house so if it's occupied by the wife or kids, it's handy to be able to go do my zeldaring in another room.

    Mine is getting a lot of use in handheld mode, it’s great being able to play while my missus is watching TV.

    Hasn’t left the house yet and it probably won’t until I’m heading on a long-haul flight. It’s too big and cumbersome to play on the train and besides I don’t want to play something as quality as Zelda in a shitty environment (this is a problem with most handheld games).

    I've used it more in handheld than docked, even when I'm home I'm playing handheld!

    This is more or less the make or break point for me on the Switch and the few times I've used one it just hasn't felt like something I'd use on a bus. It's that little too big and knobbly. My Vita and 3DS both fit nicely into my bag and have a nice size to hold, especially if there's someone sitting next to you, but the Switch is just that little bit too awkward and if I was going to use something that size it would be a tablet. The ability to use it with a TV is nice but my primary reason to get one would be as a handheld.

    We use ours probably 50/50 in the dock and out. My son loves playing it in the back of the car on longer trips.

    Hey me neither. Barely turned it on either.

    Snark aside I don't see myself taking it out of the dock much because I'm much the same in that I find the joycons to be pretty terrible and won't be using them unless I absolutely have to. Pro controller is glorious and amazing.

    I'd like to see some global docked/undocked usage stats. If your experience is representative of the majority it makes me think Nintendo would've been better off making it a fulltime home console, giving it a bit more juice and making it less of a niche device.

    mainly in handheld, its cold and playing in bed is the way to go :)

    i'd prefer to play with the console docked, and just chill in front of the tv. but when my girlfriend has something that she wants to watch, or i want to lie down in bed, or take the switch to my study, then i'm fine playing with it in handheld mode. i haven't taken the switch outside of the house with me yet. and i know that defeats the purpose of it being a portable console... but it's also an expensive portable console, and i'd much rather not risk it getting scratched/stolen/lost etc.

    as for the controls that i use. when i first bought the switch i was locking the joy-cons into the grip and holding it like a regular controller. my hands aren't very big, so i felt no need to upgrade to the pro controller. since mario odyssey came out, i decided to try the recommended control style of holding each joy-con separately in each hand. it felt just like using the wii-mote and the nunchuck and completely made sense to me as the best way to play. not having your hands restricted to the same spot like a regular controller is so freeing. it feels natural and easy, and now i don't think there's any way i could go back to the joy-con grip, or even bother with a pro controller.

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