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?


    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 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.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now