Fans say the Switch is the console you didn't know you wanted. Instead of being locked into one mode, you can bring the games with you and play it how you want. If a certain part of the game doesn't require full concentration and hardcore mode, then why not take it with you and play it on the bus? And if it does require hardcore mode, it's easy to get it on that big screen so you can really focus. By bridging portable and home gaming, the Switch is able to provide huge value with little compromise.
It was a small but substantial “Eureka” moment: I’d been playing Zelda for a couple hours like I’d play a normal console game, and I was vacillating between going to bed and finishing whatever task I was occupied with in the game. “Wait,” I thought. “I can do both!” Without trying, I’d stumbled upon one of the many situations where you’d like to play a game but don’t feel like sitting down in the same spot staring at your TV. Later I experimented with playing the switch reclining on the couch, as if it were my 3DS, and propped up next to my PC while I worked. (Oh, like you never secretly got your game on at the office.)
I found myself automatically segmenting the game and my time more effectively. I used the less-intense handheld mode in spare moments to explore idly and accomplish the inevitable mundane tasks you encounter in games: sorting inventory, crafting, reading lore. But when work and dinner were done and I wanted to tackle that dungeon I’d spotted between calls, in a handful of seconds I was in hardcore mode: lights out, big screen, speakers blasting.
Critics say the Switch's attempt at innovation is actually its downfall. By trying to do everything, it's failing to do any single thing well. It's too big to be truly portable, and it's too underpowered to make it a worthwhile home console. It's not bad, but it's not good. And the controllers suck.
Because that USB-C port is on the bottom of the tablet, there’s an odd conflict: you cannot charge the Switch if you’ve propped it up with its built-in (and rather flimsy) kickstand as a shared screen for multiplayer games like Super Bomberman R, where up to four people can play with one Joy-Con a piece. It’s not a massive deal, but it highlights the push and pull that typifies the system: it’s trying to be so many things at once that it can’t pull any of them off perfectly.
As a handheld, the Switch is a powerful piece of hardware with a gorgeous screen, but it's too large and power hungry to feel like you can really take it anywhere. As a console, it’s underpowered, unreliable, and lacking basic features and conveniences that all of its competitors offer. It’s nicely built and cleverly designed to be used in a variety of ways, but the bottom line is that the Switch doesn’t do any one of the many things it can do without some sort of significant compromise.