5 Problems with the Nintendo Switch You Should Know Before Buying

Nintendo’s latest and maybe-greatest console has cometh, ready to banish memories of the cumbersome controls and glossy, smeary screens of the Wii U forever.

But while the Nintendo Switch is here and for the most part is a solid and innovative console (and it’s home to one of the best-rated games of all time in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), it’s not without its problems.

Before you commit to a purchase, read this list of reported issues with the Switch since launch, then decide whether you want to “make the switch” or hold out until its niggles get resolved.

1. Dead Pixels

Let’s get the most controversial stuff out of the way first – those damned dead pixels. A dead pixel is the term for a single pixel on your display refusing to light up. (The opposite of this is a “stuck” pixel where it’s lit all the time.)

Although barely noticeable, once you spot one of these things it becomes hard to ignore. Nintendo, however, has washed its hands of the issue, saying that a small number of dead pixels is “normal” and doesn’t amount to a defect.

With that said, when there was a customer backlash to the same problem back in the DS days, Ninty eventually, reluctantly allowed people to trade them in, so there’s always hope.


2. Storage Space

Unless Nintendo has a deal with SanDisk, Kingston, and all the other big names of microSD card manufacturers, I’m not sure what they were thinking by only chucking in a 32GB SD card by default.

Sure, it’s “easy” to expand storage, with microSD coming in sizes up to 512GB, but one of those will set you back at least $200. For some perspective, an entire PS4 with a 500GB hard drive is only $250.

At some point down the line, Nintendo will probably bundle the Switch in with a higher storage capacity, but at this point the cost is pretty steep when you take storage into account.

3. Joy-Con Controller Malfunctions

Now this is a weird one. Players have been reporting problems with the Joy-Con controller not working as it should, and Nintendo’s advice is to not use the controller near (deep breath) wires, cords, metal objects, laptops, microwaves, USB 3.0 devices, mobile phones, laptops, tablets and … aquariums, among other things.


If you find that advice a bit odd, you’re not alone. Thankfully, other people have reported that the actual reason your Joy-Con malfunctions may be because it’s out of sight of your Switch.

Of course, this shouldn’t be happening with modern Bluetooth devices, but it’s a workaround while Nintendo looks into the issue (or a good reason to refrain from buying a Switch just yet).

4. No Backwards Compatibility

Okay, so this problem isn’t exactly a new one, but it’s a big enough issue that it’s made me hold off from buying a Switch. Until now, a big part of Nintendo consoles’ appeal has been backwards compatibility with previous-gen consoles. You can’t do that on the Switch, however.


The Switch may use microSD cards instead of discs, but that doesn’t mean Nintendo couldn’t come up with a digital solution at some point down the line, perhaps allowing people who own a given game on a previous-gen console to download it for free or at a discount. Until Nintendo say something about this, I’m not biting.

5. TV Changes Channel with Switch Docked

Back to more pressing issues, a lot of users have reported that when the Switch is docked, it has the habit of changing the channel to that of the Switch, even if you don’t want to use it at that time. That’s not a very friendly way to get people to play on your console, Nintendo.


It seems that the problem only occurs with certain TVs, particularly Samsung ones. There is, thankfully, a solution to this while Nintendo, Samsung or whoever pull their socks up. Go to your TV’s settings, find the HDMI-CEC option, and turn it off. Job done.


I always encourage a “wait and see” approach with game consoles and games. A new console usually takes at least a year to really hit its stride, come down in price, and have its software issues sorted. There may even be models of the Switch by that point that eliminate minor hardware faults like dead pixels.

The Switch does, on balance, seem to be a slightly more troubled console on launch than its rivals, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great console. Tempting though it is to get it just for the brilliant Breath of the Wind, patience tends to pay off, and for the reasons outlined above, I’m going to abstain.

Robert Zak
Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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