I've seen a lot of people say that the Switch is more comfortable than the Wii U Gamepad. (Part of that whole 'Make something look good by disparaging something else' trend.)
Seriously? I've never really found the Switch to be particularly comfortable. It's too thin to grip properly, and the triggers feel gross. Going back to the Wii U, I was surprised at how clunky and heavy and cheap the GamePad felt, but damn, if it wasn't comfortable to hold!
It also amuses me when people say that Nintendo is making amazing games for the Switch, but the Wii U library was trash. Present company excepted, of course!
Anyway, let's rank then Nintendo handhelds, in terms of ergonomics! (I'm including things like the button layout and 'feel'.)
From what I've owned:
1) GBA - mushy buttons, but comfortable to hold 2) GBA SP - great buttons, but slightly cramped 3) DS Lite - Light and compact, with nice spongy buttons 4) DS - hefty, but solid enough to grip. Tiny, chiclet buttons detract. 5) Switch - feels bad, man 6) 3DS - cramp city 7) DSi - Too thin. Feels flimsy. 8) 3DS XL - Cramp City - Population: Me
Yeah, the Wii U gamepad mostly melts into my hands, it's very comfortable. I haven't gotten used to holding the Switch yet, and in fact whenever possible, I'll use the tabletop configuration over holding the Switch like a handheld.
I feel like when I'm holding the weight of the Switch, my thumbs don't fall where they should, especially when I have to use the right stick and shoulder buttons. And when I do, like when I'm playing Splatoon 2, I feel like I'm always on the verge of dropping the thing.
I feel like the Switch is a bit more comfortable for me, the WUG it definitely more ergonomic, but it seemed kind of big and unwieldy. Also I just have an easier time seeing the screen on Switch, it's so much brighter and clearer I can hold the Switch at a better angle and distance and still see fine. The WUG screen was kind of murky and I felt like I needed to hold it closer in order to see it, and at a certain angle to keep the blacks from looking gray and reflective.
In terms of which handhelds are the most comfy, DS Lite is probably the sweet spot for me. The 3DS and especialy the New 3DS are pretty uncomfortable, the buttons are too tiny and awkwardly placed.
Oh and the OG Gameboy is really comfy too, I mean it's a huge brick but it feels nice to hold, and since the controls are so simple there is no need to contort your fingers into crampy positions.
I agree with this assessment. My pinkies get tired and stressed from trying to hold the weight of the thing if I play it as one component. I prefer to detach the controllers and play in tabletop mode at the bar.
I think the Switch is fine. In general I think it feels like playing with an old NES or SNES controller with a screen inbetween, and while there are comfier controllers/handhelds to hold than a flat hunk of plastic it's never gotten uncomfortable or made me feel like I was cramping up. Well, at least not when I'm just sitting around with it; when I'm in bed or playing somewhere where it's harder for me to find support for both arms/hands things can get a bit uncomfortable. Especially when playing games that need me to manipulate the R-stick.
I think the Wii U GamePad is one of Nintendo's worst controllers, so pretty much anything is better than it.
The Switch is better to hold than it first appeared, but it's nothing special. It works fine without being uncomfortable, but I also wouldn't call it comfortable. It's serviceable. It suffices. I don't use handheld mode anyway though, so it doesn't matter to me.
My ranking of the comfort of handhelds I've used:
1. 3DS XL + Circle Pad Pro XL 2. Game Boy 3. Game Boy Advance 4. 3DS XL 5. Game Boy Color 6. Switch 7. DS Lite 8. GBA SP 9. 3DS 192. Wii U Game Pad
I will also go tabletop over handheld whenever possible. I'm thinking that I should send in all of my Joy Con for repair, though. They were fine when I got them, but I feel like interference from solid objects is a much bigger problem now.
I haven't played the Switch in handheld mode enough to even know, but I assume it wouldn't feel that different from the 3DS to me.
Here's my problem with handheld systems: if I'm using my fingers to hold the system, I can't also move them around to press buttons without accounting for the shifting weight of the system. It's part of why I couldn't get into Samus Returns, that seems like an awesome action game, but the number of crazy button presses it requires makes me feel like I'm gonna drop my 3DS. There's a reason why controllers have those... holders... that rest in your palms, the whole thing sits securely in your hand and your thumb and index finger are free to move as they please. Whereas on a 3DS if you take your thumbs off it's either gonna slide down out of your hands or you're gonna have to press your palms tightly together around it to keep it from slipping.
The Wii U gamepad was comfortable because of how big it was. You can easily rest that thing in your palms and still reach all the buttons without having to bend your thumb in any weird way.
@Secret_Tunnel Anyone seeking more comfort from the 3ds should grab one of these bad boys. It makes it a lot less portable, but a lot more comfortable.
I want to find something similar for the Switch. I've seen a review for one model, but it has to be removed before docking. Maybe I'll grab it after I get one of those portable docks (once I'm convinced it won't brick my system).
Agreed. Handle grips make handhelds so much nicer. If you find a good one for the Switch, could I bother you to PM me and let me know? I'd love something like that, so long as it was easy to put in and out of (some of the DS ones felt like you were going to break the system just to get them out of the handle holder!)
My screen is thoroughly scratched by taking it in and out of the dock so much. That's the main thing I'm looking forward to in the first Switch refresh, a dock with some padding or a different design, those two hard plastic runners were a bad idea.
I don't find it particularly comfortable, but that's how I feel more or less about all handhelds (the Switch is heaven compared to the 3DS). The Wii U game pad is much more comfortable -- I think the difference is that the game pad was designed as a dedicated controller with a screen on it, whereas the Switch is a Swiss army handheld.
I'm so thankful for tabletop mode, so I can avoid playing it handheld as much as possible.