One of the big draws of the Nintendo Switch is that it’s a single device for handheld portable and couch console play. Details in the initial reveal were sparse, however, as Nintendo simply offered up a short trailer showing off the look and concept of the device, rather than doing a full presentation.
One question we’ve been asking since then is whether or not that dock shown off in the ad is simply a charging dock with an HDMI output, or if it actually powers up the system and gives us a reason to plug the console in rather than just playing it in-hand.
According to Nintendo watcher Laura Dale, one of the most reliable sources on Nintendo Switch rumors running up to the reveal, the dock does indeed beef up the system.
We need a good reason to dock the Nintendo Switch beyond charging.
Dale writes that sources from Nintendo and Ubisoft have told her that the hardware “has an easier time running docked compared to when out and about as a portable.” It’s unclear whether or not the dock simply allows the tablet to overclock because it’s plugged into a power source or if the dock actually has internal processing hardware that could amp up the resolution and provide a better experience.
Nintendo has said in interviews that “the dock is not the main console unit of Nintendo Switch,” and that the main function of the dock is to provide a TV output and charging, but as Dale points out, the language of that statement leaves a lot of room for the dock to provide additional functions. The statement seems to be intended to clarify that the Switch tablet functions entirely on its own, as compared to the confusing in-home wireless nature of the Wii U console.
Nintendo isn’t saying anything else about the Switch until after the holidays, but we’re looking forward to hearing more about just how it works in the coming months.