One of my biggest complaints about using a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode is that its screen is just too small. And unlike previous Nintendo handhelds like the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, no company has been bold enough to release a direct book light and magnifying window combo for the Switch.
If you were to ask me how interested I would be, on a Switch with a massive 11.6-inch display, I’d be counting down the days until I could own what sounds like a glorious thing. (Not quite what I had in mind for a Switch Pro, but I think Nintendo knows best.) Well, that future is here – and it’s apparently been here longer than I thought. A company called Up-Switch makes the Orion, a glorified Switch dock-meets-screen that wedges between two Joy-Con controllers.
This $299.99 accessory is like Kirby breathing in your Switch, and the byproduct delivered a bigger screen. The back of the Orion opens to reveal a slot that slides open to fit the console and connects via the Switch’s USB-C port. It has a kickstand on the back, along with built-in speakers. The Orion has an HDMI port, which Up-Switch says can be used for other gaming consoles or streaming devices.
I would have given this gadget some credit for allowing you to slap the Joy-Con controllers to the side, but it includes detachable controller grips that seem as good as necessary for it to comfortably carry the Orion’s full weight of 1.5 pounds to hold. Note, however, that the weight doesn’t include the 10.5 ounces of the Switch, nor the weight of the portable power bank that you’ll need strapped to your back if you want to go mobile with this slightly crazy setup. You can Ditch the power bank and plug it in with the USB-C power adapter that Nintendo includes with every Switch, but it defeats the purpose of using the Switch in handheld mode when you’re no longer mobile.
The Orion made the rounds with some media in late 2021 when it launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. I particularly enjoyed it Nintendo life‘s extensive coverage of it, including the video review, which reveals some flaws you’d otherwise only know by trying them out – how the Orion display is 768p resolution and pales in comparison to the Switch OLED and the original Switch display. Confusingly, the two speakers are on the back of the Orion, facing towards the person holding it.
Her recommendation, if you really, really want to live out a version of that dream you clearly don’t want to come true, is to invest in a portable 1080p monitor. I think I’ll just keep dreaming of what might be to come in the much rumored Switch Pro.