Nintendo Switch switches to full 1080p while docked

Nintendo Switch will hit full 1080p resolution while docked for console play, but only 720p when taken on the go.

8 minutes & 6 seconds read time

Nintendo's new Switch hybrid hardware merges both handheld gaming and console gaming, allowing you to take it on the go like a tablet or dock it for console play. Now we have even more evidence that the Switch will "switch" performance levels depending on how its used, with docked console play delivering the best 1080p performance.

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We recently reported the Switch underclocked performance and limited resolution to 720p while on-the-go, as the Switch's 6.2-inch multi-touch "tablet" handheld only has a 1280 x 720 screen. This is despite the "tablet" (aka Switch "console") housing all of the system's tech, including NVIDIA's new highly customized Pascal-grade Tegra processor. Now Nintendo sources have told Let's Play Video Games' Laura Kate Dale that the Switch actually performs better while docked.

When connected to the dock's USB Type-C power port (yes, the Switch will use USB Type-C instead of a first-party proprietary cord), the Nintendo Switch is able to hit full 1080p resolution, whereas "switching" over to the Switch's portable handheld drops resolution to 720p.

The Switch's dock does have an effect on performance, but there's no evidence that the dock actually has any actual hardware in it: the dock is cheap, lightweight, and easy to produce. The resolution switch happens internally, and is triggered when the device is hooked up to the dock, which has both USB Type-C power and HDMI out for 1080p HDTVs. So instead of using the Switch's display, the console switches over to use the HDTV's display.

What's interesting to note is that USB Type-C will likely only be used for power, but the protocol can actually transmit data, power and video signals. This could be a bit of future-proofing on Nintendo's part.

But what happens when you hook up the Switch to a portable power bank via USB Type-C? Can gamers unlock full 1080p gaming on-the-go while the Switch is charging on a power bank?

Since the Switch's screen is just 720p, the answer to that question is no.

Read Also: Nintendo Switch may have extra power while docked

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This is particularly interesting given Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has said the Switch will "deliver console-quality gaming while on-the-go", leading many to believe that the gaming experiences on the portable Switch will be exactly the same as when it's docked for console play.

"When mounted on the Nintendo Switch Dock, you can experience high-impact gameplay on the large screen. Just remove the Nintendo Switch system from the Nintendo Switch Dock to transfer the game from the TV to the system screen instantly, letting you experience home console-quality gaming while switching between the TV and any other location," Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said in the company's latest investor relations report.

"The two unique detachable Joy-Con controllers also allow you to switch between multiple play styles with a single Nintendo Switch system, whether at home or on the go, letting you enjoy the gameplay of a home video game system with the portable convenience of a handheld system."

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Read Also: Nintendo Switch to have wide array of hardware add-ons

We've also learned that the Nintendo Switch may have extensive Virtual Console libraries, with GameCube VC games coming over to the Switch.

Nintendo will unveil full Switch details at two major events in January.

The console will launch in March 2017 (possibly March 17) and is expected to cost $250 for the base version, and $299 for the version bundled with a pack-in game.

Check below for a massive catalog of everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far.

Everything we know about Nintendo Switch so far:

Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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