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 brave enough to release a straight-up book light and magnifying glass window combo for the Switch.
If you asked me how interested I’d be, then, in a Switch that had a massive 11.6-inch display, I’d count the days down until I could own what sounds like a glorious thing. (Not quite what I had in mind for a Switch Pro, but I guess Nintendo knows best.) Well, that future is here — and it has apparently been here for longer than I realized. A company called Up-Switch makes the Orion, a glorified Switch dock-meets-screen that can be sandwiched between two Joy-Con controllers.
This $299.99 accessory is like if Kirby inhaled your Switch, and the byproduct delivered a bigger screen. The Orion’s back pops open, revealing a slot that opens to fit the console, connecting via the Switch’s USB-C port. It has a kickstand on its rear, 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 letting you slap the Joy-Con controllers on the side, but it includes removable controller grips, which seem all but necessary to make it comfortable to hold up the Orion’s full 1.5-pound weight. Note, however, that weight doesn’t include the Switch’s 10.5 ounces, nor does it include the weight of the portable power bank that you’ll need to have strapped to its back if you want to go mobile with this somewhat freakish setup. You can ditch the power bank and plug 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 if you’re no longer mobile.
The Orion made the rounds with a few media outlets in late 2021 when it launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. I particularly enjoyed Nintendo Life’s extensive coverage of it, including the video review, which pulls no punches in exposing some flaws you’d otherwise only know by trying it out yourself — like that the Orion’s display is 768p resolution and that it pales in comparison to the Switch OLED and the original Switch’s display. Also, puzzlingly, its dual speakers are located on the back of the Orion, aimed away at the person who’s holding it.
Their recommendation, if you really, really want to live out some version of this dream that’s clearly not meant to be a reality, is to invest in a 1080p portable monitor. As for me, I guess I’ll just keep dreaming of what might be to come in the oft-rumored Switch Pro.