Tech Columnistour things you should get for your Nintendo Switch before it arrives
We’re quickly approaching the March 3rd launch of the Nintendo Switch. While you (hopefully) have your console’s preorder locked, there are a few other things you might want to grab for your Switch in advance.
Below, we’ve broken down our picks for microSD cards, Ethernet adapters, charging cables, and everything else we can think of that you might want on hand when your Switch arrives.
The Nintendo Switch can theoretically take use microSD cards up to 2TB (although 256GB cards are the largest size currently on the market). When choosing your storage, remember that microSD cards aren’t created equal, and there’s a lot more to their specs than pure storage capacity.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE:
Obviously, the best memory card for your Switch is probably the one you already have at home. The Switch is compatible with SDXC cards, which is backwards compatible with the older, smaller capacity SD and SDHC cards. So pretty much any microSD card you’ve got lying around from an old Android phone or a digital camera should work in the Switch. You’ll have to format and erase the contents of the card before using it, so back up anything you’d like to keep first.
OR BUY NEW:
If you’re looking to buy a new card specifically for the Switch, we have some recommendations for that, too. Now, Nintendo hasn’t released the exact specifications for the Switch’s SD card support beyond the 2TB and SDXC details. That said, the company is licensing accessory maker Hori to make bespoke Nintendo Switch-branded cards, so we’ll use those specifications, for the time being, as our guideline as to what class of microSD card to look for.
The Hori card is a smaller microSDHC card, storage-wise, but we care about the speeds: it’s a UHS-I slot (denoted by the Roman numeral I) with a Class 10 speed class (the 10 in the circle) and Class 1 UHS Speed Class (the 1 in the u-shaped bucket). We’ve contacted Nintendo for more details, but until we hear otherwise, we’ll be focusing on cards with roughly those parameters.
(There is the possibility the Switch can use other microSD cards. For example, a Class 1 UHS promises a minimum speed of 10MB/s. But a Class 3 card promises a minimum speed of 30MB/s. Again, the Switch can use these higher class cards, but it’s unclear if the hardware will take advantage of the higher speeds in any fashion.)
Best Value: For a 64GB card, it’s hard to beat Lexar’s 300x model, which costs $20. However, the 300x has a 45MB/s top speed, almost half that of the $25 PNY Elite (up to 85 MB/s read speed), the $30 Samsung Evo+ (up to 80MB/s), or the $30 SanDisk Extreme (up to 90MB/s read speed), all of which are good options, too.
Best Storage: We don’t know how big the average Switch game is, but as a benchmark, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is apparently a 13.4GB download (or almost half the Switch’s 32GB of onboard storage). That is to say, you might want a larger card if you plan to download many games.
If you want the best card, with the fastest speeds, and the most storage, then you’ll want the 256GB Samsung Evo+. It runs for around $160 on Amazon, and ticks all the speed boxes (and then some) for the Switch. Alternatively, Microdia theoretically sells a 512GB microSD card, but it’ll cost you a cool $1,000.
All-around good deal: Samsung’s 128GB Evo+ is probably the sweet spot. At 128GB, it’ll offer quadruple your Switch’s built-in memory with a comfortable amount of storage. Samsung’s Evo+ line is also highly rated with a recommendation from the testing crew over atThe Wirecutter. It costs about $50 on Amazon, just a bit more than a slower $40 SanDisk card with the same capacity.
The Switch comes with an USB-C charger that connects directly to the console or to the dock. But if you’re planning on charging up your console on away from your TV and an electric socket, it will help have a few extra USB-C cables.
Anker’s USB Type-A to USB-C cables are cheap and reliable enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about frying your new console. Alternatively, you can grab some $7 microUSB adapters and repurpose some of your existing cables instead. And if you’ve already fully made the jump to USB-C, grab a spare USB-C to USB-C cable.
And if you’re going the full USB-C route, you’ll probably want a spare charger for your wall, too.
The Switch’s biggest selling point is the ability to take it with you on the go. To that end, you’ll probably want a case. There’s a whole bunch of options already up for preorder online, but without trying any of them out, it’s hard to say for sure what’s good. That said, PDP’s $15 option looks like it should get the job done for basic protection of your new console. The fact that it isn’t an eyesore helps.
If you’re planning on connecting your Switch to the internet through Ethernet, you’ll need a USB adapter to use with the Switch dock. Nintendo has it’s own $30 branded one, but you’ll probably want to skip that and just use a cheaper option instead.