There are many, many unanswered questions surrounding the Nintendo Switch (aka Project NX) after its brief reveal this morning. The biggest? We still don’t know the actual dimensions of the system, including a tablet screen and detachable Joy-Con controllers. In the absence of official information, we analyzed high-quality images of the system distributed by Nvidia to estimate those dimensions. That analysis shows that the Nintendo Switch has a screen of about 6.5″ and individual controllers that are slightly smaller than those on the NES.
Our photographic analysis of the Switch’s dimensions relies on one visual reference point: the analog sticks on the controllers. On Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4, the top of the analog stick measures 17-18mm in diameter at its widest point. That seems to be a comfortable sweet spot that all the console manufacturers have come to. It’s possible that the Switch has thrown this convention out the window and has a much smaller or larger analog pad, but we doubt it.
With that educated guess in hand, we can count how many analog sticks fit pixel by pixel over the Switch’s provided graphics. For example, the tablet screen in the picture is approximately 8.3 analog sticks wide and 4.68 analog sticks high. That translates to a 145 x 82mm (5.7 x 3.2″) screen, which would be roughly 167mm (or 6.56″) diagonally.
Here are the results of the same analysis process for several other Switch configurations. All measurements are taken at the longest points and do not include cutouts for rounded corners. For the individual controllers, the slight bulge of the shoulder buttons was not included:
- Joy-Con controller (individual): ~106.4 mm x 34.3 (4.19 x 1.35″)
- Merged dual Joy-Con controller (no display): ~157.5 x 115.8 mm (6.2 x 4.56″)
- Tablet (without controllers): ~ 184.1 x 106.4 mm (5.83″ x 4.19″)
- Full System (Tablet with two controllers): ~253.4 x 106.4 mm (9.98 x 4.19″)
For a particular context:
- NES controller: ~123 x 53 mm (4.85 x 2.09″) [Update: These dimensions were originally listed incorrectly]
- Xbox One controller: ~180.3 x 175.3 mm (7.1 x 6.9″)
- iPad Air: ~240 x 169.5mm (9.4 x 6.76″)
Admittedly, this method of size estimation poses some confusing issues regarding perspective and accurate counting of pixels on the images (ie measuring where the product ends and the background begins). For example, using the same process on the two different Switch perspectives that Nvidia provides gives slightly different heights for the Joy-Con controller (4.19″ vs. 4.56″).
Still, in the absence of official information from Nintendo, we think this is a workable first-order approximation of the Switch’s overall size. Now you can measure out your own facsimiles and try to imagine having the mysterious console in your hands in March.