Nintendo has finally introduced its new, all-singing, all-dancing games machine.

The Nintendo Switch is a console comprised of a portable tablet-like device and a docking station for home play. It is different, interesting and we've been playing with one long enough to post our full, in-depth review:

It's now available in the shops, with customers who managed to pre-order it having received their shiny new machines by now. You might even be able to pick one up from a store now. No doubt there will be new stock arriving soon too.

So here's everything you need to know about the new Nintendo Switch.

The late Satoru Iwata first revealed his company was working on a new games console in March 2015. Codenamed Nintendo NX (but reported as "Project NX" originally), the new console was said to be "a brand-new concept" at the time.

"As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'," Iwata said.

The machine he was referring to is the Nintendo Switch, as initially revealed on Thursday 20 October 2016, although he sadly passed away in summer of 2015 so didn't get to deliver that news himself.

The end result is a hybrid machine that comes with a 6.2-inch HD screen and clip-on "Joy-Con" controllers that can also be used independently as mini gamepads. In this "handheld mode" you can use the Switch remotely, when travelling or in a different room.

When you slide the screen into a dock, however, you can then play with it on a big screen TV. The graphical resolution is upped from 720p to Full HD 1080p in that case and the Joy-Cons can be clipped to a "Grip", combining to make a normal-style game controller.

The Nintendo Switch is available now, having official launched on Friday, 3 March in 31 European territories, including the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Portugal and Russia. It is also currently available in South Africa, the US, Canada and Japan.

The Nintendo Switch costs £280 in the UK, $300 in the US and 29,980 Yen ($260) in Japan.

Games cost between £40-60. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is officially priced at £59.99, for example, but is available for less from places like Amazon.co.uk. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is priced at £49.99, but can also be found cheaper elsewhere.

There are plenty of official accessories available but are quite pricey. The Pro Controller costs around £64.99, while an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers is £74.99.

Nintendo has confirmed that membership to a subscription service, much like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, will be required for online play from autumn 2017. It will be charged as a "flat fee" but in the meantime online play is free.

From its launch date, subscribers will also get a free classic game to download and play each month. It is said that you will only be able to play it that month but that's currently unconfirmed.

The price is yet to be revealed but rumours have it as between 2,000 and 3,000 yen (around £14 to £21 at the current exchange rate).

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As stated above, the Nintendo Switch is essentially made of one tablet-like, touchscreen device with a 720p, 6.2-inch screen. Two Joy-Con controllers clip either side when portable, giving a Wii U GamePad-style experience. They then come off when the console is slotted into a docking station, so you can use the Switch like a regular console connected to your TV.

When docked, you can clip the Joy-Con controllers onto a separate Joy-Con Grip accessory to make a fully-fledged gamepad.

What's more, each of the Joy-Cons can be used as a basic controller individually, allowing for two-player games when out and about. The Switch tablet unit has a kickstand so it can remain upright, like a portable TV, providing another option for gaming on the go.

There are two versions of the Switch available at present - one with grey Joy-Cons, one with Joy-Cons that come in neon red and blue.

Here are the official specifications of the Nintendo Switch:

  • 6.2-inch LCD touchscreen (1280 x 720)
  • Maximum resolution of 1080p 60fps when plugged into a TV
  • Nvidia "customised" Tegra processor
  • 32GB storage
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Ethernet internet through optional adapter
  • Bluetooth 4.1 (on tablet)
  • Bluetooth 3.0 (in Joy-Cons)
  • NFC (in right Joy-Con for Amiibo support)
  • Stereo speakers (on tablet)
  • PCM 5.1 channel audio in TV mode
  • HDMI output (on dock)
  • USB Type-C port (on tablet)
  • 3x USB 2.0 ports (on dock) - USB 3.0 support to be added at future date
  • Headphone/mic port (on tablet)
  • MicroSD card slot (on tablet - plus microSDHC/microSDXC support)
  • Game cartridge slot (on tablet)
  • 4,310mAh battery (on tablet - up to six hours of play on one charge)
  • 525mAh batteries (in Joy-Cons - up to 20 hours play time)

The Nintendo Switch user interface is relatively basic. It is icon and thumbnail based, much like the 3DS and Wii U.  There is access to the Nintendo eShop, naturally, so you can download and play digital games.

Sadly, there will be no video streaming services installed from launch. Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other media services could be added in time, but Nintendo said that it is focusing exclusively on games initially.

You can find extra details in our Nintendo Switch review.

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We know of more than 100 games that will support the Nintendo Switch, but only a few of them are currently available. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is out now, along with 1-2 Switch. A few third-party games can also be bought on cartridge or as a digital download from the eShop.

Other games that will launch during 2017 include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and motion beat-em-up Arms. You can see a confirmed Nintendo Switch games list here:

We've had a chance to play some of these new titles, so you can head to the below for a closer look at some of them:

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