The Orion Switch screen is completely impractical and I love it

I have a thing for ridiculous gaming accessories. If I had to guess, I’m sure this fondness stems from my childhood, when I didn’t know the difference between an official device and third-party junk. I remember seeing ridiculous GameBoy screen magnifiers and wishing my parents would buy me one. Who cares if it made the handheld clumsier? I just thought it looked cool.

When I first saw the Orion, a portable HD monitor that turns the Nintendo Switch screen into an 11.6-inch IPS screen, that feeling came back to me. The adult part of me knew it was a completely impractical device. It would functionally destroy the Switch’s easy portability, and it felt a lot more painful to carry around than the console’s TV dock. But the kid in me could only see this GameBoy screen he never got to try. I could not resist.

After using the Orion as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 mate, the two parts of my brain have reached a compromise. My adult self, the one who thinks about responsible spending, can accept that spending $300 is ridiculous. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying my time playing Switch games on an oversized screen.

The adult brain says…

Up-Switch’s Orion is a genius idea that makes less sense the more you think about it. It is a lightweight monitor designed to triple the screen size of the Switch while maintaining system ethos. To set it up, all I had to do was plug the Orion into an outlet, insert my Switch into the back of the device via its charging port, and dock my Joy-Cons into monitor’s built-in handles. So! I now had a gigantic Switch.

Let’s put the absurdity aside. The idea of ​​using it as a portable device is laughable. Although you can hold it like a Switch via the Joy-Con grips, it’s an utterly implausible way to play. The uncomfortable size and weight make it far too bulky to hold for more than a few minutes. Realistically, you’ll probably want to use its kickstand to prop it up and play with undocked controllers. You know, like you would on a TV…the thing your Nintendo Switch connects to just as easily.

Even if you wanted to take it on the go, you can’t. It needs to be plugged in to work, so it’s essentially a home console (a battery can be attached via Velcro straps to the back, but the idea of ​​adding more weight seems silly). You would pay $300, which is the price of a real Switch! — to buy a small monitor. It’s a great companion for a log cabin vacation that doesn’t have a TV, but the actual use cases seem slim.

From a logical point of view, there is no reason to own a device like this. But sometimes tech purchases don’t make sense. Sometimes you have to go with your heart.

The child’s brain says…

The Orion may be impractical technology, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. After five years of using my Switch, it’s downright new to see its games grow up to three times their size, while still maintaining the portable aspect of the system to some extent. During my tests, I curled up in a corner of my apartment, put it on my lap, and used the kickstand to play. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 while I had the TV on in the background.

A switch in an Orion monitor displays Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Xenolame is actually a great test case for the device. Its combat is visually complicated, with seven heroes fighting at the same time. The tiny UI clutters the screen, making it hard to tell what’s going on when playing in handheld mode. The larger screen allows me to more clearly analyze what’s going on in battle (this is especially helpful given my myopic status, which makes my TV look a little fuzzy), even though the display itself is a little more washed out than my Switch OLED display.

Although the Switch gets the most out of the Orion, it can also be used with other devices thanks to its HDMI port. For example, you can connect it to an Xbox Series S to create a standalone Xbox that you can take with you anywhere. I plan to bring my Orion into my office to use as a dedicated gaming display that sits on my desk. Use cases like this open up the device’s niche potential.

An OLED switch sits on the back of an Orion monitor.

The Orion is a novelty toy for those who grew up playing with their parents’ money, but now have disposable income. It’s forgiving technology that your brain knows it doesn’t need, but the techie in you wants to play with regardless. I can’t recommend it one way or the other, because only your heart can decide if a large Switch screen will bring you joy (it’s not like you’re getting a Switch Pro anytime soon ).

When I use it, I think back to that elusive GameBoy magnifying glass I never grew up with. With the Orion, I finally have the most tricked out Nintendo handheld on the block – though I wouldn’t be caught dead using it in public.

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