App Title: YouTube
Company: Google, Inc
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Battery Life: 4 -5 hours
Download: 90.8 MB

For the longest time, I’ve seen how today’s gaming world is. When we get something, we want something else and when we get that, we want something else. I remember when Final Fantasy VII released on the PlayStation Network for PS3 and PSP owners. People begged for it and the moment it came, “But where’s FF8 and FF9?”.

The Nintendo Switch audience is no different. The hybrid device’s lack of streaming apps has been a big topic of debate. We had nothing. Then we got Hulu and people wanted YouTube. Then we got YouTube, and what does the public community do? “Where’s Netflix?”

Thus the cycle goes on and on. But I’m not here to lecture you about the cycle of today’s whine-infested group of gaming keyboard warriors. Let’s enjoy what we have and take a look at a new app! Here is my review of YouTube for the Nintendo Switch!

Design

YT 2 - design

The app’s design on the Switch resembles the same apps on other consoles. Since the PS4 and Xbox One apps got redesigned, we have an interface with a vertical side-bar for major functions, a horizontal bar at the top of the screen with genres, and a middle part with tons of videos for users to cycle through and start listening to.

First of all, let’s talk about features and all these menus. Once you link up your YT account through a code to input on your computer or phone browser, everything is synced up and catered towards you. It’s a very simple process and one I vastly prefer over having to manually type account info with the on-screen keyboard and the Switch’s controllers.

The Side Menu is where everything is. You’ve got a search function as well as account and app settings for you to cycle through and tweak. Then you’ve got your 3 viewing modes: Home, which shows you featured and recommended videos. Subscriptions shows you videos channels you’ve subscribed to have recently uploaded. And finally, Folders lets you cycle through your videos, liked videos, and playlists.

YT 3 - streaming

Once you start playing a video, there’s plenty for you to interact with as well. While you can’t access comments in the app, it does allow you to modify some settings of the video you’re watching, like quality, captions, liking, and viewing the channel of the person who uploaded that video. You can also tap X to pull up the search from anywhere, be it the menu or in the middle of watching a video.

All in all, it’s a very simple app and is easy to navigate around and get to what you want. There’s also versatility in the fact that this app has both button controls and touch controls. You can cycle videos with the Arrow Buttons and then select and skip around with the action and triggers, but you can use the touch screen to tap and use options while you’re in tabletop or handheld modes, something the Hulu app does not support.

One thing I’ll say about the touch controls, however, is the fact that you can tap options with the touch screen, but you cannot scroll with it. Scrolling through videos has to be done with the physical controls as any attempts to make swipe gestures will register as a tap.

Performance

YT 4 - settings

Having this as a perfect copy of the PS4 app is all good and dandy, but how does the app perform? That is the important thing and the home of both the good and the annoying things about this application.

First of all, the app runs and navigates as smooth as butter. It launches before the Nintendo Switch splash screen barely has time to even start and the entire experience is lag-free. It runs much faster and smoother than the PS4 app does with little to no waiting between menus.

Now as far as video quality is concerned, the actual picture quality looks very nice. HD videos look nice and crisp whether you’re watching your favorite handheld reviewer’s latest release or Geekdom101’s newest spoiler video for the upcoming Dragon Ball Super movie.

YT 5 - Sound Settings

But there are some nitpicks and annoyances here. First is the sound volume. To comfortably listen to videos, I have to increase the volume on my TV a lot, and in handheld mode, I have to almost max out the volume to bring Let’s Play videos just up to the point where I can hear what they’re saying. You can certainly hear, but it takes a lot of volume to do it.

There’s also the matter of Mono Sound Quality. If your Switch has its sound settings set to Mono, YouTube will not play any videos and will give you random playback errors. The Switch’s System Settings MUST be set to Stereo Audio to play videos in the app.

A minor annoyance I found was through ads. Skippable ads have to be toggled selected two times in a row before they’ll actually skip. Even when they are highlighted, it requires the two inputs or it won’t skip the video.

Battery Life

Video Streaming I’ve always seen as something that wouldn’t really drain that much power from the system. Here are my Battery Times from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 43 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 54 minutes

As expected, you can get quite a bit of battery time out of YouTube.

In conclusion, YouTube on the Switch is just like it is on other consoles, but faster and smoother. It isn’t without it’s annoyances, however, with double inputs, partial touch controls, and some sound settings that the app doesn’t play well with. With a little adjusting, though, it’s a great way for Switch players to keep up with their favorite YouTubers.

Final Score: 7.5/10