Wondering whether the Nintendo Switch has a camera? It's a question that pos up time and time again. Considering how the Nintendo console is also meant to be portable, a camera might indeed come in handy.
While rival consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox have (or had) cameras for their VR and Kinect games, their lack of portability means that there would be little value in them having a camera array in-built.
The Switch meanwhile, makes its portability a major selling point. But is there a Nintendo Switch camera? Kind of. We'll explain everything.
Does The Nintendo Switch Have A Camera?
The Nintendo Switch has no lens on the front or the back of the console, meaning that it doesn't have a camera in the conventional sense. It certainly isn't set up like a smartphone or tablet, to be able to take pictures while you are out and about. Which, when most Switch users will probably have a smartphone to take photos when they are out and about, makes sense. The Switch really wouldn't get used for that purpose.
But that isn't the end of the story. If you look at the underside of your Switch Joycon controller, you'll notice an area of black amongst those bright colours. This is a camera, of sorts. While it doesn't use a traditional lens, it is an IR camera. This means it uses infrared to map the area around it. While there wasn't enormous use for this initially, the Nintendo Labo kits have helped utilise the camera much more. Let's take a look at what you can use it for.
How To Use The IR Camera On Nintendo Switch
If you want to use the IR camera on the Switch, then the easiest way is to get games which make use of this feature. Nintendo Labo for instance, utilises the IR sensor in a variety of creative ways, to provide feedback to the Switch. Because it uses infrared, it can also detect heat, and transmit live feedback to the Switch of whatever heat sources the camera can detect.
So it isn't a conventional camera. And its use is limited to whatever Nintendo create for it to interact with. But if you're looking to use the Switch for viewing photos, is there anything you can do?
Photos on the Switch
You can capture screenshots on your Switch, using the Camera button on the left Joycon. And you can view them by going to the Album icon via your Home Screen. You can even share these images on Twitter or Facebook, if your accounts are linked. There is also a MicroSD card slot under the kickstand. You can use this to store games or screenshots. You can then revisit those screenshots should you wish.
In summary, then, the Nintendo Switch does have a camera, of a very specific kind, for a very specific purpose. It does not have a conventional camera for taking conventional photos. Which, for most people, is probably fine.
The vast majority of Switch users will have a smartphone that probably has a superior camera to anything Nintendo might have installed on the Switch. And there is also the cost implications to consider.
If Nintendo had added a camera, even with relatively modest specs, they would have had to increase the price of the console. And it really wouldn't have been worth it.