It might not do things as big as Sony and Microsoft, or as well as its rivals in some cases.

But you’ve got to love Nintendo.

It’s still got the knack for producing the most ingenious and innovative consoles combined with some of the weirdest but most delightful games.

Released earlier this year, the Switch is its latest triumph, making it a cert to be top of many Christmas lists and in a lot of living rooms come December 25.

The brilliance of the Switch has a lot to do with its versatility, as it’s a mix of a TV console, tablet and handheld device all in one.

As it did with the Wii’s motion controllers and the Wii U’s second-screen GamePad, Nintendo has created an experience that’s different to what else is out there.

Croydon Guardian: The Nintendo Switch games console

If you want to use the Switch as a conventional games console, you simply put it in its dock and then it displays on your TV screen up to 1080p with all the glorious colour and cuteness that are hallmarks of any Nintendo product.

Or if you want to play on the go, you simply lift the Switch out of its dock and it instantly switches to handheld mode. If you’re heading out somewhere or someone else wants to use the TV, there need not be any interruption to your gaming. Switch games are Switch games and you don’t need two pieces of hardware or two different versions of software to enjoy them.

The resolution drops to 720p on the device’s 6.2-inch touchscreen when it's out of your dock but this isn’t massively noticeable and everything still looks sharp and vibrant.

The Switch slides into a decent sized pocket or can easily be tucked into a bag for convenient gaming on the move.

Croydon Guardian: The Nintendo Switch games console

Tabletop is the third mode, allowing you to the prop the machine up on its kickstand and get down to some semi-portable play as you might on a tablet or mobile.

Being able to switch (I see what they did there) so seamlessly from a TV console to a handheld device really is the best of both worlds.

The adaptability extends further still with the Joy-Cons, the mini controllers which the Switch comes with, which can also used in several different ways.

One held in each hand, these can be used in ways that go beyond the standard button-pushing or joystick moving, such as swinging to punch or tilting to aim.

Alternatively, they can be plugged into a grip to become more of a regular controller.

Croydon Guardian: The Nintendo Switch games console

And in games involving two or more people, the Joy-Cons can be shared around so each player uses one as an individual controller.

When you’re playing in handheld mode, you simply securely slide the Joy-Cons on to the side of the console and away you go. The Switch is light and ergonomic enough that you can comfortably hold it for periods of play while you’re at home or out and about.

The battery provides about 2.5 to three hours of use when playing a high-end game on a fully charged Switch, so that should do for the daily commute.

Croydon Guardian: The Nintendo Switch games console

Detached from the console, the Joy-Cons are mostly fine but aren’t particularly well suited to bigger hands. In multiplayer games you turn the Joy-Con on its side, and because of its small size you may find yourself bending and hooking your fingers to get to all the buttons. You’ll need to take breaks to avoid finger cramp.

In terms of its games library so far, the Switch is definitely a case of quality over quantity. There isn’t a huge amount of choice yet, but some of the games that have been released are fantastic.

Adventure game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is awesome, while MarioKart remains huge fun in its latest edition and Splatoon 2 is a quirky chaotic shooter of sorts that uses ink instead of bullets. Super Mario Odyssey is out in time for Christmas for fans of the platforming plumber.

Croydon Guardian:

Beyond these, there are a few other standout titles but not a massive array. Let’s hope a lot more come out as the Switch enters its second year.

While the selection is limited and the current games don’t come cheap, nearly £50 in most cases, the most wonderful thing about the Switch is being able to play really premium games like Zelda and Mario on a handheld device wherever you are. There’s been the DS from Nintendo before and the PS Vita from Sony (anyone remember that?), but no other portable device has offered the experience of having a fully-fledged console in your hands to the same level as this.

Croydon Guardian: MarioKart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch

Not everything is perfect with the Switch in addition to the couple of quibbles I’ve already mentioned.

Its kickstand is not very sturdy at all and the game cartridges are tiny and feel quite fragile – these things might not be particularly safe in the clumsy hands of small children.

No Bluetooth, meaning you can’t use wireless headphones with the Switch, is an annoyance when it comes to playing games remotely.

And the cost is a concern. The initial outlay of £279 isn’t terrible, but there are extra expenses that potentially follow which parents in particular will feel acutely. You’ll need a portable charger if you want extra battery juice while you’re away from the dock, and you’ll want a memory card if you want to download games as the Switch’s internal storage is only 32GB. Accessories such as more Joy-Cons, grips and Pro Controller add considerably to the overall spend.

It could be worth shopping around for these things and checking places such as online marketplace eBay (from where the Switch used for this review was courtesy of) to see if they are cheaper.

While there are a few issues, the Switch is a superb hybrid console that performs its two main functions – TV and portable – very well.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are the consoles of choice for ‘proper’ gamers looking for the most powerful machines and the games with the most eye-popping graphics.

But when it comes to multiplayer fun and multipurpose functionality, Nintendo rules with its family-friendly crowd-pleasing console that’s going to be a hit for anyone Father Christmas delivers it to.