Nintendo Switch OLED

MSRP $350.00

“The Nintendo Switch OLED may not be what players dreamed of, but it’s undeniably a technical step up for the Switch.”


  • Improved display screen
  • Improved onboard audio
  • Much higher kickstand
  • Cleaner dock design


  • No upgrades for TV
  • Storage remains to be small

Much of the dialogue across the Nintendo Switch OLED mannequin has been about what it’s not, versus what it’s. From its preliminary announcement, followers had been vocally upset concerning the improve’s lack of three principal issues: 4K graphics whereas docked, a decision bump in handheld mode, and a battery increase. That left many to utterly write the system off as an inessential midlife Switch improve as an alternative of the model they’d envisioned.

So let’s speak about what the Switch OLED really is: It’s a greater model of the Nintendo Switch, unequivocally. It sports activities an even bigger, brighter display screen that makes the outdated Switch look washed out. That alone could be sufficient to make this a notable enchancment, and it’s not the one new function right here. The query is whether or not or not it’s sufficient of a distinction contemplating that the Switch is a four-year-old console that lags behind almost half a decade of tech development in gaming. The reply is probably going no, nevertheless it hardly issues when Nintendo is taking part in by its personal guidelines.

The Nintendo Switch OLED tunes up an already nice console with a greater display screen, cleaner audio, and a kickstand that places the outdated Switch’s to disgrace. For those that want to play their video games in handheld or tabletop mode, it’s an improve value making in case your Switch is growing older. Those who play docked are left within the mud, although, making it a considerably puzzling addition to the Switch household.

Seeing the sunshine

The one key distinction you should learn about right here is the console’s namesake OLED display screen. Considering how uninventive the system’s title is, you’d should assume Nintendo is hanging a variety of its hopes on that facet. There’s purpose for that, although: The new OLED panel is certainly higher than the Switch’s dated LCD panel.

For starters, it’s greater. While the common Switch sports activities a 6.2-inch display screen surrounded by a thick black bezel, the OLED stretches out to seven inches, making higher use of the Switch’s actual property. It’s a noticeable distinction, particularly since video video games have a tendency to make use of the tiniest textual content doable relating to UI.

A Nintendo Switch OLED and a 2019 Switch model side by side.

More importantly, every little thing is brighter on the OLED panel. You can see that clearly just by booting up the house menu on an outdated and new console. The authentic Switch virtually appears prefer it has a white haze over it, dulling colours ever so barely. By distinction, every little thing is crisp on the OLED display screen; it doesn’t really feel like something is misplaced in digital translation. In testing Metroid Dread on it, I swapped backwards and forwards between my TV and the OLED in handheld mode. I rapidly discovered that the picture merely regarded clearer on the OLED than it did on my growing older TV. I opted to play the whole sport portably in consequence.

The new OLED panel is certainly higher than the Switch’s dated LED panel.

For upset followers, a greater display screen was solely half of what they had been hoping for. The console doesn’t function any form of decision increase in handheld mode, which suggests it’s capped at 720p like its predecessor. A scarcity of 1080p feels like a giant deal on paper, nevertheless it in the end doesn’t make a lot of a distinction on a seven-inch display screen. Instead, the OLED provides Nintendo’s video games a lift the place it actually issues. A sport like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe shines on the console, as an example, with its colours popping in all their vibrant glory.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe running on a Nintendo Switch OLED.

I’m the type of Switch participant who virtually solely performs in handheld mode, even when I’m at residence. From that perspective, the brand new display screen is a notable enchancment for me. I wouldn’t have rushed out to purchase one primarily based on the spec sheet, however now that I’m utilizing it, I can’t think about going again to my outdated mannequin.

Undeniable improve

The OLED’s different upgrades are extra delicate by comparability, although they justify the $50 bump in value. For one, the system has a totally redesigned kickstand, which makes the outdated Switch’s flimsy plastic one appear to be a merciless joke. The complete again backside half of the console folds out and stays in place at any angle. It goes to date again that the console can virtually lay flat, with a slight incline. The Switch feels far more steady in tabletop mode, making the dream of taking part in video games on a aircraft really feel way more sensible. It not feels just like the Switch will fall over when matched up towards a powerful gust of wind.

The Nintendo Switch OLED's kickstand compared to the 2019 Switch model.

Audio additionally will get a lift right here, which is a small, however good contact. When taking part in in handheld mode, the onboard audio system simply sound a bit louder and crisper general. Much like the best way the brand new show removes the Switch’s washed-out haze, the identical is true right here to a extra delicate extent. The improve in audio received’t make a distinction in case you play with headphones whereas on the go, nevertheless it’s good for a lazy sofa gamer like me.

The different modifications listed here are much less important, although it’s onerous to complain a lot. The Switch’s inner storage has been doubled from 32 GB to 64 GB. That quantity remains to be fairly paltry contemplating that the upcoming Steam Deck consists of 512 GB of storage in case you shell out for the highest mannequin. Switch video games are smaller than PC video games, and you may nonetheless save house in case you purchase Nintendo’s sport bodily, however those that dwell by downloads will nonetheless want a microSD card in any case.

The OLED’s different upgrades are extra delicate by comparability, although they justify the $50 bump in value.

The aesthetic part is a pleasant plus, too, although hardly a purpose to improve. The white Joy-Cons seem particularly clear when hooked up to the display screen, making it appear to be much less of a toy. The white dock is equally good on the eyes, pairing significantly effectively with a PlayStation 5 in your leisure middle. The inside the dock simply appears cleaner, too, with a clean black inside that doesn’t really feel fairly as screen-scratching as the conventional dock. I wouldn’t advise that anybody decide up a console for the colours (there’s nothing completely different concerning the Joy-Cons, so don’t count on a drift repair right here), nevertheless it’s a fantastic bonus in case you do decide one up.

A Nintendo Switch OLED model in its dock next to a regular Switch dock.

“Bonus” is type of the important thing phrase right here. Other than the display screen and the kickstand, the OLED’s new options are good, however inessential add-ons. The solely different essential increase right here is in battery, although it is determined by what Switch you already personal. For those that purchased a base mannequin Switch in 2017 and didn’t improve to its new SKU in 2019, the OLED options the latter’s elevated battery dimension. It wasn’t value shelling out $300 for an in any other case equivalent product then, nevertheless it’s extra engaging now within the context of an really buffed system.

Neglecting TV avid gamers

What’s most puzzling concerning the Switch OLED is that it doesn’t deliver any actual enhancements for docked play. While handheld and tabletop mode get a pleasant increase right here, it’ll run precisely the identical in your TV. Considering that Nintendo beforehand launched the handheld-focused Switch Lite, you’d suppose its subsequent system would sort out the opposite facet of the hybrid console’s participant base. Bafflingly, that’s not the case right here.

What we’re left with is a console improve that’s a simple advice to some gamers, however utterly irrelevant to others.

There’s just one actual distinction relating to TV play: The newly redesigned dock consists of an LAN port to assist wired on-line play. Theoretically, that ought to make on-line experiences extra steady, which is one thing the Nintendo Switch desperately wants. Naturally, it’s not fairly so easy. Online multiplayer is a two-way (or four-way or 100-way) road. If I’m wired in, I’ll know that I received’t get Wi-Fi hiccups, however that doesn’t imply my opponents received’t have issues on their finish. Most of my exams with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had been clean, however each occasionally, I’d soar right into a four-player sport and stutters or lag would kick in. A wired web port solely actually works if everybody has entry to it, which requires gamers broadly upgrading their docks. More virtually, the wired connection goes to be a distinct segment profit for aggressive gamers.

The Nintendo Switch OLED dock.

What we’re left with is a console improve that’s a simple advice to some gamers, however utterly irrelevant to others. Buying the console for the primary time? The OLED is a no brainer. Are you a handheld participant keen to maneuver up a tier? It’s excuse to improve in case you have the cash to spare. But for many who solely play on TV, there’s nearly no purpose to purchase one — particularly since its dock will probably be accessible to buy individually through Nintendo’s web site.

With Nintendo denying reviews {that a} 4K mannequin is within the works, it’s inconceivable to know if we’ll ever get an actual Switch Pro. For the time being, this may very well be the final improve we get in the course of the Switch’s lifetime. It’s actually not the change we had been hoping for, however I’d be mendacity if I mentioned the brand new show wasn’t spectacular. This is the mannequin Nintendo ought to have put out at launch.

Our take

The Nintendo Switch OLED mannequin is an enchancment over an already good console, full cease. No, it could actually’t do 4K and it doesn’t really feel like a PS4 Pro-sized midlife change, however an improve is an improve. The new OLED panel is a big enchancment that makes the Switch’s outdated display screen look washed out by comparability. A brand new kickstand and higher onboard audio each justify the additional $50, although its different enhancements are considerably superfluous. It is probably not the improve the system wanted after 4 years in the marketplace, nevertheless it’s the definitive mannequin to purchase in case you don’t personal a Switch already.

Is there a greater different?

It’s actually higher than a daily Switch in case you play handheld. If you need extra energy, the Steam Deck is true across the nook (if you may get one).

How lengthy will it final?

The redesigned dock reduces the chance of accruing hairline scratches on the display screen. Is your Switch nonetheless working 4 years later? Then count on this one to maintain chugging in a similar way.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. If you don’t have a Switch already, there’s no purpose to not begin right here. It’s a worthwhile improve for many who play in handheld mode, too, although TV gamers received’t get a lot of something out of this.

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