After years of rumors and massive anticipation from fans, Nintendo finally announced a new fully-featured OLED version of its wildly popular Switch console
. It’s not the Switch Pro everyone’s been hoping for, but it is a significant upgrade from the existing model (which hasn’t changed much since its 2017 release).
So what’s different with this new Switch? And most importantly, should you upgrade? Here’s what you need to know about the brand-new Nintendo Switch OLED.
What It’s Not: The Long-Rumored Switch Pro
First off, understand what the Nintendo Switch OLED model is not. It’s not the long-rumored Switch Pro. That still-mythical version of the Switch is rumored to support 4K output in docked mode and would therefore need to have an upgraded processor to support the higher resolution.
This update is not that.
The internals are pretty much identical to the existing non-OLED Switch, as are the outputs. You’re still getting 720p content in handheld mode and 1080p content transmitted to your TV in docked mode.
What It Is: A Massive Upgrade over the Base Model
Ignore all the other small upgrades for now, and simply focus on the screen. The 7-inch OLED display is better in every possible way than its predecessor. It’s larger, for one thing, gaining almost an inch diagonally compared to the original 6.2-inch Switch display. The colors are more vibrant and the blacks are much, much deeper. Overall brightness and clarity are greatly improved as well.
If you ever game in handheld or tabletop mode, the difference in screen quality alone is enough of a reason to upgrade. If your choice is between a $299 standard Switch and a $349 OLED Switch, it’s not much of a choice. Do whatever you have to do for that extra $50 and buy the OLED version.
The big difference between the OLED Switch model and the original Switch is the screen, of course. And again, the new screen is gorgeous. But there are other smaller changes worth noting here.
- Better Kickstand: The kickstand on the original model was pretty awful. The OLED version fixes the design and makes the kickstand usable again. You can even set it to multiple angles.
- LAN Port on Dock: The OLED model adds a dedicated LAN port on the dock, giving you faster wired internet connectivity when playing in docked mode.
- Internal Storage: The original Switch has 32GB of internal storage. The OLED model doubles this to 64GB, giving you more than twice the room for downloaded content.
- Better Speakers and Relocated Vents: The OLED Switch model offers better sound than either the original Switch or the Switch Lite thanks to a redesigned speaker layout. To accommodate the new speakers, the vents now face downward, not back.
What’s the Same
Despite the stellar screen upgrade and other small enhancements, the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) is most definitely still a first-generation Switch. Just about everything else is the same as the previous models.
- Same Internals: Don’t expect a beefier processor or more RAM. Other than increased storage space, the internals appear to be identical in capability to existing models.
- Full Compatibility: Since there are no significant hardware changes (other than that gorgeous screen), all supported accessories and games will work on the new OLED model.
- No Bluetooth Support: This new model continues the tradition of skipping Bluetooth headphone support. You can use headphones, but you’ll have to plug them in via a 3.5mm jack.
- Still Feels Like Flimsy Plastic: One big criticism of the Switch is how flimsy it feels. The consoles work well enough, but they feel a little toy-like, to borrow a phrase from The Verge.
- Joy-Con Drift Likely Still a Concern: Since the original Joy-Cons are 100% compatible with this new Switch model, it doesn’t seem like Nintendo has addressed this common (and very frustrating) issue. Maybe the included black-and-white Joy-Cons are better in some way, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Pricing and Release Date
Nintendo has announced
that the new Nintendo Switch (OLED model) will be available in the USA on October 8, 2021, selling for $349.99. That’s $50 more than the standard model, which still sells for $299.99.
Getting a New Switch? Add an Upsie Extended Warranty
With an extended warranty
from Upsie, you can breathe easy. Component failures, defects, accidental damage: it’s all covered. If your Switch has a problem, Upsie will get you back to gaming ASAP — without you having to buy a new console.
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