It’s hard to comprehend the original Nintendo Switch launched way back in early 2017. Even at release, it wasn’t exactly powerful, outclassed by dedicated, 4K-capable home consoles.
The revolutionary hybrid design made up for the frankly lacklustre specifications, but gamers have long awaited an upgraded model.
Following Nintendo’s release of a slim-line successor, 2019 introduced the handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite. However, the internals remain identical.
Gamers the world over are practically begging Nintendo for an upgraded model to throw their hard-earned money at, fuelled by circulating rumours of a ‘Pro’ model.
Rumours suggested brand-new processors, capable of supporting NVIDIA’s ground-breaking AI-upscaling technology ‘Deep Learning Super Sampling’ (DLSS), that’d take the Switch’s lowly 720p resolution up to a full-fat 4K.
It’s an exciting prospect, the Switch needs all the additional horsepower it can get. It struggles to hold a stable a 30 frames-per-second target, regularly wavering below. Especially in 2021, with next-generation games slowly introduced, how’s a 2017 handheld supposed to keep pace?
Finally, on an unassuming Tuesday afternoon, Nintendo shadow dropped an announcement trailer for their ‘Nintendo Switch (OLED Model)’.
Unfortunately for hard-core gamers, the illusive ‘Pro’ model hasn’t come to fruition. While the OLED model is powered by the same, ol’ reliable processor, it’s a substantial upgrade in other departments.
The Nintendo Switch’s screen was never particularly great, especially for a portability-focused device intended for use under the glare of over-head airport lights and blistering sun glares. The underperforming LCD panel, paired with the plastic screen produced a rather unpleasant, washed-out appearance.
The new model directly addresses this unfavourable characteristic, by introducing an OLED panel for a crisper experience. The infinitely deep blacks of OLED, routinely referred to as the best-in-class panel technology, produce a rich contrast conventional LCDs cannot compete with.
Bigger screen, same size
The screen size is enlarged too, going from a 6.2-inch display on the base model to a 7-inch display. Nintendo’s barely altered the form factor, at just 0.1-inches taller. Rather, they’ve shrunk the chunky bezels for an all-encompassing experience meaning your colourful collection of Joy-Cons are fully compatible.
Another highlight is the re-designed adjustable stand. The base model’s stand was an unsubstantial, flimsy cover for the SD card slot seemingly retrofitted to act as a ‘stand’. The upgraded stand spans the entire console for a sturdier table-top solution.
Double the capacity
The on-board memory is doubled from just 32GB on the base model, to 64GB on the OLED model. Even the dock has received some much-needed attention. One of the USB ports has been subsidised for an ethernet port – fighting games fans rejoice.
Should you buy the Nintendo Switch OLED?
The Switch remains a top-selling console. For Nintendo, it doesn’t make business-sense to phase it out yet. Clearly, they believe people aren’t enticed by arbitrary measurements like ‘teraflops’, with no competition in the handheld-gaming space.
And, of course, it all returns to the games. Regardless of performance, landmark franchises like the eagerly awaited sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are only available on a Nintendo console. We’ve also covered Nintendo’s powerful and highly playable piece of development software, Game Builder Garage.
If you haven’t managed to pick up a Switch, this easily represents the best iteration yet.
For die-hand Switch fanatics, unless you’re really pining for an improved screen, you’d be better off waiting a while longer for a must-have upgrade.
Maybe Nintendo originally intended to release the ‘Pro’, but the current computer chip shortage made it near-impossible to source enough supply to make it worthwhile. The concept may be relegated to a dedicated ‘Switch 2’, later down the road.
Check out our range of Nintendo Switch consoles, over at Ebuyer.