All about the new Nintendo Switch OLED. Is it worth it? | TechBuyGuide
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All about the new Nintendo Switch OLED. Is it worth it?

The new model might not be what many expected as it seems to be a bit stuck in time.

Nintendo Switch OLED

Even though it might seem hard to believe, Nintendo’s Switch launched over four years ago.

The original Switch was released in 2017, followed by the Switch Lite with non-removable controllers in 2019. Also in 2019, we saw a redesigned original Nintendo Switch with improved battery life and a new CPU.

The hybrid gaming console couldn’t, however, impress with some amazing performance when it was launched.

It has since been rumoured that the Nintendo Switch Pro, an upgraded version of the device, might be on its way. As a surprise to everyone, Nintendo announced the launch of the new Nintendo Switch OLED model on 6th July 2021.

A few upgrades were made over the regular edition, even though this still isn’t exactly the expected “Pro” model if we talk about high-end performance. As OLED technology is still the most exciting upgrade to the Nintendo Switch series to date, it might, however, not be that big of a deal.

Nintendo Switch OLED Specs

Display7-inch 1280 x 720p OLED multi-touch capacitive touch screen  
CPU/GPUCustom Nvidia Tegra processor 
Storage64GB (expandable up to 2TB microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC)) 
Video output720p handheld, 1080p FullHD if docked for TV
Battery47.4 x 18.6 x 12.7mm
Connectivity Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, USB-C, 3.5 mm audio
Battery life4.5 – 9 hours
Charging timeAround 3 hours
Weight420g

Nintendo Switch OLED: Price

Switch OLED will be sold for £309 / $350 / AU$539 when it releases on October 8, 2021. That’s a price increase of £30 / $50 / AU$90 over the original Switch, which cost £279 / $300 / AU$449 at launch.

Nintendo has confirmed that its Switch OLED will be available beginning on October 8, but a global semiconductor shortage is likely to cause a shortage in-stock availability.

As we all know, both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles have been affected by this since they launched in November 2020, and the stock shortage is still ongoing even 8 months after the console’s lunch so it might be wise to pre-order Nintendo’s console to avoid missing out.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Slightly updated design

The design of the Switch OLED won’t deviate too far from what we’ve seen with the vanilla Switch, Switch Lite, since it won’t be a Nintendo Switch 2, rather than just an upgrade of the previous version.

Nintendo Switch OLED back stand
Nintendo Switch OLED back stand

There is not much difference between the three. As well as retaining the same Joy-Con design and button layout, it even comes in the vibrant Neon Blue and Red colour scheme you’re used to. 

Most online advertising, however, focuses on the new White Switch OLED. This colour scheme appears to be a more sophisticated, mature look, something many would expect from the previously rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro. 

The Switch OLED with its tablet-sized display will also have a removable Joy-Con attached on either side. The console should also feature a dock for connecting it to your television.

 It’s not all the same, though.

Nintendo has also made some notable design changes. Switch’s original 6.2-inch LCD panel has been replaced with a vibrant 7-inch OLED panel, resulting in significantly thinner bezels.

As a result, the new Switch has a less dated appearance and the size does not differ greatly from the original Switch model, even with the larger screen size. The console is only 0.1 inches (2.5cm) longer, at 9.5 x 4 x 0.55 inches / 24.1 x 10.1 x 1.4 cm (W x H x D).

nintendo switch oled front

Therefore, any Joy-Con controller you buy will work with the Nintendo Switch OLED, as the same rail system is used for the accessories on the new console. 

Even though it might not be immediately obvious, Nintendo has also made changes to the Switch OLED’s speakers. The speakers, which are still located on the bottom of the handheld, now promise an enhanced audio experience.

Nintendo Switch OLED: The new display

As mentioned earlier on and as the console’s name suggests, the new Nintendo Switch got an OLED screen.

What does it mean for us and what difference is between OLED and the previous Switch’s LCD display?

Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode
Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode

The display panels in OLED technology have emissive pixels, so even if you play in absolute darkness, the black parts of images on the screen will look perfectly black, where the old Switch’s LCD made blacks look slightly grey/ washed out in the same conditions. 

This and an improved colour depth of the OLED screen will improve the whole gaming experience. It’s because the previous LCD Switch offers sRGB-grade colour, a colour standard developed in the 1990s in order to standardize how things appear on printers, monitors, and the internet. 

A Nintendo OLED screen will likely allow it to operate in a wider colour range, similar to what Apple’s iPhones are aiming for. Colours in games will be bolder, deeper with better saturation, as well as provide more vivid colours when watching movies.

As mentioned before, the screen measures 7 inches across, which is .8 inches higher than the previous Switch model, with the resolution remaining the same at nowadays a bit outdated 1280 x 720p with also quite low pixels density at only 209 pixels per inch which is something that regular tablets had in years 2013-2014 (but in combination with FullHD resolution). In this case, even though the OLED is a good, exciting technology, we still can’t get our head around, why would Nintendo not deliver a product with at least FullHD resolution, higher pixel density. 

The new OLED display will also deliver more brightness to your life as the previous LCD model’s brightness was reaching somewhere only around 320 nits. The OLED panels fitted in current low-cost phones are getting somewhere over 600 nits. This is at least a double of improvement, but again, nothing astonishing to today’s higher standards.

The new Nintendo Switch OLED also comes with a light sensor that can control the brightness of the display and change it automatically, according to the outside conditions.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Performance

Even though the new OLED screen will bring richer and bolder colours to your gaming life, there will hardly be any differences in how you play.

Nintendo Switch OLED with dock | TechBuyGuide

Again, Nintendo has announced that the new Switch OLED will not get any boost in regards to its performance. Not that it necessarily needs as Switch games are currently well optimised for the console.

The new Nintendo OLED have the same Nvidia Custom Tegra processor in pair with the same RAM as the previous Switch.

So even though it doesn’t offer more performance so other major developers could port their games to the Nintendo’s ecosystem as well, you can still enjoy playing some of yours favourite older games as they remain compatible across all Nintendo Switch consoles.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Resolution

Like before, the OLED Switch can be used to play games on your television thanks to its dock.

Nevertheless, it’s quite a letdown, that the Nintendo Switch OLED doesn’t have the 4K output many hoped for.  If you play docked, the maximum output resolution you get out of the new console is still FullHD 1080p or, these days quite obsolete, HD 720p resolution if you play in handheld mode.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Dock with LAN connection

One of the few new features we do get is an Ethernet port (LAN) which might give you some improved latency during playing as the dock should provide more stable and reliable signal reception than Switch’s own Wi-Fi module.

All you need to do is plug the Ethernet cable from your router into the dock.

The new docking station will also work with the regular Nintendo Switch and the Switch OLED will work in the ‘older’ dock as well.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Storage

Moreover, Nintendo has increased the internal storage on the Switch OLED from 32GB to 64GB. MicroSD cards are also an option if you need more space.

Nintendo Switch OLED: Battery life

There’s no change in battery life from the previous refreshed Nintendo Switch model, which lasts from 4.5 to nine hours. Sadly, the OLED Switch offers no real improvements here.

The 4310mAh battery takes about 3 hours to charge from 0-100% (in sleep mode) via USB-C.

What we think

The OLED model is certainly a good step forward and will certainly add to the gaming experience of the popular console. For an extra £50, you get a better and larger screen, enhanced audio, Ethernet port (LAN port) on the dock and increased 64 storage with microSD (microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC) card support.

Sadly, that’s about where the list of new features ends. There’s no FullHD resolution for handheld mode or 4K resolution output for your smart TV, higher performance, better battery life or other perks.

The Switch OLED is better looking thanks to the thinner borders around the larger screen and the white colour surely looks more mature.

Needless to say, however, it comes as a bit of a disappointment that Nintendo wouldn’t use the opportunity to create something with a better ‘wow’ effect, especially after 4 long years.

All in all, the new model might not offer enough to make you think you might need upgrading from your current Switch to the OLED version, as there’s not really much-added value, compared to the costs.

On the other, the new OLED model might be a better option to buy (price/value), if you’re thinking about dipping into Nintendo’s pool for the first time.

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