The Switch OLED Is Exactly What I Wanted From Nintendo

Not the Switch Pro the rumors promised

Key Takeaways

  • Nintendo unveiled a new Nintendo Switch which will offer small upgrades over the original.
  • Despite rumors that 4K resolution would be obtainable on the new Switch, the Switch OLED is still locked at the same resolution as the original.
  • The biggest upgrade point of the entire new system is an OLED screen, which provides darker blacks, better contrast, and a cleaner picture.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model in white and sitting on a wood desk

Nintendo

Nintendo’s upcoming Switch OLED might not be the Switch Pro many were hoping for, but it brings exactly what I want from a new Switch to the table.

For months, rumors and leaks that Nintendo would release a Switch Pro with support for 60FPS, 4K resolution, and more valuable features have been making the rounds. Earlier this week, though, Nintendo put it all to rest when it announced the Switch OLED Model. The new Switch is exactly what it sounds like, but instead of the LCD panel found on the current model, it features an OLED screen. That’s a handy update, but something that many have found disappointing is the lack of any upgrade to its resolution output.

Where many hoped for 4K, Nintendo has chosen to continue with the 1080P output when docked, and a max of 720P when playing in handheld mode. It’s not the most ideal solution if you wanted to experience the Breath of the Wild sequel in 4K, but it isn’t a deal breaker, either. In fact, for someone like me, who uses the device in handheld mode rather than docked, it’s the perfect upgrade to make my portable gaming a little better.

Unnecessary Upgrades

To be honest, I never saw the appeal of a Nintendo Switch that outputs to 4K resolution when plugged into the television. Sure, I like playing new games at higher resolutions—I have my PlayStation 5 connected to a 4K television and run high resolution monitors on my gaming PC, too—but when it comes to Nintendo games, resolution has never been that big of a deal for me.

Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both looked fantastic on the Switch in their current iterations. Yes, 4K would probably look even better, but to be honest, 4K wouldn’t really suit the way I play Nintendo games.

Nintendo Switch OLED Model standing using its kickstand next to white joy-con controllers

Nintendo

Despite having a regular Nintendo Switch with a dock and everything, I tend to spend most of my time playing it in handheld mode. As such, the need for the crispest 4K graphics isn’t really something that has ever crossed my mind. Instead, the fact that Nintendo is throwing in an OLED display—with darker colors and crisper visual images—is probably the most exciting thing about the Switch OLED Model.

OLED has become a staple for mobile phones, so seeing the Switch adopting that feels like a move in the right direction. Additionally, I just don’t see the need for the Switch to try to keep up graphically or performance-wise with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. 

"For someone like me, who uses the device in handheld mode rather than docked, it’s the perfect upgrade to make my portable gaming a little better."

Sure, those are the next-generation consoles, but Nintendo has never played by the rules of the “console war.” As such, the company has never had to worry about competing directly with those consoles when it comes to hardware. Instead, it delivers exceptional software for unique hardware that gives users more options than the traditional gaming console.

What’s Changing?

Aside from the addition of the OLED screen, not much about the Switch is changing with the OLED model. The screen will be a tad bigger, measuring 7 inches, compared to the 6.2 inches on the original. The resolution for the screen is remaining at 1280x720, and while a 1080P panel would have been nice, I’m not really going to complain because OLED will help give it a crisper look anyway. There’s also more internal storage, with the Switch OLED offering 64 GB compared to the original Switch’s 32 GB.

There’s also the addition of the Ethernet port in the dock, which hardwired gamers will appreciate, as well as a refreshed kickstand, making it much larger and sturdier. The company has also revamped the speakers, which should provide stronger and more enhanced audio when playing in handheld mode.

When it comes to how the Switch works, though, nothing about the OLED model should change how you play. If you already have a Switch and aren’t interested in a slightly better screen, then you don’t need to sweat it. But, if you’re like me, and you want to add just a little extra crispness to your next Breath of the Wild playthrough… well the Switch OLED Model looks to be a nice mid-life upgrade to one of my favorite consoles available right now.

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