After years of rumours and speculation, Nintendo finally lifted the lid on its revised and upgraded Switch system in June 2021 and the Nintendo Switch OLED Model launched on October 8th (the same day as Metroid Dread).
The newer system features a larger 7-inch OLED screen (the standard console has a 6.2-inch LCD screen), a wider kickstand, enhanced audio through new in-built speakers, a LAN port in the dock, and 64GB of internal storage (double the 32GB of the standard model). The Joy-Con and the dock also comes in a fetching new colour variant, as you can see above.
However, it seems to have fallen short of the hype surrounding the rumoured Switch Pro, offering a 720p image on its screen and a 1080p image when docked and played on your TV. Nintendo has confirmed that the CPU and RAM remain unchanged when compared to the original Switch model.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - The Details
Here are the full details from Nintendo's official PR:
Nintendo Switch (OLED model) has a similar overall size to the Nintendo Switch system, but with a larger, vibrant 7-inch OLED screen with vivid colors and crisp contrast. Nintendo Switch (OLED model) also features a wide adjustable stand for tabletop mode, a new dock with a wired LAN port, 64GB of internal storage, and enhanced audio for handheld and tabletop play. Just like Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch (OLED model) allows players to play on the TV and share the detachable Joy-Con controllers for right-out-of-the-box multiplayer fun. And just like both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, with Nintendo Switch (OLED model), the system can be taken on the go to enjoy its play-anywhere versatility. A carrying case and screen protector set for Nintendo Switch (OLED model) will also be available.
Nintendo Switch (OLED model) will let players experience enhancements in all three play modes:
TV mode: Set the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) system into the dock to play Nintendo Switch games on the TV. By using the built-in wired LAN port, players can enjoy another way to connect online in TV mode.
Tabletop mode: Flip the stand on the back of the system and use the system’s screen to play multiplayer games using two Joy-Con controllers right out of the box. A wide adjustable stand makes for a solid and sturdy foundation. It allows players to freely tilt the system and adjust the viewing angle, so it makes it easier to see the screen.
Handheld mode: Players can bring the system wherever they go in handheld mode and play local or online multiplayer with friends. The system’s 7-inch OLED screen provides vivid color and crisp contrast.
When the system launches, it will come in two color options:
- Nintendo Switch (OLED model) white set, which features white Joy-Con controllers, a black main unit and a white dock.
- Nintendo Switch (OLED model) neon red/neon blue set, which features neon red and neon blue Joy-Con controllers, a black main unit and a black dock.
All previously released Joy-Con for Nintendo Switch are compatible with this new model. Additionally, Nintendo Switch (OLED model) is compatible with the full library of Nintendo Switch games.
We first heard whispers of a 'Switch Pro' way back in January 2019, with various sources believing such a console was just around the corner. The main upgrades here are the 7-inch OLED screen, improved speakers and a LAN port in the dock, rather than any extra horsepower.
Perhaps the huge success of the base model, the surprise of the pandemic, and any other number of factors you want to throw into the mix ended up delaying this announcement.
Should you buy one, though? If you're unsure if this makes it worth the purchase, then check out our comprehensive guide here.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - The Screen
As the name suggests, the screen really is the main reason to get excited about this revised model, and if you're not fussed about that, then you might be better off sticking with your existing console – even Nintendo employees are saying it.
Here are the raw facts about the Switch OLED Model's screen, and how it stacks up against other members of the Switch family:
- The new Nintendo Switch OLED console has a 7-inch OLED multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p
- The standard Nintendo Switch console has a 6.2-inch LCD multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p
- The handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch LCD multi-touch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720p
Simply put, OLED offers illumination on a per-pixel basis, meaning each pixel on the screen can be illuminated individually. Conversely, LCD screens rely on illumination from larger backlights which can result in light spill and dark areas of the screen that appear 'grey' rather than black — think about how the illuminated 'black' screen looks on your Switch when you first turn it on.
Therefore, thanks to the localised illumination OLED technology offers, the screen on the new Switch OLED model will have deeper blacks, better contrast and a more vibrant look over the LCD versions.
OLED can also offers benefits in terms of battery life — no power is 'wasted' lighting areas of the screen that shouldn't be illuminated, so OLED screens are more power-efficient. Nintendo is apparently using the same battery for the new model (Lithium-ion battery / 4310mAh) and its manufacturer estimates for battery life on the new OLED Switch model are identical to the standard Switch — 4.5 to 9 hours depending on the factors such as the game you're playing, screen brightness and wireless connectivity.
The new Switch does have a bigger screen which will draw more power, and according to Nintendo's estimates, the savings made through OLED efficiency will be eaten up by the extra 0.8 inches of the new screen.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Joy-Con
Nintendo previously confirmed that the Joy-Con which come with the OLED Model are the same as the standard Joy-Con, so you can use them with older Switch systems – as well as use your existing Joy-Con with the new model. It would seem that there are no improvements or additions to these Joy-Con, outside of them being white – so those hoping for a hardware fix for 'Joy-Con drift' may be disappointed.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Dock
The OLED Model also has a redesigned dock, which comes with a built-in LAN port so you can enjoy low-latency wireless gaming. As is the case with the Joy-Con, this dock is compatible with the original Switch too.
You can purchase the dock separately, but only from Nintendo's online store.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Hardware Gallery
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Packaging Gallery
It's worth noting that the Switch OLED Model gets its own carry case, although, in reality, it's very similar to previous official Switch carry cases – just in a slightly different colour. It does come with some screen protectors, though!
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Technical Specifications
You can see how the Switch OLED Model compares to the original Switch and Switch Lite here.
|Size||4 inches high, 9.5 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)
*The depth from the tip of the analog sticks to the tip of the ZL/ZR buttons is 1.12 inches
|Weight||Approximately .71 lbs
(Approximately .93 lbs with Joy-Con controllers attached)
|Screen||Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 7.0 inch OLED screen / 1280x720|
|CPU/GPU||NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor|
Users can easily expand storage space using microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB (sold separately).
|Wireless||Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant) / Bluetooth 4.1|
|Video output||Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode
Up to 720p via built-in screen in Tabletop mode and Handheld modes
|Audio output||Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output
Output via HDMI connector in TV mode
|Buttons||Power button / Volume button|
|USB connector||USB Type-C
Used for charging or for connecting to the Nintendo Switch dock.
|Headphone/mic jack||3.5mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard)|
|Game card slot||Nintendo Switch game cards|
|microSD card slot||Compatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC memory cards
*Once the microSDXC card is inserted, a system update will be necessary. An internet connection is required to perform this system update.
|Sensor||Accelerometer, gyroscope, and brightness sensor|
|Operating environment||41-95 degrees F / 20-80% humidity|
|Internal battery||Lithium-ion battery / 4310mAh|
Approximately 4.5 - 9 hours
|Charging time||Approximately 3 hours
*When charging while the hardware is in sleep mode
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Games & Switch Online
Nintendo has built up an impressive library of games for Switch since 2017, and all those games are playable on Switch OLED. If you're looking for something to play on the new system, there's plenty to choose from for more information refer to our Best Switch Games guides.
- Best Nintendo Switch Games
- Best Nintendo Switch Exclusives
- Best Nintendo Switch Couch Co-Op Games
- Best Nintendo Switch RPGs
- Switch Essentials
Nintendo Switch Online is the company's subscription service that enables online play in games that have that mode and also offers access to a variety of NES, SNES and N64 games. Online multiplayer games such as Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 are also available to play for no extra charge for NSO subscribers, and this service is available on Switch OLED just as the other Switch consoles.
- Nintendo Switch Online - Every NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game Available
- Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game Ranked
- Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game Ranked
- Every Nintendo Switch Online N64 Game Ranked
Nintendo Switch OLED Model - Where To Buy
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So What Happened To The Switch Pro, Then?
Some of the rumours we heard over the past year have come to pass in the Switch OLED Model, including a better screen, improved kickstand and the inclusion of a LAN port on the dock. However, 4K output is nowhere to be seen and there's no power boost in the hardware, either. Does that mean that the Switch Pro isn't coming?
According to VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb, 2022 is the year for an 'upgraded' Switch:
Nintendo is, of course, working on new hardware all of the time, and it might be the case that the Switch Pro rumours are linked to other product development work, which will be revealed in due course. Or, Nintendo might have delayed the Switch Pro in the light of recent events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of components. It may even have shelved plans for a Switch Pro entirely – although, as Grubb points out, this is the company that released six variants of the 3DS, so it seems highly likely that we'll see at least one more 'enhanced' model in the fullness of time.
And that wraps up our Switch OLED guide. Let us know in the comments section below if you've got any suggestions, tips or questions about the new Switch.