|Product||Nintendo Switch OLED model||
|Release date||October 8, 2021|
On October 8, Nintendo will release a new version of the Nintendo Switch, the ‘Nintendo Switch OLED model’. Yes, someone at Nintendo clearly makes a lot of money coming up with strong brand names. The new model of the Switch is already the fourth version of the console that debuted in 2017, received a new edition in 2019 with improved battery life, and is also available as Nintendo Switch Lite. The latter is the handheld-only version that cannot be docked and has no separate Joy-Cons. The Nintendo Switch with OLED screen does have those features and in that sense is really a further development of the original Nintendo Switch.
When we talk about a Switch with an OLED screen, we first look at that screen. The advantages of OLED compared to LCD are clear and also exactly the highlights of our playing session. Already at the start-up screen of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe it is clear that the colors jump out a lot more than on the normal Switch. A visit to the section where the brightness can be set learns that the OLED screen is darker in the darkest position and lighter in the brightest position than the screen of the current Switch. Perhaps an open door, given the specific advantages of OLED, but good to get that confirmed.
More screens on the same surface
Still, the clarity is not what we first notice when playing. That honor goes to the size of the screen. The size of the Switch is unchanged, but the black border around the screen has become a lot smaller. The result of this is a gain of 0.8 inches, because the old Switch has a screen of 6.2 inches, while the OLED model has a screen of 7 inches. That result is therefore only achieved by making the black border around the screen narrower: the dimensions of the console as a whole have remained almost identical.
That does not mean that all other hardware is also the same. For example, the dock now contains an Ethernet port, which was not there before. If you wanted to connect your Switch to the internet wired, you had to use a USB adapter. Not immediately a major disaster, but with the OLED model that attachment is no longer necessary.
On the Switch itself, the new kickstand stands out. It is known that you can put the Switch’s screen upright thanks to a leg. However, that construction is not too sturdy. The leg only offers support on one side, so that the screen can fall over if there is too much movement. The new kickstand solves that problem. Instead of a leg on one side, a supporting mechanism now runs across the entire back. Moreover, this new kickstand can be adjusted to your own preference, so that you do not necessarily have to put the Switch upright, but can also place it slightly more obliquely or even semi-lying. In this way, the whole is a lot sturdier and more user-friendly.
The fact that you have more freedom in how you place or lay down the screen of the Switch is of course helped by another OLED feature: the greatly improved viewing angle. Try tilting your Switch a little more forwards or to the side while playing. You will then notice that the colors become faded fairly quickly, until you can no longer see the image properly. Of course, gaming right in front of a screen remains the best, but with the OLED model, the image remains clearly visible for much longer if you play with viewing angles a bit. This can be useful if you are trying to play on the same Switch with two or even four players and everyone needs to be able to see the screen properly.
Backlight naturally also plays a role in being able to see the screen well. Playing with the Switch in full sun is hardly a realistic option with most games. In slightly less sunny weather or in the shade it often works well. At first glance, the OLED version does not seem to change much of that reading. The maximum brightness seems to provide a bit more light than the original Switch’s screen, so in theory, the high-light performance should be slightly better. We don’t dare to say it too strongly on the basis of this short play session.
Apart from the screen, there are some minor changes that we are aware of, but which we did not immediately experience as great added value. The latter does not apply to the improved speakers; they have the potential to prove their added value. Based on a short playing session with a few games, and without being able to compare directly, we don’t dare to draw too firm conclusions about the audio quality. We had the idea that the audio sounds a bit more spacious, but clear statements about this require more testing time and more testing ears. The larger internal storage has also not really landed as a plus with us, all the more because you can easily expand the storage capacity of your Switch with a microSD card. For what it’s worth: the OLED model has 64GB of storage space, where the old model has 32GB.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that all peripherals are interchangeable between the old and new models of the Nintendo Switch. This means that you can use your Joy-Cons, but also the Switch Dock and the Pro Controller, for example, with both versions of the console. Nintendo has told that the new, white Joy-Cons will not be sold separately. The new dock will be sold separately, Nintendo confirmed.
Three Switch versions in store
All this will be available from October 8. It is important to mention that Nintendo will continue to offer all versions of the Switch. The original version and the Lite will remain in the store. Nintendo believes that the various models each appeal to a different target group and have a matching price tag. The Lite remains of course the cheapest variant, with a price of around 200 euros. For the old Switch, and that is the Switch with the 2019 battery update, you pay a little more than 300 euros. For the Switch with OLED screen you have to put 399 euros on the (digital) counter.
Whether the different versions are worth their money is a consideration that you will have to make yourself in due course, but it is already clear that the OLED version has a nice list of fine improvements. In particular, the way the colors come out, the much better viewing angle, and the new kickstand lift the already fine console to a significantly higher level.