Hardware revisions have been around since the Game Boy era, so it’s no surprise to see Nintendo announce the latest iteration of the Switch. Officially called the Nintendo Switch OLED, this new model is a slightly improved version of the handheld hybrid — with a few added bells and whistles here and there. Leading up to this point, reports of a “Nintendo Switch Pro” had started swirling, pointing to a much beefier 4K system.
While that isn’t what we’re getting, exactly, the Nintendo Switch OLED seems par for the course when compared to other Nintendo hardware revisions. With that in mind, let’s dive into everything we know about the system, including its release date, specs, features, and more.
Firstly, the Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on October 8 for $350. It will be available in two colors: White and neon red/neon blue (similar to the original model). The new system comes out alongside the release of Metroid Dread. It’s common for Nintendo to release new hardware with brand new games that go along with it.
Preorders have yet to go live in North America, but we’ll update this post once they become available.
But why should you buy this thing? What kind of features does it have? Its most notable improvement is the inclusion of a 7-inch OLED screen. Not only is this noticeably larger than the 6.2-inch screen on the original Switch model, but OLED displays generally look better than LCD.
You’ll notice darker blacks, better contrast, and a picture that seems to “pop” much more than on an LCD display. An OLED screen also consumes less power than an LCD, which is never a bad thing (though the new machine doesn’t seem to have a better battery life than the original model). In short, your games will look prettier with an OLED display, though they won’t necessarily perform any better.
If you’ve owned an original Switch model, you’ve probably worried about breaking its small, flimsy kickstand. Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch OLED has a larger, improved stand that goes across the entire backside of the system. It also allows for more adjustable positions, giving you the freedom to play how you’d like in tabletop mode. This will hopefully prevent the system from being knocked over as easily.
One of the system’s best features is its built-in LAN port, allowing you to connect to the internet via an Ethernet cable instead of over Wi-Fi. This will typically result in a more stable connection, regardless of the online features you’re using. For instance, when playing a competitive game over the internet, such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you should notice fewer connection issues when hardwired than with a wireless connection.
Previously, the Nintendo Switch did not come with built-in LAN support. Instead, you had to purchase an ethernet adapter, which was just another barrier to entry. With the Nintendo Switch OLED, this will be less of an issue for consumers.
As the video game industry shifts to a predominantly digital future, many Switch players have opted to download their games rather than buy physical cartridges. There are certainly pros and cons to each, but the biggest hurdle for digital buyers is memory. The new Nintendo Switch OLED will come with 64GB of onboard memory as opposed to the 32GB on the original model.
While 64GB still won’t get you far if you download everything digitally, it’s a noticeable improvement over the older model. We still recommend buying micro SD cards to expand your memory, but in many cases, 64GB will work for you, especially if you don’t download as much.
Part of the fun with Nintendo Switch is collecting the numerous Joy-Con variants that come in all different colors. The new Nintendo Switch OLED is special because it’s the first time the Joy-Con and dock will be available in white — at least officially. You can certainly visit sites like Etsy to create your own custom variants, but this version comes straight from Nintendo. You can also purchase a neon blue/neon red version that launches the same day.
Aside from improved audio, those are all the new features included with Nintendo Switch OLED. Is this worth an extra $50 from the standard version? That will be up to you and your needs. Internally, the OLED version is virtually identical to the original Switch model. In fact, a Nintendo spokesperson recently told Video Games Chronicle, “[The] Nintendo Switch (OLED model) does not have a new CPU or more RAM from previous Nintendo Switch models.”
This was disappointing to many, as the early reports all seemed to indicate the new system would be much beefier internally. Aside from reports, the community simply hoped Nintendo would develop a more powerful system to compete with Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles. And sadly, that isn’t the case, at least right now.
The original Nintendo Switch has the same battery life as the new OLED model (around 4.5 to 9 hours), as well as the same charge time (around 3 hours). Both utilize a NVIDIA customized Tegra processor and max out at 1080p resolution when docked and 720p in handheld mode. The nice thing about how similar the two machines are is that the Joy-Con and the docks are interchangeable across each, streamlining the process for multiple Switch owners.
Is it possible that an additional Nintendo Switch iteration will come out after the OLED model? It’s highly likely. When looking at Nintendo’s history, the company seems to develop numerous SKUs for its handhelds. For instance, the Nintendo DS line had the original model, the DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL, while the 3DS line had the original, the 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, and New 2DS XL. Aside from how confusing all of that is, the main point is that iteration is part of Nintendo’s business model, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see yet another Switch after OLED.
If that turns out to be the Switch 2 or something less of a leap remains to be seen, but you almost certainly have not seen the last of the Nintendo Switch, even after the OLED comes out.