Historically speaking, Nintendo has always been relatively quiet regarding upcoming consoles and projects. However, rumors of a “Nintendo Switch Pro” model started popping up on the internet about a year ago, with some hoping for features such as a 4K display. Last week, Nintendo finally pulled the curtains aside and revealed the Nintendo Switch OLED model.
They arrive on October 8 and retail for $50 more than the standard Nintendo Switch unit ($349.99 MSRP). The OLED’s more significant selling points seem to be the slightly larger screen (7.0″ compared to the base Switch’s 6.2″) and enhanced somewhat audio. The keyword here truly is “slightly.” If you were hoping for 4K or boosted frame rates similar to Sony and Microsoft’s strategy- you’re not going to find it here. Early testers have expressed that the upgraded screen quality, screen size, and audio boosts are nothing to jump about but are appreciated.
Reviewers have also made a note of improvements to the storage capacity and architecture of the base Switch. One minor gripe I’ve always had about the Nintendo Switch is its kickstand- it’s about as sturdy as a dollar store photo frame. In addition, it’s prone to snapping off if the Switch is used in table-top mode frequently. However, IGN has noted that the kickstand on the OLED is of much better quality. Going as far as to say that “If it weren’t for the charging port still being blocked while standing up…the need for a third-party stand is now all but dead.”
The other noteworthy upgrade here is the storage capacity. The standard Switch’s internal storage of 32GB all but guarantees that you’re going to have to shell out extra money for a compatible SD card. If you feel like constantly archiving and redownloading games, that’s fine. The Switch OLED will allow newcomers (and consumers after a second Switch) a leg up with double the storage capacity.
With the improvements made to the kickstand, you might be wondering how well the joy-cons bundled with the Switch OLED stack up to the ones included with the standard Switch. Nintendo has been tip-toeing around the issue of joy-con drift for four years now. Acknowledging its existence but not doing anything to fix the problem honestly. I wouldn’t hold my breath on anything changing for this upcoming model, as (to be expected) Nintendo has kept its mouth shut when questioned about the controllers.
“Joy-Con controller configuration and functionality did not change with Nintendo Switch (OLED model).”Nintendo in an official statement to numerous outlets
I could not care less whether the Switch OLED supports 4K displays or not. I’m not the kind of person who goes out and buys a new TV every year, so I’m pretty happy so long as a console can output at 1080p. However, the fact that Nintendo is still avoiding an issue that’s plagued this otherwise solid console with an incredible library of games is what bothers me the most. As someone who has owned a standard Nintendo Switch since a few months following its launch in 2017, the bells and whistles don’t justify going out and buying another unit. Especially when the elephant in the room has yet to be genuinely addressed.
That being said, I also don’t think I (or current Switch owners) are indeed the target audience for this model. For those who don’t yet own a Switch, the subtle improvements and boosted storage could warrant shelling out the extra $50. Indeed, if gamers suspect that they’ll be splitting their time between handheld and TV mode, it seems to be far from the Nintendo Switch “Pro” many were hoping. But it’ll no doubt find an audience. Just bear in mind that scalpers are back at it again, with some attempting to sell pre-orders for over double the MSRP.