I’ve spent a lot of money updating Nintendo mobile platforms over the years. From the GBA SP to the Nintendo 3DS XL, I could rarely resist getting the brightest, most attractive screen. So when Nintendo announced the return of the Switch OLED, I immediately pre-ordered it despite implicitly worrying that it would provide little more than a marginal update at best. Is it worth paying $350 for a new screen and a bunch of other extras?
Now that it’s September, I feel better about my decision to buy the Switch OLED. That’s because I recently got a chance to try out an updated Nintendo console, and what I found was a clear improvement over the launcher, which bore me through a few thousand hours with Animal Crossing, Hades, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Is the price of the new platform still considered a kind of waste? Yes sure. But it undoubtedly offers more upgrade than I initially expected.
The Nintendo Switch OLED display is a huge improvement
As previously announced, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the latest attempt to update the Switch platform. For $50 more than the original console price, it offers a bigger, clearer screen, more storage space, and the feature we’ve all been asking for, an improved kickstand. Notably, the Switch OLED uses the same processor that powers the base device, so it won’t have improved performance compared to the original Switch.
With that in mind, the biggest draw to buying a Switch OLED is definitely the 7-inch OLED display, which is an obvious upgrade over the LCD screen used on the base model. Compared to the original Switch, the OLED model features a deeper black and a richer, more vibrant color gamut, which was especially evident when playing Metroid Dread. Unfortunately I can’t show a direct side-by-side comparison, but after seeing the two platforms together, I can definitely attest to how good the screen is when I try. It makes the Switch’s launch screen, with its wide bezels and LCD screen, look small and pale in comparison.
OLED displays are generally known for their great color accuracy, which is clearly visible with Switch OLED. But it, on the other hand, is also known to have more problems with burn-in, which a Nintendo spokesperson says will be addressed with existing features like auto-brightness and auto-sleep. Another thing you should know about OLED screens is that they can also have some issues with glare, so it might be a little trickier to operate the Switch OLED outdoors, but we’ll need to do more testing to determine that one way or the other.
The other improvements seen in Switch OLED are smaller, but nonetheless welcome. The new bolster finally does make a difference, making the once rarely used tabletop option a more viable option now. The base also now includes a LAN port, which means you no longer have to buy an adapter if you want to play online with wired internet. The back of the platform is also sticking out, a strange but interesting design choice by Nintendo, which could make some parts of the system more accessible.
One underrated improvement is the speakers built into the portable unit. This is due to changes Nintendo made to the design, which alters the sound balance between the left and right speakers. The effect is noticeable, even if I still prefer headphones when gaming on the go (thankfully all Switch devices finally support Bluetooth headphones after the latest software update).
Deluxe Nintendo Console
But aside from the above, the Switch OLED is pretty much the switch you’ve been familiar with for the past four years. It’s still subject to the growing performance gap Nintendo’s console is seeing with other consoles, and the Joy-Cons remain unchanged, which means skew will remain an issue. It’s the definition of luxury, it’s the version you choose because you want to have the best screen possible.
As for whether the Switch OLED has been improved enough to warrant an upgrade, it’s hard to say. My rule of thumb is that I upgrade when a version comes out with a better screen, and Switch OLED certainly does. But at $350, I can certainly understand why many people want to stick with their platforms while hoping that Nintendo releases a decent Switch Pro in 2022. But if you’re buying a Switch for the first time, this is the version you want.
mention that Nintendo Switch OLED It will be released on October 8th.