Nintendo Switch OLED: What You Need To Know

This week, Nintendo announced their new Switch OLED model. This wasn’t an expected announcement for many and quite a few people are confused. Let’s talk about what you can expect from this new hybrid portable console.

The Nintendo Switch OLED is an Upgrade, But Not By Much

If you thought the Switch OLED was a new console on the lines of the PS5 or XBox Series X, you’re going to be disappointed. This is what they like to call a “mid-gen refresh.” What is that? A slight upgrade from the initial offering with some quality of life improvements and not much else.

The biggest and most noticeable upgrade is the screen. The OLED screen is better looking and larger (7″ vs 6.2″) than the previous Switch. Otherwise, most of the internals are the same. Same processor, same, resolution (720P on the screen, up to 1080p when connected to a TV), and same battery life. There are some improvements:

  • Increased internal storage (64GB up from 32GB)
  • Larger kickstand with more positions for tabletop use
  • LAN connection for wired gaming in TV mode
  • Improved speakers

There are some aesthetic changes but nothing that will affect performance. And yes, all your Switch games will work with the Switch OLED.

Pricing and Availability

The Nintendo Switch OLED is listed as available on October 8th, 2021 for $350. That’s a $50 premium over the standard Switch. Considering the increased screen size and performance, and additional storage, this isn’t a big ask. While Nintendo is saying you can preorder the Switch OLED, it isn’t available anywhere in the US as of this writing. Even Nintendo’s own store doesn’t have a way to preorder

Nintendo has a history of creating artificial shortages to keep demand high and prices even higher. Even now, Nintendo is having a hard time keeping the Switch in stock because of chip shortages. If current trends for new console releases continue, expect the Switch OLED to be snatched up by scalpers looking to make money on the resell market.

Perhaps to combat this, or to give customers more options, the standard Switch will still be sold by Nintendo, as well as the Switch Lite. Just know that the Switch OLED will sell out almost immediately and show up on resell sites seconds later. If you want a Nintendo Switch OLED, you are going to have to be either quick or patient. Or be willing to pay much more than retail price.

Our Take

Clearly, the lack of hardware and processing upgrades will leave some people underwhelmed. When Microsoft released their Xbox One X, we saw serious hardware updates that made compelling arguments for people to upgrade. A slightly larger, albeit better, screen and more memory really don’t seem that compelling to us. The lack of 4k resolution or HDR support for those that care about such things is also disappointing. We really thought they’d at least have 4k.

No, for us the most compelling feature isn’t the eponymous OLED screen, it is the LAN connection. Wired connections are just so much better than forcing everyone to use WiFi for gaming. We know that those that fancy themselves “hardcore” gamers will want the Nintendo Switch OLED just for the LAN connection.

Are you interested in the new Nintendo Switch OLED? Tell us why (or why not) in the comments or on our Facebook page!

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