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Nintendo’s OLED Switch isn’t the Switch Pro, and that’s okay

The long-rumored OLED-equipped Nintendo Switch is finally confirmed! But it’s not quite the upgrade we were expecting. For months, reports claimed a “Switch Pro” would also deliver 4K upscaling capability and faster performance. But this new model, which will sell for $350 when released on October 8th, doesn’t go nearly that far. Instead, it’s a minor step forward that fixes a few of the Switch’s original design flaws but doesn’t dramatically change the system. And you know what? That’s fine.

If you’ve been following Nintendo for any time, it shouldn’t be surprising that the company isn’t interested in joining a space race. Let Sony and Microsoft duke it out for 4K dominance — Nintendo can show there’s still plenty to love about games in 1080p and below. Sticking with the same hardware also means developers don’t have to worry about splitting the Switch user base, an issue that’s plagued Nintendo systems over the last few decades (as the New 3DS worth it?).

Nintendo’s OLED Switch

The global chip shortage may have foiled Nintendo’s plans to stuff better hardware in this Switch. The system uses a custom version of NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip, quietly updated in 2019 to increase the console’s battery life. According to various reports, Nintendo was exploring docked 4K upscaling using NVIDIA’s DLSS technology, which uses AI processing to bump lower-resolution textures to something that looks sharper. But that technology would have required an updated Tegra chip that brought over some of the hardware from NVIDIA’s recent RTX GPUs. That’s not an impossible task, but it may have required more work than NVIDIA was able to accomplish during the hellscape of 2020 (at least while keeping the final cost reasonable).

That doesn’t mean dreams of a 4K-capable Switch are dead. We’ll have to wait a year or two to see it. Nintendo would also need to add more RAM to the Switch to handle better the 1080p textures required for DLSS upscaling. That’s not easy with the system’s meager 4GB of RAM, so a future console would need 6GB or 8 GB. And don’t forget, Nintendo also needs to balance delivering solid battery life with the Switch in handheld mode, so it needs to be careful about shoving in demanding new hardware.

This OLED model still seems like an enticing upgrade for owners of the original Switch or newcomers to the platform. The larger screen makes the system look more modern, with less of a chunky display bezel. OLED will also make games look dramatically better, especially outside direct sunlight. There’s also a wider kickstand, similar to one of the Microsoft Surface tablets, which should make portable play much more stable. There’s also 64GB of internal storage, instead of 32GB, and “enhanced audio,” which could refer to better speakers — Nintendo isn’t getting very specific.

And if you’re really into online multiplayer, you’ll likely appreciate the Ethernet port built into the OLED Switch’s dock. (If that’s your main draw, Nintendo says the dock is also compatible with the old Switch models.) Due to the larger screen, though, Nintendo says the OLED Switch may have issues with some Labo kits and other games. I get it. $ 350 is a lot to shell out for a slightly better Switch. That’s particularly true when you can get the disc-less PlayStation 5 for $399 or the full PS5 and Xbox Series X for $499. But for Nintendo diehards, the improvements are tempting. Don’t be surprised if the company drops the 4K-capable Switch during the 2022 holiday season. Our editorial team, independent of our parent company, selects all products Engadget recommends. Some of our stories include affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through one of these links.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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