Nintendo Switch – OLED Model Review

In 2021, Nintendo announced the latest iteration of its hybrid gaming console within the type of the $350 Nintendo Switch OLED mannequin. Despite all the issues this {hardware} refresh does proper, most notably the marginally greater and far better-looking show, the unchanged inside specs and lack of great enhancements to the dock have left me ambivalent after spending every week utilizing it. The wonderful new display definitely makes this one of the best Switch for anybody who doesn’t have already got one, however the comparatively slim record of upgrades for many who do additionally has me questioning why a few of these design revisions weren’t rolled out with the 2019 model.

The Switch OLED encompasses a bigger 7-inch 720p OLED show, making it barely greater than the bottom Switch’s 6.2-inch display, however due to the smaller bezels (the black body across the display) it’s almost the identical bodily dimensions because the earlier Switch – it’s 242mm lengthy, as in comparison with the unique’s 239mm. The Switch OLED additionally beefs up the storage, doubling it from the unique Switch’s tiny 32GB to… a nonetheless fairly small 64GB. Of course, we’ve the identical choice to increase it with a MicroSD card (the slot for which has been shifted barely).

Nintendo Switch (OLED Model)

The crown jewel of the Switch OLED is, in fact, the standard of the show itself. The OLED show is a big change to the unique Switch and vastly improves taking part in in handheld mode. As upset as I used to be to listen to that Nintendo determined to maintain a 720p decision in handheld mode for this revision, it’s nonetheless a serious step up in not solely how good video games look, however the place they appear good.

Specifically, the Switch OLED makes it lots simpler to play video games in direct daylight. No longer should we search out darkish corners to play in, or defend the display whereas taking part in within the backseat of a automobile or on a aircraft! While not as brilliant as, say, the show on my new iPhone 13 Pro when at most brightness, I can now extra comfortably carry my Switch exterior with me and play a number of hours whereas kicking again on my hammock. The show hits a candy spot that makes it extra of an incentive to take it with me wherever I’m going, making the Switch really feel extra cellular than ever and dwelling as much as the “play anywhere” promise.

The Switch OLED makes it lots simpler to play video games in direct daylight.

As someone who mostly plays my launch model Switch docked, this made a massive difference for me right away. After playing just a couple of games I felt spoiled by the additional screen real estate, and it was harder to go back to my 2017 Switch. On top of everything else, the slightly bigger display also makes the on-screen text a little bigger; that may not be a massive difference to most people, but when doing a side-by-side comparison with the original Switch it is clear as day.

The Switch OLED doesn’t just look better – it feels better, too. From the display’s glass screen to the revised kickstand, it does not feel cheaply made in any sense. The Joy-Cons also feel more securely attached than on my original Switch model, where they’ve always felt a little bit loose, especially at the bottom.

One catch is that, due to its extra three millimeters in length, some of your original Switch’s accessories may have compatibility issues. While any Joy-Cons will fit the Switch OLED – including third-party controllers like the Hori Split Pad Pro – some controller grips, third-party docks/mounts, and cases may not fit; I would not recommend forcing the OLED into any of these things to make it work.

I could easily tell that the screen made games a lot more vibrant.

Spending roughly a week with the Switch OLED, primarily in handheld mode, I could easily tell that the screen made games a lot more vibrant. At peak brightness, the OLED really pulls me in on the action and, more importantly, it just makes games look more colorful. Tracks like Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe look a lot brighter and more vivid. By comparison, when I went back to playing on my original Switch the same course looked colorful but dim, even when adjusting the brightness and disabling auto-brightness. I also found that colorful, cartoony games like New Pokemon Snap and WarioWare: Get it Together! really shine on the new screen.

Even the darker and grimmer Metroid Dread benefits a lot from the OLED display. There are some sections that have darker blacks and subtly gray areas, particularly in the sections where an EMMI is patrolling, and the OLED’s ability to display absolute black made those areas eerier and creepier. And then there’s Samus Aran herself, whose white and bright blue power suit stands in stark contrast to the environment around her.

The Nintendo Switch OLED also adds a new feature not found in the original Switch or Switch Lite, called Console-Screen Colors. It’s enabled by default but is toggleable in the settings menu and has two options: the default Vivid and a reduced Standard option. While I thought at first the Standard mode would revert the console’s brightness and colors to look more like the original Switch, that is not the case. Instead, Console-Screen Colors serve one purpose: to increase the level of brightness and color saturation, particularly in lighter colors. So games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons look noticeably brighter, with bright-colored items and clothes given a lot more color, and they feel like they must be truer to the color scheme its creators intended it to display.

However, Console-Screen Colors does bring up one issue I have with the OLED model: the feature only changes how colors are displayed on the Switch OLED itself – meaning it won’t impact docked mode, even if you’re playing on an OLED TV. Still, this almost-hidden feature really does make the OLED the best way to experience handheld Switch games to date.

The Nintendo Switch OLED also adds an exclusive Console-Screen Colors feature.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason that Console-Screen Colors is a togglable setting rather than something you’d leave on all of the time. All the additional vibrancy it brings can occasionally go too far, causing some games to have oversaturated colors. I found this to be an issue in games that were already pushing saturation to the limits, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I saw a few instances where some oversaturation of color made slight differences to the saturation of backgrounds, particularly in the opening title screen. It’s not to the point of obviousness, but it was definitely noticeable when flicking the Console-Screen Colors option on and off.

It can be annoyingly inconsistent, even within the same game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for instance, looks great in some areas with vivid colors enabled, but when I was roaming the open world, the color of the cel-shaded grass felt a bit oversaturated. It is a case-by-case thing for sure, but it can be distracting.

All that said, I could not help but feel – at least in the case of the OLED display – some real “this should have been here since 2017” power. The incontrovertible fact that the PlayStation Vita, a handheld launched again in 2012, had an OLED show (albeit a smaller one than the Switch OLED) makes me surprise if an OLED show was up for consideration within the unique Switch. It positively would’ve been costlier, however Nintendo doesn’t appear to have an issue with charging $350 in 2021. (Granted, that’s simpler for it to have the boldness to do now that the Switch is its best-selling console for the reason that Wii).

20 Major Nintendo Console and Handheld Upgrades

OLED show apart, the most recent Switch refresh makes another smaller, but appreciated enhancements to the general design. The audio system on the Switch OLED are barely greater, however to be sincere I didn’t discover the marginally clearer and louder sound high quality to be that huge of a distinction for essentially the most half – not one thing I’d have seen if I weren’t doing side-by-side testing.

Battery life stays largely the identical, as famous on Nintendo’s web site. Though some video games I examined, like Breath of the Wild, did final a couple of minutes longer than the 5.5 hours Nintendo estimated, different video games, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, have been nearer to the 5-hour mark (an enchancment over the 2019 Switch, which gave out at 4 hours and 50 minutes). Again, from what I may discover, the battery life enhancements are modest and largely just some further minutes.

My favourite enchancment to the Switch OLED is definitely the brand new kickstand.

The Switch OLED has the identical 3.5mm audio jack on the proper facet of the console, in addition to the long-awaited Bluetooth audio characteristic (which is now enabled on all Switch models through a software update). I used to be in a position to seamlessly join my Apple AirPods, although your Bluetooth efficiency and mileage might fluctuate relying on the wi-fi headphones or earbuds you might be utilizing.

Outside of the show, my favourite enchancment to the Switch OLED is definitely the brand new kickstand. Taking some cues from Microsoft’s Surface Pro line, the Switch OLED kickstand is lots firmer and extra versatile, providing extra angles at which you’ll set the Switch up with out risking it falling flat for those who bump the desk. Its elevated width means any worries or nervousness over breaking the kickstand are gone within the OLED mannequin, which makes it lots simpler to play multiplayer video games like Super Mario Party in tabletop mode.

The Top 25 Switch Games (Fall 2020 Update)

Most of the enhancements for the Switch OLED are on the hand-held facet of issues, however there are some minor adjustments for many who desire taking part in the Switch on a TV, together with a revised dock. Aside from coming in a brand new white coloration, the dock has curved corners and the within features a shiny black design. The new dock features a bit more room than the unique, which can assist compensate for the problems the unique docking station had with scratching the Switch’s show when putting it inside, although there’s a tradeoff: the Switch now wobbles a bit whereas docked. Not to the purpose the place you’ll threat disconnecting it from the TV, however I seen it when evaluating it to my previous Switch dock, which has no wobble in any respect.

The revised Switch dock nonetheless has the 2 USB ports on the left facet, however the again is somewhat totally different from the unique in that it features a removable backplate as a substitute of a again door with a hinge, and the backplate additionally features a greater define for cables than the previous dock. I discovered the fabric on the revised dock’s backplate to really feel somewhat cheaper than the unique, and I miss the hinge that attaches the backplate to the Switch dock.

The revised dock additionally ditches the third USB port in favor of a LAN port, a welcome addition by way of which you’ll join on to a Wi-Fi extender or router through an Ethernet cable. I’ve a fairly stable web connection and speeds, however that connection is barely as sturdy because the weakest hyperlink within the chain that connects to the web. For the unique Switch dock, the one manner to do this out of the field (with out shopping for an adapter) was over Wi-Fi, which is usually not going to be almost as quick as a wired connection. Games like Cuphead and Sonic Mania would take about 40-50 minutes to obtain on my Wi-Fi connection, however over LAN they take roughly 15-Half-hour.

The LAN port additionally vastly improves stability in video games which have online performance. I’ve all the time had lag when taking part in online for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Tennis Aces, and Splatoon 2 on my launch Switch, however I seen no lagging or web points on my finish when related to an Ethernet port. (Note that Nintendo will promote the brand new docking station individually at a later date, so you do not want to spend $350 for a complete new Switch if that’s all you need, although you’d be higher off shopping for the $30 adapter for those who’re not aggravated by a dongle hanging off your dock).


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