After months of speculation, we finally know what Nintendo’s mid-gen refresh of the Switch looks like – and it’s called the Nintendo Switch OLED.
The specs of the Nintendo Switch OLED align with some of the rumors we’d been hearing about the updated console, and it comes with a 7-inch OLED screen, which is larger than the Switch’s 6.2-inch LCD display.
Nintendo Switch OLED: cut to the chase
- What is it? A mid-gen refresh of the Nintendo Switch with an OLED screen
- When is it out? October 8, 2021
- How much does it cost? $349.99 (about £250 / AU$450)
Nintendo Switch OLED release date and price
The Nintendo Switch OLED will be available on October 8, 2021, and it costs $349.99 (around £250 / AU$450 – conversions are likely below RRPs). The current Nintendo Switch costs $299.99 in the US, £279.99 in the UK, and $469.95 in Australia, while the Nintendo Switch Lite, which is a handheld-only device, costs $199.99 / £199.99 / AU$329.95.
It means the Nintendo Switch OLED costs $50 more than the standard Switch model, which isn’t a massive premium to pay for the new features on offer.
Nintendo Switch OLED features
We know that the Nintendo Switch OLED’s main appeal is its organic light emitting diode display, or OLED for short. OLED is widely regarded as one of the best display technologies around, as unlike an LCD screen, it doesn’t rely on a backlight to display images. Instead, it displays images using light emitted by each individual pixel, which means you can get perfect inky blacks and higher contrast levels.
The display size of the Nintendo Switch OLED is also larger than the original Switch’s LCD screen. It’s now 7 inches, which should give you a bit more real estate when you’re huddled over playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with friends, and provide some added immersion when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 when that game eventually releases sometime in 2022.
Some surprises come in the form of a wider, adjustable stand, and enhanced audio quality; however, it doesn’t look like the Nintendo Switch OLED will support spatial audio tech like Dolby Atmos. Instead, it appears that the speakers on the unit itself have merely been upgraded for a better experience when you’re playing in handheld or tabletop mode.
Another new addition is wired LAN support, which will come as a relief to those who feel Nintendo Switch’s online games aren’t the most stable or reliable when played over Wi-Fi. It’ll also benefit titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 3, the latter of which is due to release in 2022.
Thankfully, another area where the Nintendo Switch OLED improves over the original is internal storage. The Nintendo Switch OLED has 64GB of storage compared to the 32GB on the original Switch model, and there’s still support for compatible microSD cards.
The Nintendo Switch dock has also received a subtle upgrade, as it now sports rounded edges for a more modern-looking design, and comes in an off-white, which matches the new white color scheme of the Nintendo Switch OLED. The console is also available in the classic Neon Blue/Red color combo with a black dock.
Nintendo Switch OLED technical specifications
Want to know about the ins and outs of the new Nintendo Switch OLED? Check out the full breakdown of the console’s technical specifications below:
- Size: 9.5 x 0.55 x 4 inches (w x d x h)
- Weight: Approximately 0.71 lbs / 0.93 lbs with Joy-Con controllers attached
- Screen: Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 7-inch OLED screen
- Resolution: 1280 x 720 (720p)
- CPU/GPU: Nvidia Custom Tegra processor
- Storage: 64GB (can be expanded using microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB)
- Wireless: WI-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
- Video output: Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode, 720p in handheld mode
- Audio output: 5.1 Linear PCM
- Speakers: Stereo
- USB connector: USB Type-C for charging
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery life: approximately 4.5-9 hours
- Charging time: approximately 3 hours
Is the Nintendo Switch OLED 4K?
Surprisingly, no. One of the biggest features the Nintendo Switch Pro was tipped to have was the option to output at 4K resolution when docked, but the Switch OLED will only output at 1080p, just like the regular Switch. This seems like a big missed opportunity for Nintendo, and might make the upgrade a little harder to justify for some.
It’s likely that the Nintendo Switch OLED display will stick to the 720p output of the original Switch too, as it means existing Switch software won’t have to be upgraded. This means that rumors of Nvidia DLSS support, which using AI upscaling to help games achieve 4K, is off the cards.
Targeting a resolution of 4K resolution could have also led to the console being more expensive, which is why Nintendo may have opted to stick with the original 720p output in handheld mode and 1080p when docked.
Will every Switch game work on the Switch OLED?
Can all Nintendo Switch titles be played on Nintendo Switch OLED? Absolutely. The Switch OLED is essentially a fancier Nintendo Switch, so it means means that every Switch game is compatible. However, Nintendo notes that some game experiences with the Toy-Con accessories from the Nintendo Labo series may differ due to the Switch OLED’s larger screen.
Existing Switch accessories will also work with the Nintendo Switch OLED model, according to Nintendo.
What happened to the Nintendo Switch Pro?
The Nintendo Switch OLED is essentially the Nintendo Switch Pro that has been heavily rumored for quite some time. The technical specifications all line up with what we’ve heard previously, though the biggest outlier is the lack of 4K resolution support when docked.
It’s unlikely, then, that Nintendo will announce another Switch model anytime soon, so those hoping for a more powerful Nintendo Switch model may be disappointed.