Nintendo Switch OLED model: Ultimate guide
After months and months of waiting, Nintendo's new Switch OLED model has finally been released, allowing us to bring that larger OLED display, improved kickstand, and new dock to our homes. This isn't the massive update or "Switch Pro" many had hoped for. However, it is an impressive upgrade to an already popular console. There are plenty of new things to discuss, so let's jump on in.
The newest Switch
The OLED model has a larger screen that shows your games off more crisply and vibrantly. It also has an improved kickstand and double the internal storage of the original Switch. The dock has also been improved and features a LAN port.
What is the Nintendo Switch OLED model?
The Switch OLED model is very similar to the original Switch console but with some much-needed upgrades. Here are all of the important differences and similarities:
- 7-inch OLED screen: As we noted in our Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED model comparison, this screen provides more vibrant colors and crip contrast compared to the original screens. The display itself is also slightly larger since the OLED model has a slimmer bezel (black framing around the screen) than the original.
- 64GB of internal storage: The original Switch only had 32GB of internal storage, so this newer model effectively doubles that space.
- Updated Dock design: The new OLED model dock has an updated look with rounded edges on top rather than harsh corners.
- LAN port: The updated dock has a slightly different design, including a LAN port, which makes it directly plug into your internet connection instead of always relying on Wi-Fi.
- New kickstand: Instead of the flimsy little stick kickstand that we've come to recognize from the original Switch, the OLED model has a long kickstand going along the back of the device that looks and operates similarly to the kickstand on a Surface Pro.
- Enhanced audio: The speakers are improved over previous Switch models allowing your in-game sound and music to come through more clearly.
- Three modes: Like the original Switch, the OLED model can be used in handheld mode, tabletop mode, or docked mode on a TV.
- Detachable Joy-Cons: Like the original Switch, this one can be used while docked to a TV or in handheld mode with removable controllers for multiplayer games.
- Works with Switch/Switch Lite: Compatible multiplayer games allow you to play online or locally with the original Switch as well as the Switch Lite.
- Colors: The New Switch comes with either white Joy-Cons with a white dock or neon blue and neon red Joy-Cons with a black dock. Additional colors and designs will likely release in the future.
Switch OLED model Specs
The OLED model has the same resolution capabilities as previous Switch consoles being able to reach up to 1080p in docked mode and up to 720p in handheld mode. It also uses the same Nvidia Tegra X1 chip as previous Switch iterations. That means it offers the same processing power, runs, and the same frames per second (FPS). It also has the same amount of battery life as the Nintendo Switch V2: 4.5-9 hours, depending on the game and your brightness settings.
How to tell the new OLED model from the original
When you're looking to buy the new Nintendo Switch OLED model, look for a box with a vertical layout rather than a horizontal one. The large "OLED" letters depicted below the console picture are also a blatant giveaway. Additionally, if you see white Joy-Cons and a white dock with rounded edges on top, it's probably the new version, as this color was not available on the original.
How will the Nintendo Switch OLED model fair in the console wars?
Surprisingly, even though the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X have been released, Nintendo Switch was still the best-selling console during the 2020 holiday season and has continued to be in high demand in 2021. Preorders have sold out within minutes each time they become available, and now that the OLED model has released, stores are rarely in stock for long. As such, the Japanese gaming company will likely end up doing really well for itself. Obviously, Microsoft and Sony's consoles are more powerful graphically as they can handle 4K to 8K resolution, have incredible processing power, and offer more reliable controllers.
Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch hasn't focused on graphics but rather the portable gaming experience, which is why it has done so well. This focus also helps keep the Switch the most affordable gaming system out there, which gives Nintendo an edge against PlayStation and Xbox. Unless Sony or Microsoft launches a super successful handheld with seriously improved graphics and frame rates over the Switch (which is highly unlikely), Nintendo should do well for itself in the coming years.
Plus, the Switch is already the best couch co-op and multiplayer console out there, given that its exclusive games can often host up to four players and sometimes up to eight. This makes it the system of choice for game nights and family-friendly activities. Plus, the ability to easily slip from single-player to multiplayer makes it a great option for families with more than one child.
Another thing the Switch has going for it is that there are plenty of highly anticipated exclusives coming to the Nintendo Switch soon, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Bayonetta 3. These games are sure to keep people's interest in the Switch for quite a while.
Pricing for the Nintendo Switch OLED model
The Switch OLED model sells for $350. That's $50 more than the original Nintendo Switch sold for. This price increase is due to a mixture of upgrades, including the change from an LCD screen to an OLED display, the updated dock with a LAN port, and that fancy kickstand that goes along the back of the console.
Should I buy the Nintendo Switch OLED model?
The OLED model has proven to be a very popular item that sells out within minutes. However, it only has a few improvements over the Switch V2, which released in 2019. Unless you really REALLY want the new OLED display you might want to save yourself $50 and grab the less fancy Switch instead. It's an incredibly popular device that provides solo and multiplayer fun both on your TV and on-the-go. The consoles in the Switch hybrid line are the ultimate gaming devices since they're great for a large age range and can be played just about anywhere.
Play handheld or on TV
With this console, you can play wherever you go. There are thousands of Switch games currently available, and the ability to "switch" between playing in handheld mode or on your TV makes it so you can play whichever way is more convenient.
Updated October, 2021: Changed to Ultimate guide.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
4K will be nice for future games (and upgrades to Nintendo titles), but I don't see many existing third-party games being updated for 4K/Switch Pro. On the other hand, many third-party games that ran fine on the PS4 and Xbox One struggle on the existing Switch hardware, and others are missing entirely. Some recent games like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla or Cyberpunk 2077 are already clunky on the PS4 (especially non-Pro model) vs. PS5 and would seem to have little chance on the existing Switch.