Switching up the Switch —
Bigger, brighter screen and a new kickstand, but no processing power improvements?
After months of rumors and reports of a coming “Switch Pro,” Nintendo has finally and officially revealed the upgraded version of its core Switch hardware. The “OLED Model” as Nintendo is calling it, will be available October 8 for an MSRP of $349.99.
As the name implies, the most immediately noticeable improvement is in the screen, which uses pricier OLED technology instead of the more common standard LCD found in previous Switch models. This should provide deeper blacks, better color display, and less motion blurring than existing Switch systems, if existing OLED TVs are anything to go by.
The OLED Model also expands the Switch’s screen to 7″, up from the 6.2″ of the original Switch and 5.5″ of the Switch Lite. This is accomplished without substantially increasing the size of the standard Switch unit itself; the OLED Model is just 0.1″ wider than the original Switch, with the same height and depth. The increase in screen real estate is thanks to a reduction in the space used for the black bezel around the tablet screen.
Those that use the Switch in “tabletop mode” will be happy to hear that the Switch’s incredibly flimsy kickstand has been replaced in the OLED Model with a wide adjustable stand that extends across the entire width of the system. This new built-in stand also lets players “freely tilt the system” to ensure the perfect viewing angle.
Other improvements noted on the system’s newly revealed specs page include:
- A new dock featuring a fully removable backplate, a new wired LAN port, and
a light-up front logo to more clearly indicate when the docked system is on[Update: It seems this last bit might have been a trick of the light in the video. Ars regrets the error).
- 64GB of internal memory (up from 32GB on the Switch and Switch Lite)
- “Enhanced audio from the system’s onboard speakers,” whatever that means.
Nintendo says the new hardware unit will be available in two configurations: one with two white Joy-cons (and a white dock) and one with red and blue Joy-Cons and a black dock. The new system will be fully compatible with all existing Joy-Cons, Switch accessories, and games as well.
A quick comparison table posted by Nintendo confirm the OLED Model will have the same 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life as Switch models available since late 2019. The new unit will also weight about 0.93 lbs with Joy-Cons attached, up slightly from the 0.88 lbs of the original Switch.
There’s no indication in today’s announcement that the actual circuitry, chips , or hardware configuration powering the OLED Model have changed at all from previous Switch hardware. That suggests there won’t be any upcoming Switch games that require the OLED Model to run, and that we won’t see notable performance improvements when games are run on the newly designed system despite earlier reports to the contrary.
Listing image by Nintendo
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