Review: Nintendo Switch – OLED Hardware

Review: Nintendo Switch – OLED Hardware

With a beautiful black and white (or standard red and blue) theme, the Nintendo Switch OLED model exudes portable sophistication. Its premium feel thanks to the slimmer bezel, sturdy kickstand and lightweight metal substrate back panel is both aesthetic and comfortable to use. But how does the improved model compare to its original counterpart? Let’s find out.

It’s been four and a half years since the original Nintendo Switch launched. In March 2017, we examined the original console, praising its pocket comfort and portability, while noting its lack of internal storage at 32 GB and its low battery life for heavy games. Now, using this same original system to compare, we are going to use the new OLED model. In our Overview, we talked at length about the new features of the console, how it looks and how it works. However, here we will look at the console in three separate areas; its technical aspects and its design, its overall playability and its “visibility”. Finally, we will present the pros and cons of the device according to the different needs of the audience, rather than giving the model an overall rating.

Technical and design features

Featuring a 7 inch multi-touch capacitive OLED display, the difference in picture quality, color contrast and sharpness of the new model compared to the original LCD display is staggering. Although only 0.8 inches larger, the glass screen paired with OLED backlighting gives the console a much more premium look and feel, without compromising the resolution. Although the glass is more prone to fingerprints than the plastic coating on the original, the OLED model weighs just 0.71 lbs – just 0.05 lbs more than the original – which makes the screen and its lightweight metal stand just as portable and much more scratch resistant.

With a length of 9.5 inches, a height of 4 inches and a depth of 0.55 inches, the OLED console will still fit comfortably (albeit quite comfortable) inside the official accessories of the carrying case. Nintendo. Due to its slightly larger size, Nintendo states that it may not work as expected with Toy-Con Labo kits, which means there may be an issue with some peripherals (like a comfort grip) where the length of the console is important.

The new design features of the OLED model, such as the thinner bezel and the fully adjustable sturdy kickstand, provide additional comfort for tabletop and viewing modes. There is also improved sound with slim speakers on the front, while the power and volume buttons have been changed with a rectangular and rounded appearance. On the back of the console, you will find that the Nintendo logo has been repositioned on the kickstand and is smaller.

The only issue to note is the new SD card slot, which is now placed horizontally, albeit still on the left side. It is therefore unnatural to slide in and out, even if it is in an easier position to reach. For some, 64GB internal storage may be sufficient, but for others who like to have a selection of games on hand, an SD card will be the best option.

On the new white dock itself, we discussed in our preview the hingeless back cover for easier access to the new LAN port, alongside the standard AC adapter and HDMI ports. In addition, two USB ports are located on the side as was the case with the original dock. And, of course, you will be able to purchase the White LAN Dock separately from the My Nintendo store. For the curious, new and old docks will work with either console, and in our case, we didn’t have to update them to do so.

While the Joy-Cons are the same in design and build, inside the box of the vertically wrapped white OLED model you’ll now find the Joy-Con slider and the wrist straps have tiny gray spots in the fabric. for differentiation. A minute detail, perhaps, but one that adds to the premium feel of the console.

Overall playability

For testing purposes, we tried a range of software on the OLED model, including Terror Metroid, alongside Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Hyrule Warriors, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Party and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As an almost exclusive docked Switch player (like many of us), I rarely play portable or tabletop, purely for work or travel purposes. However, the OLED model has the potential to switch docked fans to its portable mode, due to its beautiful, vibrant color contrasts.

For example, in Metroid Dread you will come across many dark areas with beautifully detailed elemental characteristics. Between the fire and ice themed rooms and areas densely filled with alien architecture, the OLED display creates that vibrant pop of color that’s so pleasing to the eye. This is perhaps helped by the console’s new screen settings, either “standard” or “alive,” the latter creating more artificial color contrasts to help you play in natural light. Unfortunately, the bright sun is still an issue for games like Metroid Dread due to its dark color scheme. However, other games, like Hyrule Warriors, fare better, but that doesn’t change the game. Gamers will always need to find a nice, shady spot to get the most out of handheld games.

In tabletop mode, we tested both Hyrule Warriors with a horizontally split screen and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for its vertical view. The sturdy, articulated kickstand is a great addition and – let’s be honest – a much needed addition, allowing gameplay to be seen from any angle. With Hyrule Warriors in particular, we noted that the textures appeared sharper on the OLED model compared to the original, and the color depth was more pleasing to the eyes. Whereas for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the larger screen was much more comfortable for longer gaming sessions.

If you are looking to purchase the White Dock for its LAN port, whether as part of an upgrade or only through the Official Nintendo Store, you will be pleased to know that it offers a consistent online gaming experience. and stable. When connected to a LAN port, the intelligence of the Switch means that the port is recognized immediately, while the connection symbol takes the form of an “N” next to the battery symbol, making the perfectly relevant brand.


With the newly improved kickstand and OLED display, the new model offers a range of options for potential streaming services. Currently, the Switch works with a handful of video streaming apps (such as YouTube, Hulu, and Pokémon TV to name a few), which are perfect for daytime and nighttime viewing from the comfort of your own bed. . Lay it on a pillow or place it on your lap, the kickstand is so flexible it works with any setup. Plus, picture quality makes a real difference, especially when viewing the same content on both consoles side by side.

Those looking to upgrade will also be happy that the battery life is also improved compared to the original Switch 2017 console. We did a quick test on both devices while watching an episode of Pokémon. In about 20 minutes with peak brightness, vivid color, and sound settings, the OLED model’s battery was down 5%, while the original one was down 8%. Nintendo states that depending on the app used, you will get around 5.5-9 hours of battery life from the OLED model before it requires a charge. In an alternate test with Metroid Dread, for example, we managed around 6.5 hours of playtime.

Advantages and disadvantages

For exclusively portable gamers, the OLED model is an instant must-have. Color clarity is exceptional – and something that cannot be adequately described and needs to be experienced firsthand. Our only complaint here is the lack of a “cinema” mode in the console screen settings, which would have been great for games like Metroid Dread, Fatal Frame, and Resident Evil.

For those who enjoy tabletop games or use the Switch as a portable media entertainment device, the kickstand is perfect for viewing content from any angle. And, for those looking to upgrade from an original 2017 model, the improved battery life and additional storage space will be a great addition.

Grounded players, however, won’t see any visible gameplay benefits. Many improvements of the OLED model relate to comfort, flexibility, and ease of use for handheld and handheld games. If you need a LAN port, we recommend purchasing the white dock separately as there are no known issues when switching between docks.

While not the version it could have been, the Switch OLED model is a great upgrade for handheld gaming. Yes, it’s smarter, smoother, and more premium, but it’s aimed at a select audience. The OLED model looks like a truly hybrid console – and maybe that should have been the original design. But after 18 months of armor and indoor play, maybe now is the time to be bolder, brave outdoor spaces, and move on to portable play.

Final Verdict: Recommended for those who enjoy handheld or tabletop gaming and as an upgrade for Switch console owners on launch day.

A Nintendo Switch OLED model and a review copy of Metroid Dread (for testing purposes) have been provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK.

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