A pleasing redesign that won’t appeal to everyone
Nintendo Switch OLED two-minute review
The Nintendo Switch OLED makes a positive impression as soon as you turn it on. The gorgeous new 7-inch display immediately draws you in with its super-slim bezels, perfect blacks, and vivid colors – to the point where you’ll wonder how you ever made do with the original Switch’s lackluster LCD panel.
But it isn’t just the alluring OLED display that makes a strong first impression. The enhanced speakers, which are now hidden neatly underneath the console’s main attraction, are noticeably impressive. The Switch’s iconic ‘click’ has never sounded so crisp and clear, and we didn’t feel the immediate urge to reach for a pair of headphones when playing our favorite games.
We also enjoyed the console’s completely redesigned kickstand, which now spans the entire rear of the unit. It’s reminiscent of Microsoft’s excellent adjustable stands on its Surface line of devices, and it comfortably bests the original Switch’s flimsy little plastic stand, which could barely prop the console up. It’s a massive upgrade for tabletop mode users, and helps to elevate the console’s overall build quality in the process.
The 64GB of internal storage is another big tick in our book as you’re getting twice as much space as in the original Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. However, it’s still a miserable amount compared to the likes of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which offer far faster storage at significantly higher capacities. Thankfully, though, the console still comes with a microSD slot, so you can always add more if you need it.
So far, so good, then… but Nintendo has shamelessly overlooked one of the three core pillars of the Switch experience – TV mode – and the new console is a hard sell as a result. The company has seen fit to redesign the console’s dock, adding smoother edges, a LAN port for those who like to play online, and more breathing room for the console to rest inside comfortably. But you’re still capped to a 1080p output, as there’s no 4K upscaling, nor any other benefits for Switch players who prefer playing on their televisions. It means that whenever you dock the Nintendo Switch OLED, all of its main selling points are suddenly null and void, which kind of boggles the mind considering that this is a console that’s supposed to cater to three types of play equally well.
The lack of 4K output subsequently leads to a question that Nintendo will be unable to avoid when it comes to the Switch OLED: why are the internal specifications the same as the original Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite? It feels entirely at odds with the console’s more premium feel when you load up the same sluggish Nintendo Switch eShop, or tired-looking games that could have used a bit more processing power to make them feel brand-new again. Countless titles and developers could have benefitted from a refresh of the Switch’s aging components, so it’s a shame Nintendo didn’t respond to the clamor from both developers and consumers with the console approaching its fifth anniversary.
So who is the Nintendo Switch OLED model for, and is it worth splashing the cash to upgrade if you already own the original Switch or handheld-only Switch Lite? Well, if you’re new to the Switch line, the answer is a definite ‘yes’ – this is the best version of Nintendo’s ingenious console to date, and one that corrects many of the faults of the original model. Those who have a Switch, and who primarily use it in handheld or tabletop mode could also find some value, thanks to the console’s gorgeous 7-inch OLED screen, excellent speakers, and redesigned kickstand. However, if you’re a current Switch owner who primarily uses your console in TV mode, we can confidently say that the Switch OLED would be a luxury and unnecessary upgrade.
Nintendo Switch OLED price and release date
- What is it? The fourth iteration of Nintendo’s hybrid console
- When did it come out? October 8, 2021
- What does it cost? $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95
The Nintendo Switch OLED releases on October 8, 2021, and is the fourth iteration of Nintendo’s home console. It costs $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95, so it’s slightly more expensive than the original Nintendo Switch, which retails for $299.99 / £259.99 / AU$469.95, and it’s obviously a bigger investment than the Nintendo Switch Lite, which costs $199.99 / £199.99 / AU$329.95.
The Nintendo Switch OLED model’s higher price tag seems reasonable, however. The upgraded console comes with a larger, 7-inch OLED display, enhanced speakers, double the internal storage and a wider kickstand, and you also get a slightly improved dock that includes a LAN port for more stable online play.