Nintendo Switch OLED model initial review: Ultimate upgrade or ultimate letdown?

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(Pocket-lint) - There are 2 ways to look astatine the Nintendo Switch OLED model: positively, arsenic an all-round improved console with bigger, amended surface tech; oregon cynically, arsenic a half-baked progression implicit the archetypal console, missing retired connected assorted opportunities to amended and heighten further the Switch experience.

When Nintendo invited america to a play league down closed doors - wherever perfectly nary photography was permitted, hence the antithetic script of utilizing provided workplace shots present - we went successful with an unfastened mind. After all, the original Switch was a full game-changer console, truthful if you've yet to leap connected the Nintendo bid to joyousness municipality then, well, surely the OLED exemplary is the mode to get there?

What's different?

  • 7-inch OLED display
  • 64GB built-in storage
  • Enhanced audio output
  • White colourway option
  • Large, multi-positional rear kickstand
  • Dock includes Ethernet/LAN larboard (in spot of 1 USB)

As the merchandise sanction tells you large and proud: the 3rd Switch exemplary (after the archetypal and Lite) comes with an OLED screen. This self-emitting exertion isn't brighter than LCD, but it's known for richer colours and deeper blacks. We took our archetypal Switch on to the preview lawsuit to comparison and, certainly, the OLED exemplary has cleaner whites - it's cooler, much bluish - and that's a wide positive.

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But the biggest take-away astir this surface is that it's bigger than the 1 successful the archetypal Switch: the OLED measures 7-inches connected the diagonal, compared to 6.2-inches successful the original's LCD panel. However, this doesn't marque the OLED exemplary console's wide footprint truly immoderate bigger - it's that the bezel has been eaten away, truthful there's little distracting borderline stuff, delivering a much (although not total) edge-to-edge viewpoint.

However, the 1 happening we couldn't assistance announcement astir the Switch OLED exemplary is that this caller bezel is glossy, whereas the archetypal Switch's is matte. Gloss isn't large for reflections, truthful sunlight and overhead lighting mightiness origin distractions. It truly should person been near matte.

Nintendo

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The Switch OLED's dimensions bash disagree a tiny magnitude compared to the original, and it's a small heavier, but having handled some 1 aft the different you truly wouldn't know. The carnal 'height' is identical betwixt some products - which is large arsenic it means Joy-Con controllers are interchangeable, should you person a spare acceptable to marque usage of.

Some of that magnitude summation is down to the OLED model's new, larger integrated kickstand. This is simply a immense betterment implicit the tiny stick-like 1 successful the archetypal Switch, making desktop mode - wherever you tin detach the Joy-Cons to play arsenic if the Switch is simply a mini TV - acold much viable. It holds beardown and is adjustable done a wide array of angles.

Nintendo

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The Switch OLED besides comes successful a achromatic colourway finish, helping it to basal isolated from the assorted multi-colour finishes. Even the dock is finished successful white, giving it a clean, chill look. The dock adds a LAN/Ethernet larboard astatine the disbursal of the interior USB socket, but this is an perfect for ensuring coagulated connectivity to a router.

Is OLED truly better?

  • Console dimensions (with Joy-Con controllers): 102mm x 242mm x 13.9mm
  • Console value (with Joy-Con controllers): 420g / (without Joy-Con controllers): 320g
  • 7-inch OLED panel, 720 x 1280 autochthonal solution (1920 x 1080 60fps maximum TV output)

The Switch OLED exemplary is simply a wide victor if you're looking to play erstwhile connected the go, acknowledgment to that screen. Thing is, that's benignant of the constituent of the Switch Lite (which can't link to a TV), which has a smaller and inferior screen.

Nintendo

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As the OLED exemplary adds nary other grunt to proceedings implicit the archetypal Switch, if you're mostly a TV surface subordinate then, well, there's zero quality betwixt the 2 main console options. It's identical successful presumption of graphical fidelity - it's 'HD Ready' 720p connected the portable screen, upping to Full HD 1080p connected a TV surface - it's each the same.

That's wherever the cynical space could creep it: a batch of radical were expecting a 'Switch Pro' from this OLED model, but that's not the deal. It's much a mid-life rhythm change-up.

Furthermore there's nary artillery improvement. At this signifier we've not played with the OLED exemplary for much than 45 minutes total, truthful can't justice however the compartment wrong volition payment from having an OLED sheet to power. What we bash know, however, is the artillery capableness is the aforesaid arsenic successful the archetypal console - truthful the longevity is precise apt to beryllium adjacent identical, portion charging is inactive alternatively dilatory (taking 3 hours via USB-C, whether separately of done the dock).

Nintendo

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We besides inactive deliberation the Switch's capableness for third-party apps lacks - there's inactive nary Netflix - which is simply a shame fixed the caller and improved screen's potential. 

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Super games

  • Play connected TV, on-the-go, connected desktop
  • Limited third-party apps (no Netflix, for example)
  • Nintendo eShop downloads oregon cartridge purchases

All that said, it's hard to not fto the Switch OLED exemplary expanse you distant with its potential. Because, let's look it, you bargain into Nintendo to present its first-party games to your fingertips. And Nintendo has made and continues to marque immoderate of the precise champion games ever.

Nintendo

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That, supra each else, is what sells the Switch series. Whether you privation to bargain the OLED exemplary for optimum on-the-go potential, oregon prevention a small spot of currency and usage an archetypal Switch chiefly for TV-based use, there's a full assortment of prime games connected offer. 

Every clip a AAA rubric graces our offices it seems to succeed: from Zelda Breath of the Wild delivering our favourite ever Link adventure; to Super Mario Odyssey delivering charm and imaginativeness to 3D platforming fun; to Bowser's Fury delivering caller levels of creativity and madness; to Animal Crossing New Horizons' record-breaking popularity.

First Impressions

How you'll justice the Nintendo Switch OLED exemplary volition apt beryllium connected wherever you already beryllium wrong Switch-land: if you already ain the archetypal console and mostly usage it for TV-based play past there's nary request to bargain one; conversely if you privation the champion mobile acquisition past it's intelligibly steps up acknowledgment to the improved screen, but not a elephantine leap betterment from an upgraders' perspective.

The cynical space would accidental determination should beryllium much than 64GB of retention (despite that being treble the original; there's inactive a mSD paper slot connected board), Bluetooth audio connectivity (such a shame this lacks), little reflective bezel, much battery, much power, much everything - but that's a aboriginal Switch Pro, perhaps, not what the Switch OLED exemplary is each about. This console truly is arsenic elemental arsenic doing what it says connected the tin: delivering a amended surface acquisition for mobile play, on with a vastly improved kickstand for desktop play.

The affirmative angle, which is much our take, is that the Nintendo Switch line-up offers immoderate of the champion first-party games you tin buy. That is the implicit crushed to bargain a Switch - whichever of the 3 consoles that happens to beryllium - and wherefore Nintendo is, successful effect, unfaltering successful its ways. If you don't ain a Switch and person been pondering getting 1 for immoderate clip past - and it's kind-of evident - the OLED exemplary is the champion of the bunch. It's not a game-changing acquisition similar the archetypal was, but it's inactive the champion mobile console experience.

Also consider

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Nintendo Switch (original)

Want to play chiefly via a full-screen TV? You'll get the aforesaid acquisition successful that regard, but prevention immoderate cash.

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Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 2 August 2021.

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