Nintendo Switch OLED review
The Switch has been a monumental hit for Nintendo with over 89 million consoles shipped to customers worldwide. And now, the gaming giant is hoping it can boost those sales figures even further with the launch of a new iteration of the portable-cum-home console called the Switch OLED. As the name reveals, this device arrives with a gorgeous OLED display, which offers a sizable upgrade over the previous console (and portable-only Switch Lite) which only features an LCD display.
Nintendo Switch OLED review
But is this new screen enough to warrant splashing the cash and upgrading to this more expensive Nintendo console? We’ve been playing on both of these devices and here’s our verdict…
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – THE SCREEN
There’s no denying that the new Switch OLED offers a big upgrade over the standard model. The new display is not only brighter, but it’s also bigger – so you’ve got more room to play your favourite games.
The original Switch includes a six-inch LCD screen but things are boosted to a bigger seven-inch panel on this new model. We’ve used both of these consoles side-by-side and there really is no comparison.
The new OLED version is streets ahead with that larger viewing area, rich blacks and punchy colours offering a far more immersive experience.
There’s nothing wrong with the original and it’s still a great device, but once you’ve tried the OLED model you really won’t want to go back.
One thing that is worth noting is that Nintendo hasn’t upped the refresh rate on this upgrade with things still stuck at 60Hz. Most modern phones, including the latest iPhone 13, have all now moved over 120Hz technology which offers silky-smooth graphics and it’s a shame the Switch OLED hasn’t followed this lead.
This 120Hz technology is also a big selling point of the new Xbox and PS5 too.
Nintendo Switch OLED has an improved kickstand
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – THE DESIGN
Nintendo hasn’t tinkered too much with the design of the new Switch, but that’s no bad thing as the original has stood the test of time. What the gaming firm has done with this new model is to make some minor adjustments that all add up to make a big difference.
The biggest upgrade is the improved kickstand, which now makes the Switch more sturdy when playing on a table-top. It can be adjusted to any angle, so you can always avoid reflections on the screen as you play on a plane, train, or outside. The new kickstand, which now runs the length of the console, is a huge improvement over the original Switch, which has a pretty flimsy piece of plastic that pops out of the rear case.
Some other things you’ll notice is a slightly larger power button on the top and the volume rocker has also been expanded to make it easier to pump up the tunes.
Other than that, things are pretty much the same with a USB-C charging port on the base, all the buttons in the same place and the usual way to detach the Joy-Cons for some multi-player action.
The one downside of this new model is that it is a tiny bit heavier than the original, weighing in at just over 420 grams compared to 400 grams.
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – AUDIO & STORAGE
As well as the screen getting a boost, there are also some better speakers tucked inside the OLED model which definitely sound better. They won’t exactly blow your mind with surround sound but it’s a nice improvement that boosts what is on the screen.
What’s a more important upgrade is the amount of storage with Nintendo now giving OLED owners 64GB of internal memory rather than the measly 32GB found on the standard Switch. It’s a really important addition as you can now keep double the games on it without needing to buy a microSD card.
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – BATTERY LIFE
Despite that bigger and brighter display, Nintendo has still managed to keep battery life at the same level as the second-generation Switch. That means you’ll have between 5 and 8 hours of playtime depending on what you’re doing and how bright you set that shiny new OLED screen.
The Switch has never had world-class battery life, but it’s ample for a short-haul flight or daily commute to work on the train. And you’ll be able to use the same USB-C charger that works with your phone, tablet, or laptop to top-up the battery on-the-move. It also works with external battery packs if you’re going to be away from a plug for a long time.
Nintendo Switch OLED model announcement trailer
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – THE PROCESSOR
One thing that many were expecting on this new device was a faster processor to help boost performance, but you won’t find any changes under the hood. Nintendo is still using the same CPU to power its consoles and there’s also the same amount of RAM. To be honest, the games all load quickly and there’s not a hint of a stutter when playing titles such as FIFA 22 or Metroid Dread.
Just don’t expect to see blisteringly quick performance or any pixel-packed new 4K graphics when playing on this new machine as it’s identical to its predecessor.
Although that chip hasn’t changed, there is one that will speed up a night of online action with the OLED dock now getting the option to plug an ethernet cable into it. That means you can play without worrying about your Wi-Fi letting you down.
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – THE PRICE
There’s no hiding the fact that the OLED model is going to set you back considerably more. The standard Switch on its own costs £269.99 with a game bundle costing £289.99. If you opt for the OLED version it will cost you at least £309 – that’s without any games. Start adding Mario Kart or Metroid Dread and you’ll end up with a bill of over £340.
The Switch OLED gets a bigger 7-inch screen
SWITCH v SWITCH OLED – THE VERDICT
The original Switch was an absolute masterstroke from Nintendo – it’s no wonder they’ve shipped millions of them across the planet. Despite being four years old, this is still a fabulously flexible gaming device and one we can highly recommend.
The question is, has Nintendo done enough to warrant the extra asking price of the new OLED model?
There’s no question that the new screen makes a massive difference and if you want the very best gaming experience it’s well worth investing in. The updated kickstand is also better and we really prefer the optional new white Joy-Cons, the audio is also noticeable better and despite all this extra tech Nintendo has managed to keep battery life at a solid 5-6 hours.
It’s a shame there’s no boost to the performance and we’d have loved to have seen more RAM and a faster refresh rate on that stunning display.
Whichever model you choose you’re going love it, but if money is no issue and you want some glorious gaming then the Switch OLED has to be our top choice.