Nintendo has been known to do many revisions of their systems in the past, especially their handhelds; and the switch is no different. There has been multiple Nintendo Switch consoles that released since the launch of the system in March 2017:
a) First was the original launch model from March 2017. Personally I have owned one of these since I could get my hands on one in July 2017.
b) Secondly there was the better battery life model (V2) which replaced the original model in August 2019.
c) Third release that they did was the Nintendo Switch Lite which is a handheld mode only in September 2019.
d) Most recently, they came out with the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Switch Family

At first, there wasn’t a large amount of games for the system since nothing was backwards compatible with the Switch but over the course of almost 5 years, there has been a large library. Lots of WII U ports have come over sure, but there has also been a huge amount of amazing games designed for the system. The library is rather large and it has games that span an extremely wide audience. There are even some IPs that have been dormant and basically left alone for the longest time that have come back and have been doing really well. Personally I have been happy with the balance of older IPs and newer ones that are getting newer gameplay styles.

The OLED switch has no changes when it comes to the output resolution or the framerate of games from what I have been able to see, both in docked mode and portable mode. This is because the chipset isn’t upgraded at all; this is not a “Switch Pro”. Maybe there is some changes internally but I don’t take apart my systems so I don’t know. Not to say that the system has no upgrades, as it clearly does since Nintendo is charging $349.99 MSRP for the OLED compared to the regular Switch’s systems MSRP of $299.99. I got my OLED switch on Wednesday, Oct 13 after some delays from Target and I have definitely noticed many changes throughout my first few days.

There are a lot of small upgrades overall with the design of the dock and the system itself. One of these smaller upgrades in my opinion, is the back of the system has a little bit more of a grip with a texture and it feels great in portable mode. One of the other smaller upgrades that I have noticed is on the dock is the fact that it now has a lan adapter spot. Personally, I don’t use a ethernet connection for my consoles due to issues with spacing but it’s nice for those who do. The dock color and joy con colors are now all white which matches some of the other consoles that have come out recently, the PS5 and Xbox Series S, and whether this was intentional or not, I love the fact that my PS5 and Switch match. Yes, I got the OLED White Model; there is also a Neon model. There are a few more smaller changes including a bigger storage space for anything that you need to install on it, 64GB. Personally, I never had an issue with space before since I have been using a 256GB card. Besides these smaller upgrades, there are bigger ones than this.

One of the major differences is the kickstand. The kickstand on the regular Switch is just not good at all and the system can fall over fairly easy. The kickstand is adjustable between many viewing angles and also stretches out across the whole tablet instead of a small piece. Personally I love it since I can angle it in many different ways and just the view for what I need. Second of the other major upgrades that I have noticed when playing it in handheld mode, is the sound quality. The sound feels louder as a whole but also the quality of the sound is also more clear than it use to be. Maybe that’s just my ears listening or my old systems speakers going, but it is great. The third major thing for me personally is the battery. I don’t know if the battery is different between the newer model and the OLED, I don’t think it is, but the battery has definitely changed between my original model and the OLED. I love the upgraded battery life because I don’t have to dock it after 2.5 hours like I had to before. These are three major upgrades, but it isn’t the best thing about it.

The final and the big game changer when it comes to portable play, is the OLED screen the system is named after. The OLED screen makes all of the different colors pop out at you and also at the same time having the blacks become much, much darker than the original switch. The OLED screen is actually making me want to play the system portably a lot more than I use to and that was something that I wasn’t sure if it would be able to do; but it has. Basically, I have only played Metroid Dread in portable mode for most of the game because of the OLED screen. The colors are vibrant and really show when you do a side by side comparison to the original system. I don’t know if every game will look better, but there has been a lot that has for me.

Pictures of the OLED Screen Don’t Do It Justice. Images Directly from Switch Also Doesn’t Show How Crisp it is in Person.

Upgrading consoles is something that a lot of people have been accustomed to do for a long time. From the PS4 to the PS4 Pro and Xbox One to Xbox One X and loads of DS and 3DS small upgrades in the past, there are many times all these companies will want you to upgrade and spend more of your money. All of the games that are currently running on the normal Switch will also run on the OLED. I believe that all future games will run across both versions of the systems since they both are very similar, just have a different screen. Should I wait for a better graphics system and not get the OLED? Do I think that a more powerful switch is in the cards? Honestly, I don’t know.

Development studios and teams all over the world are working around the clock to deliver so many games to people on the last generation of consoles (PS4/XBO) and also the current generation of consoles (PS5/XBX/XBS). I think there may be a point when a lot of games will miss out on native versions of the Nintendo Switch. One of the things that could happen is a native port for the system will come much later down the road. This has occurred multiple times with Activision, Bandai Namco, and many more. This could also be that the studios want you to double dip on games, I don’t know which to believe.

The second thing that could happen is these more powerful games could come to the switch via Cloud Gaming. Control, A Plague’s Tale, and Hitman 3 are just a couple of games that are streamed through the cloud currently with more coming in the future. Sometimes games may not be able to be optimized enough, or in other situations, studios are just not wanting to take the time to port them natively. Cloud gaming in my personal opinion doesn’t belong on the platform since you have to be connected to the internet to play the games so that takes away from the “play anywhere” mentality of the system.

Lastly, do I recommend getting a Nintendo Switch OLED? Well it depends on what you honestly want from an upgrade. If you want better graphics, this is not it. If you want to get a better docked experience, it probably isn’t worth it. If you want to get a better experience playing the system portably, it’s a no brainer. If it is your first switch, again it is absolutely worth it. Really it all comes down to how you plan on playing the system.

For me, before it was about 90% docked and only about 10% portable. Now, only after a few days; that gap has decreased dramatically and its closer to a 70/30 and I feel like it might get even closer to 50/50 over time. The portable playing of the switch now is really improved thanks to the better battery, the new OLED screen, the improved sound, and the adjustable stand. Overall, if you plan on upgrading, I would get it as soon as possible since this might be a hot seller over the upcoming holidays and it might also be an item with chip issues like the new consoles for PlayStation and Xbox. Also, if you don’t need the other switch, you could always sell the original to reduce the overall cost, as I personally spent less than $80 for the OLED after I sold my original. Purchasing games and consoles all depend on what the player wants and the needs for each.

3 thoughts on “Nintendo Switch OLED Thoughts: Game Changer?”

  1. A couple people were upset that the Nintendo Switch OLED had a slightly smaller heat sink, ventilation system and cooling fan. Well I have a theory for that! Not only is it basically using the exact same hardware specs as the other switch models, it’s also using a more efficient screen technology that’s not only consuming less energy, it’s generating far less heat! So there’s no need to spend much more on an upgraded bigger cooling system if you think about it.

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