The OLED Nintendo Switch Is Fantastic But Do You Really Need It?

Technically Superior To The Old Model

Ever since the Switch was first released, people have been speculating about upgrades. Sony and Microsoft have been pushing for 4K and 60 fps for years. Surely Nintendo would follow suit, right? Nope! Now that the OLED Model has arrived, it’s more clear than ever before that Nintendo is fully out of the power game.

Let’s not mince words, however: This is the best version of the Nintendo Switch on the market right now. Even with 4K off the table, this is a crisp, clean, portable console. More importantly, is this objectively superior Switch right for you?

Colors So Crisp They’ll Cut You

I’m squarely in the middle of the road when it comes to visual fidelity. The 4K60 experience is incredible, but it’s not mission critical for playing games by any means. That said, I was very impressed by the OLED display. You don’t realize how sharp those colors are until you go from docked to handheld. It defies description! That little OLED screen looks so good it’s got me thinking about upgrading my TV. The larger screen is nice, but it’s not nearly as noticeable as the color quality. Maybe it’s just my experience as a portable gaming person, but I’ve never been all that hung up on screen size. Although when you’re playing with the stand-in use, that extra screen real estate suddenly becomes relevant. 

nintendo switch oled public display

The stand is one of several small improvements that make a big difference. That wider kickstand makes portable play a lot more viable and flexible. Between the bigger screen and the better stand, portable multiplayer feels a lot less painful. The Joy-Cons feel pretty familiar, though the paint job has this textured feel I appreciate. There’s also a LAN port in the dock! If you do a lot of online gaming on the Switch, a wired ethernet connection is a big selling feature. Finally, the actual console port in the dock has been given a slight upgrade. The actual material where the switch clicks into place has changed. Maybe for the better? I’m running off pure conjecture here.

All of these changes are mostly cosmetic, however. The guts of this machine, all the under-the-hood stuff, is identical to the original Switch. The upside is that the whole games library retains its viability between the two systems. The downside is that I’m not certain who the target demographic is for the OLED Model. If you’re looking to buy your first Switch, this is the obvious choice. It’s a bit more pricy but very worth it. On the other hand, it’s harder to justify as an upgrade from your current Switch situation. For a player that primarily goes portable, that OLED screen is a real game-changer. But if you’re more of a docked player, that one major upgrade is more or less nullified.

Perfect For The Portable Crowd

Based on the changes made for the OLED Model, it seems like Nintendo is pushing for more viable portable play. If that’s where your own play habits lie, great! Buying this system makes a lot of sense. The sharp colors, the bigger screen, and the upgraded stand all make a great case for the console. On the other hand, if you’d rather use an actual television and a proper controller, there’s almost nothing for you. The LAN port will make online gaming more reliable, but everything else is geared towards portable players. If you’re shopping for your first Switch, buying the OLED Model is the easy, obvious choice. If you’re thinking of an upgrade, you’ve got some more nuanced factors to consider.

***Writeup based on retail model provided by manufacturer***