The Nintendo Switch OLED review isn’t just a pure copy of the very first Nintendo Switch review, but the title said it all, you can just buy it without reading this review. For doubtful people, however, I recommend to read the comprehensive review without skipping, because I need sentences to explain my reasoning.
I also have used other models in the Nintendo Switch family, so you can read the review of your exact Switch model:
When I listed Nintendo Switch as one of the best handheld gaming consoles, I honestly thought of the OLED model, because it’s truly the ultimate form that you want from the top-selling gaming console in the world. With an attractive display and design, the Nintendo Switch OLED is a must-have system for anyone who loves gaming.
The Nintendo Switch OLED is supposed to be the mid-life upgrade of the standard Nintendo Switch, the same as what they did with the Nintendo 3DS XL or Nintendo DSi in the past. The latest game console will provide better gaming experience, mainly from hardware upgrade. As the Nintendo Switch OLED is only sold for two years in the whole 6-year span of the product, could it be the hint for a Nintendo Switch 2 next year?
Nintendo Switch OLED Review: Price
- MSRP: $349
- Limited editions normally have the same price
The Nintendo Switch OLED costs officially $50 higher than the standard model, which is a very competitive price to consider buying. If only I was late to the Nintendo Switch party, I will end up buying a Nintendo Switch OLED. $50 for better design and OLED screen seems to be worth my money.
With better sales each year and the fact that Nintendo only sells limited editions for OLED models, it is safe to conclude that the company slowly ends the production of other models in favor of this OLED version. Even on common marketplaces, I found the standard Nintendo Switch to have the same price as the OLED model, and I believe that Nintendo wants us to get the latest Nintendo Switch.
It’s not a problem for many people, because the increase in the price is very well-spent. However, people owning the standard Nintendo Switch (like me), should think twice before upgrading, and I will try to explain more later.
With a total of 125 million sales, the Nintendo Switch will continue to be the most popular handheld gaming console, especially when it offers OLED screens, which is the trending display after Apple added into their iPhone X. Given than few companies are willing to use OLED screens for their handheld devices, the Nintendo Switch OLED is really special.
The Nintendo Switch OLED is more popular than others because of its price, too. Common handheld gaming PCs at the moment can go up to $1200, and that is even higher than some gaming laptops. That would cost you 2 to 3 times what you paid for the Nintendo Switch OLED, and really, it is mostly because handheld PC gaming is still premature. It could change somehow in the future, still at the moment the Nintendo Switch is all I would need for my handheld gaming experience.
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Nintendo Switch OLED Review: Design and Build Quality
|Nintendo Switch OLED||Features|
|Dimensions||102 mm x 242 mm x 13.9 mm|
|Weight||420 grams (with Joy-Cons)|
|Screen||7 inch OLED, 1280 x 720, 210 PPI, 16:9 aspect ratio|
|Colors||Neon Blue/Red, other limited editions|
|Speaker placement||Front facing, bottom|
|Storage||Internal 64 GB, External microSD|
|Audio output||3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI (5.1 channel linear PCM)|
|Video output||HDMI (in TV mode, up to 1920 x 1080)|
- A bit bigger, however, it is more premium with metal body
- Still portable
- OLED screen is a lot better display, together with the ‘infinity’ screen
- New stand, more sophisticated design
- Dock design is also better (not relevant to handheld gaming)
- Back up with lots of accessories
- Build quality is better
Knowing that the Nintendo Switch is mostly used in handheld mode than docked use, a better display that represents handheld gaming experience is truly necessary. So, while there is no internal upgrade, the Nintendo Switch OLED is widely accepted, tying to great titles like Pokemon Violet and Scarlet and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Instead of using plastic body like the standard Nintendo Switch, the newer Nintendo Switch OLED makes use of a magnesium alloy body, which feels better in hand. The whole gaming console is more premium, but it weighs a bit more at 420 grams. You will think that 20 grams won’t make a difference, but back to the day of the Nintendo 3DS XL, I remembered many people complaining that it weighs 20 grams more than the previous Nintendo DSi XL. For me, even when I wield the standard Nintendo Switch for countless hours, I don’t immediately tell the difference in weights between these devices.
The immediate thing I can realize is the screen. Obviously, it is the OLED model, so display should be the main selling point. And it is, because one you get acquainted with the OLED screen, you will forget the old IPS screen. It is a lot more than how I care about IPS vs TN screen on the New Nintendo 3DS.
For people who don’t have time to buy 2 products and compare them side-by-side, the OLED screen has better image quality, thanks to greater contrast ratio, higher brightness, and wider viewing angle. The colors aren’t washed out from any direction and viewing angle, and with better contrast and brightness, you feel the picture is more vivid, and more beautiful.
You may be concerned about the short lifespan of the OLED screen, just like the PlayStation Vita in the past. While I don’t own a Nintendo Switch OLED myself, I have a PlayStation Vita 1000 with OLED screen, and I believe that the better experience is still worth the risk. To avoid the ominous OLED burn, you should keep the brightness less than 50% (which also prolong the battery life) and avoid playing under direct sunlight or moisture atmosphere. And technology keeps getting better, so expect a better screen from the Nintendo Switch OLED than, said, the PlayStation Vita from 2011.
There is a slightly different in dimensions of the Nintendo Switch OLED, making it a bit bigger than the standard one. Also, by extending the screen from 6.2 inch to 7 inch, with less bars from all edges, the Nintendo Switch OLED shares more details to my eyes, and it tricks me into thinking it is better. Sounds a lot like the world of mobile phones at the moment.
But the size increases only in width for the bigger screen, while remains the same in other dimensions. As a result, the Nintendo Switch OLED is still the most comfortable handheld gaming console to use in modern days, when comparing to current handheld gaming PC. It is also less than 450 grams, while the Steam Deck weighs like nearly 700 grams. I try to hit the gym every week, but if I have a choice, I would always prefer the size of this Nintendo Switch OLED.
So far, the design is truly what makes the whole gaming experience of the Nintendo Switch OLED a lot better than the previous standard ones. Clearly it doesn’t have the compact form of the Nintendo Switch Lite, but I think it would be difficult to overlook its beauty when put them side by side. Still, $150 difference is the true selling point of the Switch Lite, so don’t expect it would have the same hardware as the higher-end version of the family.
How about the uncertainty when attaching or detaching Joy-Cons from the standard Nintendo Switch? Sadly, the nature of the Joy-Con will not disappear when using the higher-end model. Perhaps, you should look for other Joy-Con alternatives for greater use. Again, it has been only 2 years since the OLED launched, so I don’t expect any Joy-Con out of rail anytime soon.
If you’re going to blind buy a newer Nintendo Switch, I advise buying the Nintendo Switch OLED, especially when you’re going to use it mainly on handheld mode. It is so much better than the other two Switch models, and the price is not really different from the standard Nintendo Switch. Yeah, the Nintendo Switch Lite is still a lot cheaper, but believe me, the bigger and more beautiful screen will make you regret sooner or later, unless you’re tight on budget.
It seems the latest limited editions of the Switch are ‘limited’ to OLED models only. The latest 4 limited editions are tied to OLED models, leading me to believe that the company is halting the production of the standard Nintendo Switch. Given the decrease in sales of the standard one, it isn’t a surprise. If you’re searching for a common Nintendo Switch review, it only results in the OLED model. Do you love limited Nintendo things? Thankfully you can buy them without any additional cost from the classic Neon Blue and Red version.
The internal storage will be double to 64 GB, however, if you’re going to store game mostly digital, you will find 32 or 64 GB storage doesn’t matter. Even when you’re buying game physically like me, most Switch games can’t fit in the 16-GB cartridge, and you still need to download a lot of game data. So, I recommend to read my handheld SD card guide to choose a necessary SD card for your Switch.
In general, I don’t discuss much about other uses than handheld mode, but because the Nintendo Switch’s nature is a hybrid gaming console, so writing a bit won’t hurt. Docked use is better with new design, allowing better air ventilation for the Nintendo Switch OLED. It is really necessary, as I see people looking for mini dock alternatives for better cooling. Moreover, in tabletop mode, the Nintendo Switch OLED has better stand, and the position of the SD card can reduce the risk of accidental removal.
One thing I notice when borrowing the Nintendo Switch OLED from my friend is its capability to connect with a standalone DAC, using the USB port. The 3.5 mm headphone jack can be plugged with a bookshelf speaker directly and it works, unlike my original Nintendo Switch v1. I guess that there are some differences in the newer Nintendo Switch OLED’s internal hardware that enable better audio connectivity.
For the build quality, I don’t have anything to complain with the standard Nintendo Switch, but the metal body gives me the feeling of better build quality. Of course, I don’t plan to drop test or abuse my handheld device, so build quality isn’t a concern of mine.
Nintendo Switch OLED Review: Gaming Experience
|Nintendo Switch OLED||Features|
|CPU||NVIDIA customized Tegra X1+ (ARM A57), 4 cores @ 1.02 GHz|
|GPU||256 Maxwell-based CUDA cores @ 307.2 MHz (768 MHz when docked)|
|Memory||4 GB LPDDR4 @ 1331/1600 MHz|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, LAN adapter (when docked)|
|Cooling system||Fan and ventilation|
- Targeted games: 1st party Nintendo games
- For people who want an all-in-one system
- Battery life is very good for a handheld
- Connectivity is quick and reliable
- No FPS drop due to overheating
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- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Pokemon Legend Arceus
- Pikmin 4
Sadly, even after 4 years of the first model, the higher-end Nintendo Switch OLED only packs with the same internal hardware with its other brothers. It is really different from what Nintendo previously did with their Nintendo DSi or New Nintendo 3DS, considering that it is a gap of 4 years.
Because of that, the same famous hardware limitations remain in the Nintendo Switch OLED, and I can understand the angry new user who can’t accept FPS drops in first party games. I tried both Breath of the Wild and Pikmin 4, and experience the same lags as my standard Nintendo Switch.
So this could be the best Nintendo Switch’s handheld experience, thanks to its beautiful display, but it doesn’t feel like a true mid-life upgrade. At this rate, I can’t keep up with any rumor regarding the next-gen Nintendo Switch 2. I don’t want to be forever running Pokemon Violet in such terrible graphics. But who am I to have a choice?
While there are so many older AAA titles being ported to the Nintendo Switch, and I must say developers are doing such a great work optimizing graphics for a flawless gameplay experience, I can’t deny that it can’t be compared to, said, the famous Steam Deck. It is the same with comparing the same game from Nintendo 3DS with PlayStation Vita in the past. Anyway, performance aside, I still choose playing Nier Automata on a Nintendo Switch.
However, the success of the Nintendo Switch mostly ties to its game library, not the hardware. As long as Nintendo makes best-selling titles, we can expect next-gen hardware to sell well.
Related post: Best handheld gaming PC.
In terms of delivering great handheld gaming experience, the Nintendo Switch OLED could be the best in its family. It weighs a bit more than the standard model, but you will ignore the difference quickly. The one thing you will notice, believe me, is the display. And the Nintendo Switch OLED is currently one of the best handheld devices in terms of display, in my opinion.
Its horizontal form is also the design for great gaming experience, and with so many Joy-Con alternatives out there, you can swap and try the most comfortable and premium analog sticks for your Switch. And at its weight, you are far from making your arms fatigue when lying and playing.
Cooling system of the Nintendo Switch OLED is so awesome, as the device only draws out 4W for playing games. I know that it is impossible for current handheld gaming PCs to do such thing and running AAA titles, but hey, I can sacrifice a bit graphics for less weight and cooler system.
Nintendo advertised that the newer Nintendo Switch OLED has enhanced speakers for better audio quality. It sounds louder and clearer, which is unveiled by Nintendo engineers that it uses closed-type instead of open-type. It is something like closed-back vs open-back headphones, with closed-type is always punchier and more intimate.
I hate to repeat, but a great handheld needs great sleep mode. I don’t have time to play for many hours in one run, so a capable sleep mode that don’t disrupt when resuming is the most important feature. And the Nintendo Switch family is a great showcase of implementing sleep mode into handheld gaming experience.
Sadly, while being launched 4 years later, the Nintendo Switch OLED uses the same Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity as the original Nintendo Switch. So there is no use when connecting it to the latest wireless speakers that support Bluetooth 5.2.
Using the same internal hardware, the Nintendo Switch OLED uses the same battery of 4310 mAh, too. Depending on your settings, the Nintendo Switch OLED is capable of running up to 9 hours (on average, 5.5 hours), which is super impressive for a handheld. For most people who live adult lives, the battery life of the Nintendo Switch OLED can ensure days of gaming without charging. If the next-gen Switch is capable of running modern AAA titles, I wish it has the juice to last the same as the current Switch.
Though the Nintendo Switch OLED uses a very common USB type C charger port, you should use its official dock for charging. Like any device, the Nintendo Switch won’t overcharge, and it takes approximately 3 hours to fully charge from low battery.
While the Nintendo Switch OLED is supposed to be the higher-end revision, I suppose it would be the standard model soon. Perhaps when Nintendo successfully clear stock of the original Nintendo Switch. It happens in the past, when the company stopped producing more Old Nintendo 3DS to focus on selling the new ones.
So, when the day comes, people can only ask themselves that whether they can trade off features for $150 when comparing the Nintendo Switch OLED vs Lite. You will have access to docked use, which is primarily targeted to family games. Multiplayer and/or party games like Nintendo Switch Sports and Everybody 1-2 Switch are supposed to be played on docked mode, too. And don’t forget many advantages of the Switch OLED we discussed earlier like overall better image and audio quality.
At the moment, if you can choose a standard Nintendo Switch over this OLED model, perhaps because you can find the limited edition that the original Switch provides. Other than that, I don’t see any other reason to not buying the Nintendo Switch OLED.
- You want to use docked mode
- You want the best experience with Switch system
- You want to play 1st party Nintendo games in Switch
- You want to play retro Nintendo games (is updating)