Surprising as it might sound, the Switch could soon surpass the Wii in becoming Nintendo’s bestselling console of all-time. The Japanese gaming giant announced earlier this month that 98.7 million devices had flown off the shelves since it launched in 2017, just 10 million sales away from the Wii’s record and almost 80 million more than the Wii U. But that success has done little to stem speculation about an imminent successor.
For years now, analysts haven’t stopped jabbering on about a so-called ‘Pro’ model that’s seemingly always just around the corner. They say it will support 4k resolution, feature faster processors and hold beefier cartridges. But everyone knows that Nintendo’s handheld upgrades have always been more incremental than that, and instead we received news of a supped-up OLED model in the summer of 2021. It was released in early October and is, for now at least, back in stock – which means you should act fast if you want it in time for the holidays. But is it actually worth upgrading to the OLED model? We put it through its paces to find out.
(Oh, and the Switch Pro rumours will only continue to grow. In fact, Nintendo recently had to put out a denial that dev kits had been sent out to studios.)
Nintendo Switch OLED Review: Design
We like the monochrome colourway, which gives the console a premium look that feels targeted at older gamers. Ultimately, it’s more in sync with other modern tech that you might find dotted around your TV stand – or commuter train for that matter, if you’re self-conscious about playing a colourful console in public.
The Joy Cons are white and black, as is the subtly redesigned dock (which is curvier around the edges, features a smaller logo and introduces a LAN port), but the enlarged screen is the most significant upgrade. The bezels are far slimmer, resulting in a display that now stretches to 7-inches.
Elsewhere, the kickstand has been given a much-welcomed redesign. We were always mystified as to why the previous device relied on such a flimsy piece of plastic to prop itself up (it was also pretty awkward to unclip in the first place) but Nintendo has rectified the problem with a kickstand that stretches across the backside of the console. It feels much sturdier, safer and less tacked on – it’s also adjustable.
Beyond that, the changes are subtle. Elongated power and volume buttons, a new-look air vent, a redesigned SD slot. Nothing big, but enough to make the whole offering feel slicker and more premium.
Nintendo Switch OLED Review: Performance and Graphics
If you simply aren’t interested in upgrading to the new model, then it’s best that you avoid getting your hands on it. That’s because the vivid OLED display is a striking step up from the LCD screen that came before it, which feels truly dull in comparison. We’re not exaggerating when we say that your original Switch just won’t look right afterwards – as if someone has slipped a light grey filter over your console screen.
Technically the OLED has the same resolution as previous models – 720p in handheld mode and 1080p on the TV – but the difference hits you as soon as you turn it on. We played Metroid Dread (it’s a launch title of sorts) and the machine’s ability to conjure ‘perfect’ blacks and deeper hues provides the perfect contrast to the vivid colours of the game’s alien world. Dread feels tailor-made for the rich experience of the OLED.
Battery-wise, you’re looking at up to nine hours depending on the demands of the game you’re playing. That’s substantially more than the original console, but pretty similar to the upgrade that Nintendo released in 2019 (the Switch Lite holds approximately seven hours of juice). It also features 64GB of internal storage and upgraded audio, but annoyingly the Joy Cons remain unchanged – meaning that drift is still a dreaded possibility.
Nintendo Switch OLED: Verdict
You don’t need it, that much should be clear. It is still essentially the same console that plays the same games. But the OLED display is brilliant, and it makes a significant impact on the playing experience – in much the same way that the Gameboy Advance SP did almost two decades ago. If you primarily play your Switch on the go, then it’s well worth investing in an upgrade.
Nintendo Switch OLED Black Friday Deals
The day is here, but we've got some bad news: Nintendo Switch OLED Black Friday deals are hard to come by – understandable, considering the console hasn’t been out long – and the discounts that do exist aren’t massive. But every little helps, and there are a few out there. Here are our picks so far:
There are some good Nintendo Switch OLED Black Friday deals at Currys, but you should get in there fast. You’re looking at savings between £20 and £30 on OLED bundles, which generally feature games and memory cards. You can probably find better deals on the older consoles elsewhere, mind.
Very are offering ten per cent off the console and bundles, but it’s not currently in stock. You’ll have to pre-order. Better Black Friday deals exist on the OLED’s predecessors, its games and accessories.
Game, on the other hand, is offering a £5 voucher when you spend over £50. There are deals to be found, but not on the OLED. However, it is in stock at time of writing.
Nintendo itself has a pretty good Black Friday campaign going on. You can get £56.98 off on Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundles, up to 40% on accessories, and up to 50% on games. Then there’s the Cyber Deals, which run until 30 November.
Stock is disappearing fast in the build-up to Christmas, so we’d get in there fast if you see a deal pop up. We’ll be updating this page regularly to ensure you keep abreast of all the offers available.
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