The Nintendo Switch OLED, which brings Nintendo’s famous console a more prominent, bolder screen, appears, at first sight, to be a lovely but unnecessary addition. But now that we have one, we’re using every second of spare time to play games on it, and we’re not convinced we can return to the original Switch.
As the only Switch model with a magnificent 7-inch portable display and some sensible design tweaks that make the system more comfortable and adaptable, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the best option for first-time Switch owners. What about those who already have a Switch or Switch Lite, though? After countless hours with Nintendo’s new hardware, here are our impressions.
If you’re looking for the largest and most vibrant display in Nintendo’s console lineup, the Nintendo Switch OLED, which retails for $349, is the way to go.
The Nintendo Switch OLED, as the name would imply, features a 7-inch OLED panel that dramatically improves the visual quality of games, whether used in either handheld or desktop mode. A better kickstand and dock with an integrated Ethernet port make for more stable online play.
Compared to the 6.2-inch Nintendo Switch and the 5.5-inch Switch Lite, which both use less vivid LCDs, the Switch OLED’s 7-inch OLED screen is the largest and best in the Switch family. Additionally, it includes 64 gigabytes of internal storage, which is twice as much as the storage capacity of other Switch consoles. On the other hand, the OLED model has the same CPU and screen resolution as its predecessors, so gaming won’t be any smoother or clearer. The $199 Nintendo Switch Lite, just a handheld, is a beautiful choice if you’re okay without OLED and want the least expensive and most transportable sibling of the Switch family.
The new OLED display on the Nintendo Switch is significantly improved over the previous edition. With the new system, the screen size jumps from 6.2 inches to 7 inches, but the console’s overall dimensions remain relatively unchanged, making for a more detailed and immersive experience. However, before we get to that, let’s discuss OLED.
For those unfamiliar, OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and is a type of display technology that aims to provide more vibrant colors, higher brightness, and more excellent contrast than traditional LCD screens. Additionally, the Switch OLED screen adds a noticeable layer of visual pop that makes some of the greatest Switch games look even better compared to what we’ve observed on our beloved TVs and laptops.
After powering on the Switch OLED and comparing it to a standard Switch, we instantly saw a significant improvement. The home screen of Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, is aesthetically pleasing thanks to a darker gray background, more oversized typography, and a series of colorful game icons that practically demand you to play them.
With the Switch’s OLED, nearly every game improved in visual quality, but a few stood above the others. While racing and gunning during Metroid Dread, we occasionally paused to admire the game’s beautiful, melancholy sci-fi backdrops and the exceptionally vibrant reds and blues on Samus’ outfit. The hand-drawn fantasy landscapes of Hades, a game we’ve spent dozens of hours with across several platforms, appeared more vibrant than they ever had before, and the sea of dazzling neon lights shined out of the screen as we drove through a crowded metropolis in Cruis’n Blast.
Tetris Effect Connected, a psychedelic version of the famous puzzle game that keeps throwing you off with striking new visual themes, was the only title that demonstrated the Switch OLED’s capabilities. On the Nintendo Switch’s screen, the vibrantly animated puzzle blocks stood out brilliantly against the dark backdrops, creating an immersive experience that made it difficult to tear our gaze away from this beautiful game.
The new Switch’s screen is fantastic not only because of the OLED upgrade but also because of the larger 7-inch canvas. Getting lost in a mystical Tetris Effect level or keeping track of hordes of hellish foes in Hades was considerably less of a chore thanks to the larger screen real estate and thinner bezels.
When we returned to our previous Switch console after spending significant time with the OLED display, the older panel appeared much smaller and less vibrant than before. The OLED model features the exact 720p display resolution as the Switch and Switch Lite, so games won’t seem sharper or more detailed. However, the larger screen size and exquisite color quality will make it difficult to return to the standard Switch or Switch Lite.
The Nintendo Switch OLED isn’t only more flashy because of its new OLED screen; it’s also slimmer and more flexible. The top vents for the fan are smaller and less obtrusive, while the volume and power buttons are more prominent and easier to distinguish from one another.
The matte coating covers the entire tablet section of the console, making it easier to hold and less likely to show fingerprints (trust me, you don’t want to see the back of my original Switch). However, the most notable improvement to the Switch OLED’s physical appearance is the significant enhancements made to its kickstand.
Nintendo redesigned the Switch with a new flexible kickstand that spans the whole rear of the system to replace the old kickstand, which was about an inch wide and frequently broke. The new stand for the Switch is not only more stable than its predecessor, but it also lets you adjust the viewing angle to your liking.
Despite Nintendo’s claims of “improved audio,” we didn’t notice a substantial improvement in loudness or sound quality relative to our old Switch, and that’s while playing games like Metroid Dread and Tetris Effect, which both include excellent sound design. Even so, you can achieve the best sound quality by connecting your Bluetooth headphones.
The Switch OLED doubles the amount of storage available on the console, from 32GB to 64GB, providing you twice as much room to save data and media. Despite the improvement, we still ran out of space on our Switch after downloading eight games, so we suggest that everyone who buys a Switch acquire a microSD card with at least 128GB of storage.
The new white Joy-Cons that came with the review unit are fascinating. Although they serve the same purpose as the Switch’s original Joy-Cons, the OLED version’s bezel-less display and polished design elevate it from toy to cutting-edge electronic device status.
Even though the Switch OLED has one of the most extended battery lives in the Switch series, you should still keep a portable charger on hand if you want to play taxing titles like Breath of the Wild for extended periods of time.
To test Nintendo’s new console’s longevity, we engaged in an infinite eight-character combat in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the brightness set to maximum and all items activated. Compared to the Nintendo Switch Lite (3:50) and the original Nintendo Switch (2:45), the Switch OLED lasted for 4 hours and 16 minutes, which is good but not as good as the 4 hours 50 minutes we achieved on the updated Nintendo Switch model in 2019.
Our OLED-equipped Switch had a battery life slightly shorter than the 2019 Switch’s official value of 4.5 to 9 hours. Battery life seems shorter on some OLED gadgets compared to their non-OLED counterparts. If you’re switching from a debut Switch, you’ll notice a significant increase in battery life, while those upgrading from a Switch Lite will see more modest gains.
Thanks to the system’s redesigned dock, you can play your Nintendo Switch OLED games on your TV while charging. The new Switch dock won’t improve your games’ visuals or performance, but it is sleeker than the old one, has some handy tweaks, and looks especially gorgeous in white.
Rather than purchasing an additional adapter, you can now use a LAN internet connection on your new dock for quicker downloads and more stable online gaming. As someone who often engages in online multiplayer competition, this is a welcome improvement; nevertheless, it comes at the expense of the extra USB port featured on the original Switch dock. The new dock only has two USB connections instead of three, which may not be a big concern for most gamers but is worth noting if you have a lot of third-party devices (like gamepads and headphones).
The dock’s back panel can now be removed entirely, rather than being held by a hinge; this makes reaching the different ports in the back slightly easier but introduces a new, potentially misplaced component. Even after the redesign, we still had trouble reaching the rear ports for the power, HDMI, and Ethernet connections.
Additionally, the Switch OLED dock is larger — arguably too large — when it comes to docking the console. The Switch wobbles a little while docked, and while this extra space may protect the screen from scratches, it also makes us a little concerned about its longevity.
Despite specific improvements to the docking mechanism, playing a game on your TV with the Switch OLED is identical to the experience you had with the previous system. The same CPU powers the system as always, and there are no significant performance changes; games will still play at 1080p on TV, and there will be no noticeable benefits to things like texture load times or frame rates. Our hope that Nintendo will release a Switch console with a game loading speed comparable to that of the Xbox Series S or PlayStation 5 still needs to be fulfilled.
The OLED version of Nintendo’s latest system, the Switch, is the best yet, thanks to its gorgeous screen, an excellent kickstand for tabletop gaming, and stylish dock for connecting to a television. This Nintendo Switch model is the best option for those who do not already own a Switch.
What about everyone else? The Switch OLED is unnecessary if you already have a regular Switch and play games mainly on a TV. You shouldn’t anticipate better visuals or quicker load times because its core performance is similar to that of older consoles. Users that switch between handheld and desktop modes frequently will benefit from the improved screen, the kickstand, and the increased battery life (compared to the original Nintendo Switch).
The price tag may be too much for some, but as Switch users that play most of their games in handheld mode, we find it difficult to go back to the standard LCD screen.
For those of you who are planning to make the upgrade to OLED, consider trading in your current Switch to offset the cost.
It’s also important to note that the Nintendo Switch OLED is now quite difficult to obtain; if you want to buy one, you’ll need to keep checking your preferred retailers regularly, just like those looking for PS5 and Xbox Series X restocks. It’s not easy to find, but if you’re buying a Switch for the first time or are prepared to upgrade to have the finest display on a Nintendo console ever – it’s time well spent.
Nexym's editorial team handpicks all of the products and services it recommends, regardless of external influences. Affiliate links appear in some of our stories. We may receive an affiliate commission if you purchase something through one of these links, which helps us stay independent and support our great team.