Nintendo Switch OLED, the review of the new model with a larger display

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Aina Martin
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With entire markets plagued by semiconductor shortages and an ongoing freight crisis on a global scale, launching a new video game console as it approaches the holiday season is a ... um, interesting move. Wanted or not, Nintendo's decision to propose one Nintendo Switch review more conservative is perhaps the most sensible choice for the Japanese company. At the announcement last July, the console's reception was lukewarm as many hoped for the arrival of a model with hardware capable of ensuring better performance, perhaps capable of supporting a 4K resolution for their new TV. pat. A "Switch Pro", in short.



As per tradition, the Kyoto house, however, is rowing in the opposite direction to the public's forecasts, e Nintendo OLED Switch it's none of this. Released on October 8, at the recommended price of 349 €, Switch OLED is instead a revision of the original Switch model that corrects some of the most obvious design imperfections and wants to offer a better experience in portability with a wider OLED screen. bright and vibrant.

for Nintendo Switch OLED review we spent a few days with the console and we can say with conviction that yes, the step forward is there and you notice, but if the console is worth the purchase depends above all on your needs and gaming habits, and on the already have Switch or not.

The OLED screen

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild su Nintendo Switch OLED

Those who use Switch especially at home probably didn't feel the need for one new screen, yet using a panel with OLED technology is the main novelty of the new Nintendo console, to the point of defining its name. The black frame surrounding the screen of the original model has always been strangely pronounced, and perhaps the initial intention was to use the console as a tablet.



In reality, applications of this type have been extremely rare over the years, and Switch OLED thus reduces the size of the frame (however present) to allow you to play on a larger screen. Sure, we're not talking about a sharp leap as it did between the Nintendo DSi and the DSi XL, but even if the switch from the classic Switch's 6.2-inch to the 7-inch OLED model may seem like a minor increase after a while. 'of days gone by with the new console it takes a while to get used to the smaller size of the original model. Imagine then returning to the 5.5 inches of Switch Lite.

In the past few days we have compared the Switch OLED display with both the previous models of the Nintendo console, and with the OLED screen of the PlayStation Vita, and the difference between the various models is unmistakable. By turning off automatic brightness and turning it up to maximum, the Switch OLED has a noticeably brighter screen, to the point of being almost too bright when gaming indoors and under normal ambient lighting.

La higher screen brightness however, it allows you to enjoy the console better when playing outdoors. The problem is not completely solved, mind you. On particularly sunny days you will still struggle, looking for the best angle to avoid the many reflections on the screen, but side by side with the original model, the image on the Switch OLED is a little clearer and in general it is a step in the right direction. .


The brighter screen of the Nintendo Switch OLED makes the outdoor experience better

In addition to being brighter, the new display also allows for better contrasted images brighter colors. In Metroid Dread, the absolute black of the caves makes the setting even darker and makes lights and rivers of magma stand out more intensely. Games like Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are a carnival of vibrant, pulsating colors, while the green of the lawns in the remake of Zelda Link's Awakening has never looked so bright.


The result is partly due to the technology used, partly to an operating system option called "Console Screen Brightness", which is enabled by default in the system settings and is exclusive to Switch OLED. As the name suggests, the option changes the colorimetry and calibration of the OLED screen, tending to increase the vividness of colors, leading to a more vibrant image even at the cost of slightly altering the original rendering intended for different games.

When it comes to OLED screens, however, it is inevitable that the fear of a part of the community is linked to the risk of the so-called burn-in, a discoloration or persistence of an image in those areas of the display where static elements are shown for prolonged periods of time. The most "risky" elements are obviously icons and interface indicators that tend to remain visible on the screen even for long sessions, but burn-in is a problem whose impact on consoles will only be possible to verify in the coming months and after use. intensive.


The automatic brightness and the fact that the screen goes into sleep mode after a few minutes of inactivity are simple functions that should nevertheless help prevent or limit cases of burn-in.

Nintendo Switch OLED data sheet

Amazon Nintendo Switch Offer (OLED Model), White / Black

€349,99


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  • dimensions: 102mm x 242mm x 13,9mm (with Joy-Con connected
  • Weight: Approx.320 grams (420 grams with Joy-Con connected)
  • Screen: 7 inch capacitive OLED touchscreen
  • SoC: Nvidia Tegra Custom
  • System memory: 64GB (expandable via microSD up to 2TB)
  • Connectivity: WI-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
  • Video output: maximum resolution 1920 x 1080 in TV mode; 1280 x 720 in portable mode
  • Audio output: 5.1 Linear PCM via HDMI cable in TV mode
  • Speakers: stereo
  • USB port: USB Type-C to charge the console and connect it to the base
  • Audio dam: 3.5mm audio mini-jack
  • Battery life: from 4.5 to 9 hours depending on the games
  • Charging time: 3 hours (in rest mode)
  • Price: 349€

design

The Joy-Con of Nintendo Switch remain identical apart from the white color

The fact that Switch OLED is an "improved" version of the old model, and not a more evident evolutionary leap, can also be understood from the design which remains largely identical to that of the original console, except for some more or less small adjustments. The power and volume buttons have a different shape, are narrow and elongated, and the same goes for the ventilation grille. It is a more aesthetic than functional solution, which gives the impression of a more refined and "premium" device.

A more useful and welcome change is instead present on the back of the console, where Nintendo has fixed one of the more gross defects of the old model. While the original Switch version has a tiny kickstand that is unstable, awkward and impossible to adjust, the Switch OLED has a large stand which covers the full width of the screen, is rigid and can be adjusted to different angles without the risk of the console falling. In the lower part of the machine there are also two microscopic rubber feet that allow it not to slip and not to risk scratches at the base. There is no doubt: Nintendo Switch had to have a kickstand of this type from the first model.

The larger dimensions of the stand also have other indirect advantages: the slot for inserting the micro-SD is once again hidden behind the stand, but this time in a more comfortable horizontal position to reach; the barcode and markings are also hidden on the inside of the stand, thus leaving the back of the Switch cleaner and more elegant. Nonsense, but the eye also wants its part.

The Joy-Con: nothing new

The rear stand of Nintendo Switch OLED can be adjusted freely

If the heart of the Switch OLED has changed, no changes have been introduced for the i Joy-Con, which remain exactly identical to the previous ones, except for the coloring in the white model. This certainly to preserve compatibility between the various models, allowing those who bought more controllers to use them on the new console, but it also means that Nintendo will hardly be able to solve the age-old problem of analog drifting that has affected many owners of Switch in recent years. A curiosity concerns the "grip" of the Joy-Con to the console, since on the old Switch model the two controllers tended to do a bit of movement when hooked to the two side guides. We hoped that on the Switch OLED the Joy-Con would be able to hook more firmly to the console, but at least in our case we found the same very slight movement on the new model as well.

The new dock

There are minor changes in the volume and power buttons of the Nintendo Switch OLED

The launch of the Nintendo Switch OLED allowed Nintendo to review the design of the basis (or dock) that is used to connect the console to the TV. From a functional point of view, the only relevant novelty is the addition of an integrated LAN input, thus allowing you to connect an Ethernet cable to play online without the need to purchase an external adapter. The USB ports drop from three to two, but since one of the three USB inputs was almost certainly occupied by the Ethernet adapter, no one will really miss it.

Comparing the new base with the old one it can be seen that the space in which to insert the console is now slightly wider: consequently, when housed inside it, the Switch OLED seems a bit more shaky, but on the other hand there is less risk that the console can touch the walls inside and get scratched. For the rest, the changes are mainly aesthetic, with rounded corners, a color to match the new Joy-Con and a glossy black plastic on the inside.

The rear slot can be removed completely this time, which will take some getting used to for messy users. Finally, in the lower part, the small feet of the old model have been replaced by a rough surface, more elegant but which nevertheless does not do a great job in holding the base in place. Obviously Switch and Switch OLED are perfectly compatible with both bases, and it is therefore possible to use the different consoles in TV mode regardless of the dock in which they are inserted.

Accessories and compatibility

Taking up the form factor of the previous model, Switch OLED is compatible with many of the accessories produced in recent years for Switch. Joy-Con alternatives like the Hori Split Pad should work flawlessly, as well as we didn't struggle to put the machine back inside our old cases. However, there will be exceptions due to small differences with the original. The console is just three millimeters wider than the previous model, and that is enough to make many protective shells, accessories such as the Flip Grip or some games contained in the Nintendo Labo kits unusable. The advice is therefore to inform yourself well and be careful before buying an accessory not designed to be compatible with Switch OLED.

Hardware performance

The Nintendo Switch OLED packaging is much more compact

Since the announcement of Nintendo Switch OLED, the bone of contention among fans is certainly represented by console performance. The hardware of the new model remains almost unchanged from the previous one, and whether you play in TV mode, whether you do it in portability, you will not notice any improvement in terms of fluidity, resolution or loading times.

Games like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity continue to experience noticeable drops in framerate, while the maximum resolution is still 1080p when connected to a TV and 720p for portability. The internal memory is instead more capacious, going to 64 GB from the 32 GB of the old model: this means that there is more space for games, screenshots and gameplay videos, but those who are used to buying many games digitally will still need to expand the memory via a microSD.

A separate discussion also regarding the battery: Nintendo estimates that the autonomy of the Switch OLED is in line with that of the review of the Switch released in 2019, or between 4.5 and 9 hours depending on the game. It is a realistic estimate and most of the time we have not noticed big differences in the autonomy of the two models, but there are exceptions: since on the OLED displays the black pixels are actually off, games like Metroid Dread or Hollow Knight, which make extensive use of black for settings, menus and characters, tend to drain the battery more slowly. Not by much, mind you, but even just 30-40 minutes of extra gameplay can make a difference during a train ride.

The Switch OLED base has a built-in LAN input but one less USB port

The exact opposite happens if you turn off automatic brightness and push the lighting to the maximum: since the Switch OLED has a brighter screen than the old model, the console obviously tends to consume more and with a bright and demanding game like Breath of the Wild autonomy ends up being dried up in a time even less than the 4.5 hours estimated by Nintendo.

The front speakers are still positioned in the lower part of the screen, but now the grids are a little wider despite being less visible: compared to the old model the sound is a little clearer, with music, voices and sound effects that stand out better and do not get confused with each other. A minor factor for gamers wearing headphones or earphones, but a welcome improvement nonetheless.

Nintendo Switch OLED comes with a new HDMI 2.0 cable just barely longer

A little curiosity is instead linked to HDMI cable included in the Switch OLED package: unlike the one sold together with the original model, the new console comes together with a 2.0 High Speed ​​cable, which Nintendo itself also confirmed during our tests. At the time of writing this review, theories are already circulating online that lead the cable change to the possibility, in the future, of enjoying content in 4K, but at present it is only speculation without great foundation. As for the length, the two cables are almost identical, with the 2.0 one just a few centimeters longer than the old one.

Comment

Price 349 € Buy it here

A week spent in the company of Nintendo Switch OLED only confirmed the initial impressions. This is not as clear a leap forward as some Nintendo handheld consoles were in the past, and probably many of the current Switch owners will prefer to save and wait for the Japanese company's next hardware. Those who use Switch almost always in TV mode have no compelling reason to switch to the new model, but if you play often in portability, things change. Maybe you have the very first version of Switch - the one from 2017, which had shorter battery life - or maybe you just want the best gaming experience in portability. There is no doubt that Switch OLED represents today the ideal model, better refined and more versatile for those who have not yet purchased the Nintendo console, but to see a clear step forward in the Switch family there is still some patience.

PRO

  • Larger, brighter and brighter OLED screen
  • Cleaner speaker sound
  • A rear stand finally usable
AGAINST
  • There is no improvement in TV mode
  • The same Joy-Con, for better or for worse
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