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Nintendo Switch OLED Model review: The one to beat

Whether you like gaming on big TVs or gaming while in bed, the Nintendo Switch OLED Model is functional no matter where you take it. The new OLED screen makes it a must-have for new Nintendo Switch gamers.
josh-slate
Written by Josh Slate on
Pros
  • New OLED screen makes portable gaming fantastic
  • Produces true black
  • Upgraded kickstand on back
  • Ethernet port built-in to dock
Cons
  • No noticeable differences from last model when in TV mode
  • Doesn't include directions on how to set up

The Nintendo Switch OLED Model features a much-needed upgrade on the screen, but the other features it offers don't necessarily set it too much farther ahead of the prior previous generations of the Switch -- at least for a casual gamer. For avid Nintendo Switch players, this unit contains storage, display, and kickstand upgrades which make it a great purchase.

This model currently sells for $350 at most retailers -- $50 more than the version before. The Nintendo Switch OLED Model was named the best gaming console for families in our best gaming console best list, but is the product really worth it for a more serious gamer? Well, that's what I wanted to find out and I was quite impressed with this console.  

Specifications

Here is how the Nintendo Switch OLED Model compares to the previous model.



Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch

Dimensions (with Joy-Cons)

4.02 x 9.53 x .55 inches

4.02 x 9.41 x .55 inches

Screen Size

7-inch OLED

6.2-inch LCD

Screen Resolution

1080p (TV), 720p (handheld)

1080p (TV), 720p (handheld)

Storage

64GB

32GB

Processor

Custom Nvidia Tegra X1

Custom Nvidia Tegra X1


By looking at these specs, you can tell there are only two main differences that set this console apart from the previous generation the storage and the screen. That being said, this isn't a next-generation console to compete with the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X. This is simply an upgraded version of the previous Switch console.

What's in the box?

Inside the bright red box are even brighter components. You see the two Joy-Cons right away with the screen sitting on the same level. Located below the most important pieces are the AC adapter, HDMI cord, charging dock, Joy-Con wrist straps, and the controller.

The lack of instructions, or paper documents in the box was quite different from what I'm used to. Would I have used the instructions? Probably not. But having them in the box for people who aren't tech-savvy would be nice.

Design

The design of this unit is pretty much identical to what we have seen in the past; but, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Nintendo Switch is staying consistent with what it is meant to be -- a console made for everyone. This product reminds me of an old PSP, or a modern-day DS. 

Let's talk about the biggest thing this console offers. The new 7-inch OLED screen is incredible. A big thing most screens can't do is produce a true black. This screen can produce a perfect black while generating higher contrast and more vivid colors than the older LCD screen. The one downside to the screen is the fact it still can't reach 1080p unless in TV mode. Nonetheless, the graphics are incredibly clear.

On the unit itself, you will notice a power button along with volume control and the game card slot. On the sides of the console, you have the slots for the two Joy-Cons that detach with just the press of a button, literally. The unit looks sleek, the design of this console is so unique and that's what makes it stand out in a world of next-generation consoles. 

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Nintendo

The kickstand on the back of the console runs from one end of the screen to the next; this is a more advanced kickstand than what we saw with the old version of the Switch. Along with it stretching from one end to the other, you can place the kickstand at almost any angle. The impressive, new stand makes the tabletop experience even better.

Though the red and blue neon colors have become the most popular colors among Switch consoles, the OLED model is available in the neon color version as well as a new, black and white version. The new color features a white charging dock -- different than the black dock the Switch usually has.

In terms of sound, this model has two speakers located on the bottom of the 7-inch OLED screen which produce better quality volume and sound than ones before. While I was testing the product, I never had the volume up over half, but I did turn it up to test it out and was blown away.

Performance

After a couple of days with this console, I could understand the hype behind the Nintendo Switch. There are so many games available on the Nintendo eShop, but the strength of the gaming library lacks in comparison to Playstation and Xbox. While single-player games are abundant, I had the most fun playing games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Mario Party Superstars with friends. 

After playing an assortment of games on the Switch I noticed a trend of impressive gameplay without glitches or lag. On older generation handheld consoles, loading speeds, and frame rate were major downsides. On this console, I never experience a drop in frames or incredibly long loading speeds. With a lot of the popular games on the Switch being multiplayer, long loading screens would kill a good time.

I played it in all three modes it offers: Handheld, TV mode, and tabletop. Right off the bat I loved playing in the handheld mode because I got the most satisfaction out of the advanced screen. Additionally, this provided the most comfortable gaming experience for me because the controller felt better in my hands, and I was able to do it virtually anywhere. 

But, the mode that I played the Switch in depended on who I was with and where I was. When I have people over and play, I put it in the dock and play it on TV. When alone, I typically just used it as a handheld. 

While the kickstand offers versatility when it comes to Switch gaming, I never really needed to use it. I did try it out and it was a good experience. The bigger screen helps when playing on a tabletop because you can see more, but if you're playing by yourself using the kickstand, you might as well just play it handheld.

Bottom line

There are so many things to consider when purchasing a Switch since each model adds something different. If you are planning on purchasing a Switch and haven't owned one before, this is the product for you. But, if you want to upgrade from an older generation Switch console, the upgrade isn't worth it unless you plan on using it in handheld mode as the resolution while docked is the exact same as the one before.

This product isn't a game-changer in the portable gaming realm, but it is the best portable console on the market. Though it's $50 more than the previous Switch, this Nintendo Switch OLED Model is worth every penny.

Alternatives to consider

As I mentioned a lot throughout the review, the OLED model of the Switch isn't that much different except for the storage and screen specs. If you will mainly play with the console connected to the TV, you can save the money and purchase this version of the Switch. 

If you love the idea of gaming on a Switch and don't care about gaming on the TV, this Nintendo Switch Lite is perfect. Although it can't play on TV, this handheld console is capable of everything the regular Switch is capable of. At just $200, this unit is an absolute steal. 

The Steam Deck is the closest competitor to the newest edition of the Nintendo Switch. This unit is practically a gaming PC inside a handheld console. With advanced specs, this unit is incredible for for serious gamers. While it is totally different from a Switch in terms of no detachable Joy-Cons and game compatibility, this is an incredible unit but hard to get your hands on. 

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