The Nintendo Switch OLED launched in October 2021, a little over a year ago. And while it boasts some pretty significant improvements over the base model, it wasn’t quite the upgrade many were after.
While the Nintendo Switch OLED features a gorgeous 720p OLED screen – a more colorful, sharper alternative to the Nintendo Switch’s LCD display – it wasn’t the revelation many Switch owners were looking for. Especially those who primarily play the best Nintendo Switch games in docked mode. So no, the OLED certainly wasn’t the Nintendo Switch Pro we hoped for.
But now that the dust has settled, it’s time to take another look at the Nintendo Switch OLED. Chiefly, is the console still worth buying when a Nintendo Switch Pro model could be on the horizon?
OLED me up
Many fans turned their noses up at the Nintendo Switch OLED because of its price tag. Coming in at $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95, it’s a touch more expensive than a standard Nintendo Switch model. New buyers are likely still paying a premium for the upgraded model.
But what is it exactly you get for that extra cash? Well, as mentioned, the clue’s in the name. The console’s standout feature is its sharp 720p OLED screen on the device itself. OLED produces a more colorful and sharper image than an LCD, which is comparatively muted and blurrier. Stack both screens against each other, and the difference is apparent. The Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite’s LCD can’t match the clarity of the OLED.
That’s a fantastic thing for portable mode players, then. And it just so happens that Nintendo’s penchant for colorful games is a perfect match for the OLED’s sharp 720p screen. If you’ve ever wanted to see how games like Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe look with an even richer dose of color, you can find out with the Nintendo Switch OLED.
It’s not just the lovely screen that makes the Nintendo Switch OLED worth it, though. An improved kickstand makes it better for portable play than its older counterparts. The display is noticeably larger at 7 inches compared to the original model’s 6.2 inches. If you still prefer to play in docked mode, Nintendo has also added an ethernet port to the dock that’ll vastly improve connection quality as opposed to Wi-Fi. Oh, and you’re getting 64GB of storage out of the box. That’s double what was available for the original model without buying one of the best Nintendo Switch microSD cards.
A marginal upgrade?
Aside from the added ethernet port, it’s true that the Nintendo Switch OLED primarily caters to portable players first. If you prefer docked play on your TV, then the OLED won’t make much difference. The console certainly isn’t substantially more powerful than the regular Switch. You’ll get essentially identical performance on either system.
With that in mind, you might want to hold off buying a Nintendo Switch OLED unless you find a particularly excellent Black Friday deal or bundle. The OLED screen and better kickstand don’t improve the docked mode experience, and storage can still be solved with a microSD card which can be bought relatively cheaply.
Is the Nintendo Switch OLED worth it in 2022?
Most buyers are going to fall into one of two camps in regard to this question. If you largely play in portable mode, then yes, the Nintendo Switch OLED will be a significant upgrade, and is likely to see some decent discounts over the Black Friday period.
If you’re primarily a TV player, the Nintendo Switch OLED won’t be doing much to improve your experience. In this case, you may want to wait for news on the Nintendo Switch Pro, which, according to recent Nvidia email leaks, seems like a foregone conclusion about its eventual existence. Hopefully, that'll mean kissing the Switch's performance woes goodbye.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.