The mClassic is the upscaling Nintendo Switch accessory of my dreams

(Image credit: Future)

The Nintendo Switch is a superb console, but when playing in docked mode on the TV, its biggest flaws become apparent. If you don’t own a smart TV that naturally upscales lower resolutions effectively, even the best Nintendo Switch games can look downright horrendous when blown up on a larger display.

The Switch’s aged hardware often reduces visually stunning games like Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Astral Chain to a jagged mess. But this is where manufacturer Marseille Inc’s mClassic upscaler comes into play. It’s a device that effortlessly cleans up the Switch’s overall poor image quality, and the outcome is somewhat miraculous. As a result, it’s easily become one of my favorite Nintendo Switch accessories of all time.

Before we get into it, I should mention that the mClassic is also multiplatform-compatible. It does work with a broad range of systems, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and legacy systems such as the Gamecube and the Dreamcast. There's even a mode dedicated to 4:3 upscaling. For now, though, let's discuss what the mClassic does to improve image quality on Nintendo Switch.

Level up


(Image credit: Future)

So how does the mClassic work? Think of it as a booster for your Nintendo Switch console. It plugs directly into the system’s dock and connects to the TV via an HDMI cable, while an additional USB cable hooks the mClassic up to your Switch. Setup is easy and convenient, so long as you don’t mind an extra cable invading your gaming setup.

Once hooked up, the mClassic’s magic (okay, it’s not magic, but it sure does feel like wizardry) activates via a toggle switch on the device itself. Your TV will then output its image via the mClassic, beautifully upscaling to a crisp 1440p from the Switch’s maximum 1080p.

But that’s just for starters. The mClassic’s real ace-in-the-hole is its ability to provide anti-aliasing (a process that involves smoothing out the rougher edges of in-game models and objects) for your games. Often, Nintendo Switch games, particularly first-party-developed ones, neglect to use any form of anti-aliasing to increase performance. However, the tradeoff is that even gorgeous titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, exhibit noticeable shimmering and jagged edges.

The mClassic cleans this up almost totally. It applies anti-aliasing with no hit to overall performance, and Nintendo Switch games look cleaner and sharper than ever as a result. What’s more, the mClassic can also apply depth-of-field to distant objects. What results is an image that looks pin-sharp in the foreground while providing appropriately softer backgrounds and horizons. Naturally, this works wonders for games with large environments like Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Odyssey. 

Smooth sailing

Take a look at the example above for an idea of how it improves image quality. Have a look at Daisy’s quad bike in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Without the mClassic switched on, you can see aliasing particularly around the headlights and sides of the vehicle. With the device enabled, these jagged edges are smoothed out for an overall crisper image. Of course, it’s far more impressive in motion, but the above shots should give you a general idea of how the mClassic cleans up image quality.

And here’s a shot from Xenoblade Chronicles 3, again, with the mClassic both switched off and on. The background scenery is of particular note here; you can see how the mClassic smooths out those rough, jagged peaks of the rocks in the distance.

Coming in at $99 / £99 and available via Marseille’s official website and retailers like Amazon, the mClassic certainly isn’t cheap as far as Nintendo Switch accessories go. However, I believe it’s the best solution for improving image quality on Nintendo Switch without resorting to emulation, and it provides an excellent reason to visit old favorites - or play entirely new games - with a fresher look. As a result, it goes a very long way in justifying that price tag.

Overall, the mClassic has been a game-changer for me on Nintendo Switch. By touching up image quality, it shows that its library can look truly stunning through intelligent upscaling and with anti-aliasing applied. It’s well worth purchasing if you like to play your Switch on the big screen where visual roughness is usually much more noticeable, and it’s a product that I simply can’t recommend enough.

For more recommendations on top Switch hardware, consider browsing our guides to the best Nintendo Switch controllers and best Nintendo Switch headsets. 

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

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.