Why are you surprised that the Nintendo Switch OLED is a disappointment?
You’ve probably seen the promo for the impending Nintendo Switch OLED version, which was welcomed with delight when it first appeared in my YouTube subscription box but had all the fanfare of a backfiring party popper once it was over.
While we now know that the Switch OLED is not the Nintendo Switch Pro, it certainly looks the part. On the handheld, the larger 7-inch screen looks fantastic, and I adore the sleek white finish on the dock and Joy-Con controllers. Additional improvements such as a better kickstand, a LAN connector, and a larger 64GB of storage space are all nice upgrades.
Any enthusiasm I had for the Switch OLED was quickly dashed when Nintendo disclosed the most Nintendo-Esque detail of all: the Switch OLED is essentially an incremental update, with a higher RRP than the original model. While many fans, including myself, were understandably irritated, we should have expected it, as this isn’t the first time Nintendo has done something similar – and I’m confident it won’t be the last.
Thanks to the screen’s capacity to individually shut off individual pixels that aren’t in use, OLED enables for a far more colorful image as well as true blacks. This is an advantage over LCD technology, which uses a backlight to emit light to neighboring pixels and hence always has a base level of brightness while displaying dark images.
That smaller, 7-inch screen will undoubtedly benefit OLED, particularly for games that can easily run in handheld mode while taking full advantage of the 720p quality. On a smaller OLED screen, I can see vibrantly colored titles like the upcoming Splatoon 3 and indie darlings like Dead Cells truly popping, which makes the platform appealing.
If you’re like me and prefer to use your Switch in docked mode with a TV monitor, you’ll want to stick with the base Switch model. Why? Because Nintendo acknowledged that the Switch OLED has no performance advantages, docked mode players may be enticed to buy it.
The Switch OLED was previously speculated to include a variety of hardware and software enhancements. Improved Joy-Con controllers that aim to reduce feared stick drifting, longer battery life, and 4K compatibility are among them. However, none of these have materialized, with the Switch OLED’s maximum resolution in docked mode remaining at 1080p.
It’s not the Switch Pro we were promised, and it appears that the aforementioned enhancements will have to wait until Nintendo’s next system. But, once again, we shouldn’t be surprised in the least.
Nintendo is the same old Nintendo. Nintendo is clearly a master at creating some of the most replayable and well-polished titles on the market. Their hardware plan, on the other hand, has peaks and valleys.
The Switch OLED is the latest example of Nintendo delivering an “improved” piece of hardware that adds little to the device it’s replacing.
“The Switch OLED isn’t horrible, but it’s overkill.”
As recently as the Nintendo 3DS, we can witness this. Nintendo’s experimental portable eventually evolved to have a sizable game library, but it was all too easy to become lost in the weeds of the 3DS family’s various devices.
Consider the Nintendo 3DS XL, which, like the Switch OLED, had a larger screen than the standard model but otherwise lacked features. Because the 3DS XL didn’t support higher resolutions, certain games on the enlarged screen seemed pixelated.
Nintendo has also released systems that are less powerful than their base models. The Nintendo 2DS (yes, there was one) discarded its parent’s brilliant clamshell shape, as well as the (albeit divisive) 3D effect that truly did make some games feel more immersive, in favor of a wedge-like form. This was eventually replaced by the Nintendo 2DS XL, which did almost everything backward but remove the stereoscopic 3D effect.
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