nintendo switch oled: price, release date, specs and all the details

© Provided by What Hi-Fi? Nintendo Switch OLED model: everything you need to know about the new Nintendo Switch

The PS5 and Xbox Series X aren't the only new consoles on the gaming scene. They will soon be joined by a new Nintendo Switch – an updated version of Nintendo's bestselling console.

It's officially called the Nintendo Switch (OLED model), eschewing the rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro moniker. And it's quite an upgrade, offering a 7-inch OLED screen and enhanced audio. 

It will launch this October and the first first Nintendo Switch OLED unboxing video has already been uploaded to YouTube in Japan. So, how much does it cost? Is it 4K? And why should you add one to your Christmas list? Find out below.

Find PS5 stock and where to buyOr check our Xbox Series X stock update

Nintendo Switch (OLED model): release date

The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) will go on sale on 8th October 2021. 

It won't serve as a replacement for the existing Switch and Switch Lite:  "We plan to offer all three models and currently have no plans to discontinue any model," said a Nintendo spokesperson. "It’s about providing choice for the consumer."

The existing Switch has been a runaway success for Nintendo, nearing 100 million sales since launching in 2017. Chances are this model will continue that success. Let's hope it's easier to find than PS5 stock.

Nintendo Switch (OLED model): price

The Nintendo Switch OLED will cost £310 / $350 / AU$540.

Nintendo recently lowered the price of the base model Switch in Europe, paving the way for the launch of the Switch OLED. The standard Switch can now be yours for only £260, while the Switch Lite will set you back £200.

It means the Switch OLED costs £50 / $50 / AU$70 more than the standard model. In our opinion, that's a fair price given how much of an upgrade OLED is compared to LCD. 

It also positions the Switch OLED as slightly more expensive than the digital-only Xbox Series S (£249, $299, AU$499) but cheaper than the PS5 Digital Edition (which costs £359, $399, AU$599).

Nintendo Switch (OLED model): screen

The new screen is the headline feature of the new console, and a real step up on the previous model.

The main upgrade is the technology used. OLED is a big advancement on the LCD panel used on the previous Switch – just compare an OLED TV with an LCD model to see the difference. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, and because each individual pixel can turned off instead of emitting an approximation of black as with LCD screens (which usually look closer to grey), it makes for true black levels. Add stunningly bright whites and that makes for superb contrast levels. No wonder it's used in some of the best TVs around.

OLED screens are also more energy efficient, though unfortunately this hasn't resulted in a longer battery life (the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) has the same 4.5-9 hour battery life as its predecessor). Shame, as that would have been a really big draw for a console that doubles as a portable.

Not only does the screen use better technology than its predecessor, it's bigger too. The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) has a 7in display, which is bigger than the previous Switch's 6.2-inch screen, and the Switch Lite's 5.5-inch display. Despite this, the console manages to be nigh-on the same size as the standard Switch, measuring 10 x 24 x 1.4cm. That's only marginally longer than the previous Switch, though it is a bit heavier (422g to 399g).

Nintendo Switch (OLED model): 4K and HDR

There is one bit of bad news, however. The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) can only output a maximum resolution of 1080p HD in TV mode, not 4K as rumoured. That's because it doesn't have a new Nvidia chip which would have enabled 4K upscaling using technology called DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling). This is a cutting-edge way of upscaling graphics to look better than they are. This would let games look practically 4K on a TV screen without having ridiculously large file sizes (which would be overkill when viewed on the Switch's small OLED screen). But sadly it was not to be.

But putting 4K aside for a second, perhaps the greater potential lies in HDR. This stands for high dynamic range – it's a technology borrowed from photography, which increases the difference between the light and dark parts of the picture, with more gradual steps in between. It results in a punchier and more lifelike image with more depth and better colours.

The vast majority of OLED displays have HDR, and the new Switch's could well count itself among them. That would make games look more engaging and exciting.

And it might not just be new games that benefit from this. Older titles could get some kind of upconversion similar to the Xbox Series X's Auto HDR. This uses machine learning to add HDR to games that were designed with only standard dynamic range in mind. So the new Switch could breathe some new life into your current games library.

At the moment, there's no word on whether the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) has HDR tech, but we'll update this as soon as we hear either way.

Nintendo Switch (OLED model): other features

So what else is new? Not a whole lot, to be honest.

The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) comes with a dock, like the previous model, but this one is wider to accommodate the device's greater length. It also has a LAN port built in, for a more secure wired internet  connection when gaming online. The LAN cable is sold separately.

It has double the onboard storage compared to its predecessor: 64GB compared to 32GB. Which is very welcome, as you'll be able to fit on more games, movies, photos and the like. And standard Joy-Con controllers work with it as with the previous model. 

The recent unboxing video by Japanese YouTuber HikakinTV gave us our first look at the Switch's previously-hidden Micro SD card slot. That should come in very handy given that the 64GB internal storage won't last long once you start downloading updates, new levels and extra content.

There's also mention of "enhanced audio", but Nintendo still hasn't gone into specifics. It's likely the speakers are a little bigger and more powerful. It's possible Nintendo could also have added Dolby Digital 5.1 support on top of the standard PCM format of the original Switch, which would increase compatibility with soundbars and the like. Don't hold you breath on that one.

It's also emerged that the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) also misses out on Bluetooth headphone support. A baffling decision, if you ask us. After all, the Switch is designed to double as a handheld device.  Unless Nintendo have changed their mind, the upcoming Switch won't work with your wireless headphones.

Finally, Nintendo has officially confirmed that the Switch features "no major internal changes" compared to previous Switch models, so don't expect increased hardware power.

Nintendo Switch (OLED model) vs PS5 and Xbox Series X

With the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X at the end of last year, Nintendo has a fight on its hands. Both consoles are much more powerful than the Switch. So does Nintendo stand a chance?

Yes indeed. Its consoles have never been about pure power, more about fun and innovative ways to play. And the sales reflect this. To date, the Switch and Switch Lite have sold over 79 million units. That makes Switch the second-best-selling console in Nintendo history, beaten only by the original Wii. It also compares well with sales of the PS4 and Xbox One, which stand at 114 million and 48 million respectively. The Switch only launched in 2017, remember, whereas Sony and Microsoft's previous consoles landed four years earlier, in 2013.

The new Switch won't beat the new PlayStation or Xbox in terms of graphics or processing power, and it probably won't be a better one-stop shop for all your streaming and media needs. But the crucial thing is, it won't try to. As ever, Nintendo is playing its own game. And it seems to be doing pretty well so far.

MORE:

Next-gen face-off! PS5 vs Xbox Series X: which is better?

Sony consoles duke it out: PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: which should you buy?

Our pick of the best gaming headsets

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