It might not be the Switch Pro, but does it still present a worthwhile upgrade?
With rumours of a 4K Switch Pro running rampant, many people felt pretty underwhelmed when the OLED model was first revealed this July. Besides its slightly larger and more vividly colourful screen, the console appeared to lack any significant hardware modifications that would liken it to either the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Instead, the console seemed like more of a traditional hardware revision that we have seen from Nintendo in the past like the 3DS XL or DS Lite. The OLED model may not have been greeted with open arms by everyone, but with us being with the console since day one, we jumped at the chance to check it out to see whether it's a worthwhile upgrade or just a more attractive option for late adopters.
The 7-inch OLED display
Okay, so we might as well kick things off with what is undoubtedly the largest improvement: the screen. The new revision features a larger 7-inch OLED screen (up from a 6.2-inch LED), and the difference is instantly noticeable when holding the console within your hands. The colours here just pop, as they are bright and vibrant and games running on the older model look a lot more dull and washed out in comparison. This striking look is retained through all lighting conditions too, whether you are sat playing on a bus in the middle of the day, or if you're trying to sneak in a few rounds of Rocket League at night in the pitch black.
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Moving from 6.2 inches to 7 inches doesn't sound like a massive difference at all on paper, but the change is undeniable with the two placed side by side. It just feels that much more satisfying to play games on a larger display, and obviously, it's a plus for those who are long-sighted, as on-screen text is much more visible. Obviously, the OLED model is slightly bigger and heavier than the original, but it doesn't feel too bulky or unwieldy to hold like I originally feared. Instead, the screen just takes up more surface area than before and it pretty much touches the edges of the console rather than things being larger overall.
One last thing to note is that I noticed that some apps like YouTube have not yet been updated to take advantage of the larger display. Instead, when watching content, it's displayed at the size of the older Switch consoles and black bars are placed down the sides. I imagine that these apps will be updated in the near future to cater to the new display, but it's something to keep in mind for now at least for early adopters purchasing on day one.
The revamped dock
The console dock has seen quite the makeover here, as its corners have been rounded off and it now has plastic feet on the bottom to prevent it from being in direct contact with surfaces. The big selling point with this particular dock (which will be sold standalone at a later date) is that it has an ethernet port. This is attractive indeed for those seeking more of a secure connection when downloading titles and playing online with friends. It's also a big plus, as online-only cloud-based titles like Dying Light 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy are becoming more prevalent on Switch and won't run as intended at low internet speeds.
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Its appearance is certainly easier on the eyes, but there are a few design choices here that I'm not exactly a fan of. On the previous Switch, the back of the console had its rear door on a latch, so it was easy to swing it open when connecting a HDMI cable. On the OLED model, however, you now have to attach and reattach a piece of plastic when doing this and it can be pretty tedious if you're moving the console around a lot like I often do. The actual build quality of the dock has a lot more of a budget and plasticy feel to it too when compared to the original too. Obviously, I don't intend to throw my Switch around, but this one feels like it could crack or even shatter completely if you were to accidentally step on it.
64GB of internal storage
Doubling the internal storage of the console is, of course, a welcome change, but I wish that Nintendo would have gone further here and upped it to at least 128GB. You'll still find yourself needing to shell out for a microSD card if you plan to install several larger titles on your console digitally. To help put this issue into perspective, Apex Legends on Switch is 25GB and Doom Eternal is a similarly hefty 17.5GB (minus its DLC). Luckily, if you do have a microSD for your older Switch then it can be used with the OLED model, but you'll need to format it and download your games and apps from the eShop once more.
A wider stand
I'll be honest, I never used to play my older Switch in tabletop mode. The console without the joy-cons just appeared so tiny and the small and flimsy stand on the back would occasionally break off when trying to position it on a surface. The Switch OLED model, however, completely remedied both of these issues for me and I started to see it as a viable way to play the console. The improved stand here stretches across the full width of the tablet allowing for it to be properly balanced and the larger display made it easier for short sighted me to play from a distance. The stand is also massively flexible too, as its angle can be adjusted from almost 90 degrees to 180 degrees, and it's robust too, so it will never snap off.
It might not be the Switch Pro that we desperately longed for, but the OLED model is still a worthwhile revision that enhances both handheld and tabletop play. The 7-inch OLED screen is much more vivid and colourful, and the improved storage and rear stand just act as the icing on the cake. Personally, I can't see myself ever returning to my older model, but I'm unsure whether these few nice additions would warrant an extra £349.99 for existing owners. If you're yet to purchase a Switch though, or if you're looking to upgrade from a Switch Lite, then this is certainly the variant that you should consider picking up.
8 / 10
The screen is noticeably bigger and more vibrant, the rear stand makes tabletop mode a viable option, the new dock has an ethernet port.
The dock has more of a budget-feel, the storage is still limited.