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What’s Different About the Switch OLED?

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Do you need the new model if you already have a Switch?

I was pretty skeptical when rumors began circulating about a “Switch Pro” with enhanced graphics, 4K, better battery, and everything else on the wishlist. And I was entirely right to be skeptical, because it doesn’t exist! Instead, we got the Switch OLED, but while this iteration of the Switch isn’t the dream machine everyone but me was hoping for, it does have some subtle improvements over the stock Switch model.

The first and most obvious change is the screen. The base model Switch uses a 6-inch LCD screen, while the OLED has a 7-inch OLED screen. If you don’t speak specs, LCD stands for “liquid-crystal display,” while OLED stands for “organic light-emitting diode.” OLED screens are able to produce much more vibrant displays, with clearer colors and starker blacks and whites. There is definitely a tangible difference in picture quality, though only if you’re playing in handheld mode. If you’re playing with the console docked, then it’s exactly the same. Both versions of the console display natively in 720p at 60Hz.

While the guts of the console are mostly the same as the base model, barring some extra internal storage space, there are a few little quality of life tweaks on the outside. The regular Switch model has a rather flimsy kickstand in the back, which makes detaching the Joy-Cons and playing on the screen a potentially unpleasant decision. In contrast, the OLED has a much larger, sturdier stand with adjustable angles, so it’s safer and more efficient to use. The OLED also features improved speakers with better sound quality, which is nice as long as you’re not playing in public. The OLED dock also comes with a built-in ethernet port, allowing you to use a wired internet connection as long as the console is docked, which is definitely a plus if you play online a lot.

So, overall, if you play your Switch handheld more than docked, an OLED might be a decent investment. If you play with it docked more, though, the changes are negligible. That said, Nintendo is planning to sell the new dock separately, so if you just want that ethernet port, you can get it without buying the whole new console.