Nintendo’s announcement of a new Switch OLED model was met with more of a whimper than a bang, judging by the reaction of many on the internet. Perhaps expectations had been bloated by the months of reports and rumors suggesting that this new model would be a significant power upgrade. Maybe after four years with the Nintendo Switch, fans are just itching for a bigger splash. For whatever reason, the modest feature upgrade isn’t the game-changer that many Switch users (or prospective owners) hoped for. But as a handheld player who has never felt comfortable committing to the Switch Lite, it looks to be the perfect fit for my use-case.
The Switch OLED’s upgrades are undoubtedly minimal. The simple fact that Nintendo is naming it after its biggest new feature–the new, slightly larger OLED screen–should show that this is more of a step than a leap. It packs some other improvements, like a better kickstand, more internal storage, and a LAN port built into the dock. None are exactly earth-shattering, especially when compared to expectations that a new Switch would bring performance upgrades including the ability to output to 4K. A real “Switch Pro” upgrade with 4K support and a faster processor may still be coming, but this isn’t it. And while a technical upgrade would be welcome as some games have shown poorly against the hardware’s limitations, the OLED model feels like a welcome upgrade until that theoretical newer model shows up.
I’ve always treated the Nintendo Switch as a handheld system. I can probably count the number of times I’ve docked it on both hands, and it’s never stayed docked for long. This habit made the Nintendo Switch Lite a tempting proposition: A smaller form factor and bright colors looked like a fun way to keep playing my Switch library in a method more akin to my long history with Nintendo handhelds.