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Switch 2 vs OLED: Nintendo Gamers are up for a battle!

To Switch, or not to Switch? – OLED vs Switch


Is Switch 2 the way to go?

The long-rumored Switch 2, as we’ll name it for the time being, is largely predicted to be released in late 2024, but Nintendo fans looking for an upgrade to their current console may find the Switch 2 to be a poisoned chalice.

Bloomberg claimed on January 26 that the Switch 2 would have an 8-inch LCD screen, citing Omdia analyst and small display expert Hiroshi Hayase. That projection is consistent with prior rumors, but this is the greatest indication yet that the Switch successor will forego the 2021 model’s OLED panel to help reduce production costs.

The 8-inch LCD panel is still a significant size increase over prior incarnations of the system, including the 5.5-inch Switch Lite, 6.2-inch original Switch, and 7-inch Switch OLED. It’s also an advance over the biggest Switch competitors, such as the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally, both of which have a 7-inch display. And it’s likely that the larger screen will have a greater resolution than any Switch console to yet. Here comes 1080p on a portable device!

However, the news will undoubtedly damper the aspirations of gamers who purchased the Switch OLED in 2021 and are now left with an untenable decision: upgrade to a new console to play next-gen Nintendo games, or continue with old hardware for the sake of visuals.

Everyone seemed overjoyed to trade in their original Switch for an OLED upgrade, and they could immediately appreciate their favorite games like never before – the increased contrast, brightness, and rich hues let every visual element actually pop in ways that weren’t possible on the LCD screen version.

The Overwhelming Benefits Of OLED

OLED is a superior panel technology due to its self-emissive pixels, which produce their own light rather than having a backlight wash through the pixel layer. These pixels can even be turned off individually, resulting in sharper contrast between light and dark regions of the screen while only funneling light to places, objects, or colors that require it.

The increased contrast, brightness, and rich hues let every visual element truly pop, which was not feasible on the LCD screen version.
Blacks on LCD screens can also have a slightly grayer hue due to the lighting, and the difference is much more obvious while playing in a dark room – OLED is definitely a better option if you enjoy snuggling up in bed with a handheld console (not a metaphor!).

Games benefit significantly from OLED displays because they are a high contrast medium, typically using pure blacks in character design or HUD features; also, colors and objects must stand out against the background to help you distinguish between them. It also enables you to assess the design and animation skills.

Of course, the Switch 2’s return to LCD makes financial sense, as it eliminates the pricey OLED display in favor of cost savings and a slew of other next-generation technical upgrades. The biggest issue about the Switch OLED is that it improves visual quality without improving internal performance, and it appears that the Switch 2 will do the opposite.


One caveat: while the OLED model was the most popular Nintendo console in 2023, with 4.69 million units sold (up from 9.22 million the previous year), that figure is still a fraction of the 132 million Switch systems sold since 2017. As a result, practically every Switch gamer has the original LCD system, and the shift to an LCD Switch 2 shouldn’t register as as anything other than an enhancement.

So, what should a discriminating Nintendo gamer do if they decide to switch to an OLED display in the middle of the cycle? A larger screen is nothing to sneeze at, and we expect see higher resolution in handheld mode, among other undiscovered console enhancements. 4K in docked mode? An augmented reality camera? How about some folding cardboard? You never know with Nintendo.

A larger, higher resolution screen will be appealing, especially given the other hardware improvements that are also expected with the Switch 2 – we heard a lot about resolution and processor upgrades before the Switch OLED, and it’s likely that those rumors were just a little premature, waiting in Nintendo’s back pocket until a true successor was unveiled.

A larger screen is “nothing” yet, we expect see higher resolution in handheld mode, among other undiscovered console enhancements.
However, one of the most important things to realize about panel technology is that more pixels aren’t always better. The quality of the pixels also affects. High-resolution screens might seem bad if the display lacks contrast and color, because an image is much more than its pixel count or screen size.

Prepare for Mid-Cycle Refresh

Naturally, this will not be the final Switch. The Switch 2 will go through its own iterations, just as the 2017 Switch did, with the handheld-only Switch Lite and the handheld-first Switch OLED. It’s feasible that we’ll see an OLED model in the future, combining premium panel technology with the Switch 2’s technical upgrades.

Matt Kim, IGN’s senior features editor, took to X to discuss the possibility of a dual-console launch, comparable to an iPhone launch. One base model has an LCD display, while the other has OLED and more storage at a higher retail price. Given Nintendo’s hardware history, the firm will most likely reserve an OLED variant for when Switch 2 sales begin to slow. If Nintendo was satisfied with releasing a ‘upgraded’ Switch four years after its first release, with the same internal specs and processor, there’s no reason it should rush to provide all of its Switch 2 delights in 2024.

The primary concern here is next-generation games. While all indicators point to a Switch 2 with backwards compatibility, which will allow you to transfer your existing game collection and play it on the new hardware. However, a powered-up Switch will offer new gameplay experiences and technical standards. That means there will be new Switch games, most likely first-party Switch games in the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid brands (Metroid Prime 4, anyone?) that can only be played on the Switch 2.

Nintendo has an excellent track record of cross-generation releases, which help to bridge the game catalog between consoles. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild co-launched on Wii U and became the definitive Switch title during the console’s first year. So Switch (2017) and Switch OLED owners should not be left out in the cold, at least when it comes to software.

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