Today, in a surprise move from the house of Mario, Nintendo has just announced that the new Nintendo Switch (OLED model) will be arriving this fall on October 8.
Previously, when Nintendo didn’t say anything about a new Switch at E3, a lot of people (including myself) thought that meant Nintendo wouldn’t release its long-rumored upgraded Switch this year. But I can admit when I wrong, and even though the new OLED Switch doesn’t have a “Pro” label, it does come with a lot of upgraded features long-time Switch fans have been dreaming about for quite some time.
Starting at $350, the new OLED Switch only costs $50 more than the standard model, while it features a new, larger 7-inch OLED display. This upgrade should address most complaints about the Switch’s built-in screen being somewhat lackluster, though it’s important to note that the OLED Switch’s resolution is staying pat at 720p.
Other improvements on the new OLED Switch include more onboard storage (64GB, up from 32GB), a redesigned wider kickstand that supports a new Tabletop mode, and a new dock with a built-in LAN port. Nintendo says the OLED Switch will also provide “enhanced audio” thanks to its upgraded speakers, and of course, the new OLED Switch is sporting a fresh paint job featuring a two-toned black-and-white color scheme.
Notably, by cutting down on the size of the OLED Switch’s bezels, it looks like Nintendo was able to include a larger 7-inch screen without increasing the overall size of the system too much, which means that existing Switch add-ons and accessories like Joy-Con should be compatible with the new OLED Switch.
Unfortunately, Nintendo did not provide any info on whether the OLED Switch will feature a faster processor, longer battery life, or support for other features like Bluetooth audio. But hopefully, we’ll be able to find out more prior to the OLED Switch’s official release on October 8.
So even though Nintendo slow-played its hand by not announcing the OLED Switch at E3, the arrival of an upgraded Switch this fall is certainly a pleasant surprise. That said, while OLED Switch does include a handful of worthy improvements, it feels like Nintendo may have stopped slightly short of creating a truly high-end Switch that many Nintendo fans have been wanting to see.
Either way, here’s hoping Nintendo will be able to produce a large inventory of OLED Switches, because the last thing gamers want to see is yet another new console come out only for it to sold-out everywhere, forcing fans into the waiting arms of scalpers.
[Update: 7/6 @ 10:10 AM ET] Nintendo notes that the OLED Switch is 0.1-inches longer than the standard model, so it may not work as neatly with certain products like Nintendo’s Labo kits. Also, Nintendo says the OLED Switch should last between 4.5 and 9 hours on a single charge, which is the same as the standard model, though as always, battery life depends on the specific game you’re playing.