Nintendo is set to welcome a new console into the family on October 8, blessing the Switch with a sizable 7-inch OLED panel. It doesn’t look like it’s the long-rumoured Switch Pro, however, begging the question of whether it can keep up with the wave of incoming handheld gaming PCs.
The Switch Pro exists only in whispers, but is said to deliver 4K graphics and an improved Tegra processor that could see Nvidia’s DLSS appear outside of gaming PCs for the first time. We don’t know what the new Switch OLED packs under the hood just yet, but such features didn’t make headlines during Nintendo’s announcement and its $50 premium over the original model leaves little room for beefier specs. Instead, we’re left with the same 720p handheld mode and 1080p resolution when docked.
Of course, the OLED panel is nothing to scoff at, with the potential of richer colours and a brighter screen to combat the sun’s glare when you’re playing outside – the best gaming monitors don’t even use this technology yet. It’s a great addition for newcomers, but there’s arguably little to entice current Switch owners to take the leap – unless you own the original, then the Switch OLED also offers you a better battery life (you can check here).
It might struggle with Nintendo Labo as the different screen size might play havoc with the Toy-Con accessories, but the Switch OLED will otherwise play all the same games as the original. Aside from the calibre of Nintendo’s exclusives, though, we reckon the Switch OLED isn’t quite as compelling as the range of emerging handheld gaming PCs.
The Aya Neo lacks OLED tech, but already offers a 7-inch screen at 800p resolution, has a dock of its own to beam your games directly to your TV, and has access to the chonky PC backlog from your Steam and other libraries. If you want an even bigger screen size, the OneXPlayer offers a whopping 8.4-inch screen at a much higher 2,560 x 1,600p resolution.
Granted, these products are still in production and it isn’t certain whether they’ll be readily available to purchase by the time the Switch OLED hits shelves. They’re also quite a bit more expensive, giving the upcoming console an edge, but at the very least they show how hungry gamers are for better portable hardware beyond the arguably underwhelming iterative models Nintendo is releasing.