After getting my hands on the, one major upgrade stood out to me as a game-changer, and it wasn’t the larger, richer OLED screen.
At a small hands-on (and masks-on) preview event for both the OLED Switch and the upcoming game, I had about an hour to play with the new hardware in handheld mode. It was immediately obvious that the new screen is a big deal. It’s bigger, the bezels are slimmer, and of course, the compared to the original, which can appear washed out, especially compared to super bright and screens.
The Joy-Con controllers are the same, and the body is almost the same size, but the better screen-to-bezel ratio made it feel like a more modern device.
Internally, it’s the same Nvidia Tegra X1 processor and has the same 720-line resolution. Docked output is still 1080p. The base storage jumps from 32GB to 64GB. The increase in storage and display size takes the price up from $300 to $350. (In comparison, anwith 128GB of storage is still $300.) There are improved speakers, too.
But even at this limited hands-on demo event, there was something else about the new Switch that jumped out to me. The kickstand on the back of the system, previously mocked for its wimpy construction, has been completely replaced.
Instead of a wobbly strip less than one inch wide, the new kickstand runs almost the entire width of the system. Instead of snapping into one position, locked in at a specific angle, it’s highly adjustable and stays put at any angle along the way.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is basically the Microsoft Surface kickstand, adapted for the Switch. That kickstand was one of the best design features of the Surface line (recently updated to the) and now it’s one of the best features on the new OLED Switch.
The Switch can be played docked to output to a TV or as a handheld. But this new model seems particularly suited to being a little multiplayer mini console: The larger screen and better kickstand make this OLED Switch far better for gathering around with friends.
Especially if you’re planning on using the new Switch in handheld mode, and occasionally propping it up on a table or desk (or an in-flight tray table), it’s great. I played about an hour of Metroid Dread this way, switching between holding the system in my hands and deploying the kickstand on the table. I didn’t get a chance to examine the new dock in person, but the main difference there is that it swaps one USB port for an Ethernet jack.
The, just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season. Stay tuned for a full review sometime in the coming weeks.