Nintendo Switch Pro: Upcoming handheld gaming console explained

The Nintendo Switch released in March 2017 and the follow-up Switch Lite came in September 2019 – both the handheld consoles brought a fair amount of success to the Nintendo camp. Now the next-gen video game console is agonizingly close to release. There is substantial evidence of the existence of the long rumored Switch Pro (or maybe it will be called Switch 2) – and it's coming sooner than expected.

Years of speculation (right from the time of Switch Lite release) has taken shape of sourced reports with the potential of a handheld console that brings next-generation display and graphics to lure gamers who prefer the compact nature of handhelds. The Switch needs a worthy successor, and Switch Pro is brewing into one, as Nintendo looks to entice hardcore mobile gamers with its console.

Design and specifications

The video game console will have a slightly bigger screen size compared to its predecessor. It's a no brainer that the upcoming console will have trimmed down bezels and might come in an attractive set of color options. Larger Joy-Con controllers will be a great addition as it promises better grip, and also larger home buttons for better interactivity.

To compete with gaming hardware – be it bigger consoles or gaming smartphones – the Switch Pro is destined to have at least 8GB of RAM and onboard storage of 128GB. As per a reliable data miner @SciresM, the console will be powered by the upgraded Tegra X1+ chipset (codenamed project Aula). The processor will get higher clock speeds and an efficient cooling solution for a performance boost.

This will result in probable native 1440p resolution with the aforementioned 4K upscaling achieved using the Nvidia DLSS 2.0 technology. The co-processor will lend the higher output resolution (on DisplayPort over USB 3.0) in docked mode, powered by the Realtek chip. Better battery life for the Switch Pro is imminent, given the demanding requirements, and the other options on the market for handheld gaming.

Standout features

Nintendo will ideally want to offer the playable experience in both docked/undocked modes, as well as the tabletop mode. According to a fresh leak, the console will have detachable Joy-Con controllers which will be interchangeable between consoles. The plastic kickstand on the Switch is rumored to have been ditched for a larger flap-like stand (like on the Surface Go and Surface Pro) for better device stability in the tabletop mode.

A patent filed by Nintendo suggests there is a likelihood of health-tracking capabilities landing with the upcoming console. The patented device in question has health tracking features similar to that on smartphones – capable of sleep monitoring, heart rate monitoring and stress level detection. This makes sense since the Switch Pro will have health-related gaming titles like the Ring Fit Adventure.

Backward gaming compatibility is another feature Nintendo will not ignore. According to a report in March 2021, Nintendo's rumored console will have backward and futureproof compatibility. Surely there will be some exclusive titles for the Switch Pro to lure previous version owners to make the shift.

Better hardware also promises a major quality boost on the gaming titles as developers will have flexibility in leveraging the processor's capability along with the 4K support.

4K display on the way

One thing that Nintendo Switch owners missed in the age of PS5 and Xbox Series X is the 4K output when hooked to a TV. The new Switch Po will bridge this gap without a doubt. According to Bloomberg (who've dug their nails deep in this development), the next-gen handheld console will be capable of upscaling to 4K on the device itself. Combined with the 7-inch Samsung OLED display, Nintendo fans will experience sharper image quality with deeper blacks, contrast and color depth.

Expected release date

Quite a lot has been said and speculated about the probable release date of the Nintendo Switch Pro in the past few weeks and months. Now courtesy Bloomberg [paywall] and Eurogamer's sources, it is highly likely, the gaming console will make an appearance ahead of E3 2021. The gaming-centric event is scheduled to kick off from June 12 through June 15 – so Nintendo's upcoming console could be announced anytime in the coming weeks. Apparently, Nintendo's own digital showcase is also going to happen later in the week following E3.

The pre-E3 reveal makes complete sense as developers can then showcase their games for the console at the event. Titles like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, Metroid Prime 4, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and the Pokemon Legend: Arceus.

The final release date of the Switch Pro is highly likely in September or October this year – just in time for 2021's holiday celebrations when gaming consoles are bought off the shelves like hotcakes.

The price is a surprise

The price of the upcoming premium handheld console is a bit foggy at this point in time. However, if we are to believe analyst Matthew Kanterman of Bloomberg Intelligence, the console will carry at least a $100 price bump as compared to the base model of the current offering.

According to him, a $350 price will be optimum, given the hardware enhancement and features coming to the device. Even if it is priced at $400, Nintendo can expect highlighting demand in most parts of the world. The $400 price tag prediction is also supported by Game Industry's gaming analyst Dr. Serkan Toto.

Is it worth the wait?

Eagerly awaited all this time for the Nintendo Switch Pro to finally reveal itself? Then this is not the right time to give up on the speculations that now seem more concrete than ever before. In a couple of weeks' time if the handheld console doesn't show up then you could move on to the other options. However, if Switch Pro is officially announced by Nintendo, it will be well worth the wait.

The fact that it will be ready to buy off the shelves by this year end, gives even more reason to explore the goodness of the newer hardware. As opposed to going for the older Switch or Switch Lite. Given all the leaks and the information from internal sources, the console looks good to take the gaming fraternity by surprise. Our suggestion will be to definitely wait for the Switch Pro.