We saw the Nintendo Switch hit shelves almost four years ago followed by the somewhat affordable Switch Lite couple of years back, and now news is almost confirming the future of the next Nintendo Switch variant. Yes, the handheld console is rumored to debut this year – most probably in the latter half – just in time for the holiday season. That’s set the cat among the pigeons in the Sony and Microsoft quarters.
According to a Bloomberg report, the console is slated to hit manufacturing lines sometime in July, and if everything goes well, a fall release is imminent. According to Nintendo’s own reports, the previous models – Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite – have sold over 80 million units as of December 31, 2020. That said, Nintendo hasn’t yet confirmed the existence of any such new model in the works.
Larger screen size
In all probability, the handheld console is going to be called Nintendo Switch Pro (or Nintendo Switch 2) and it will be an upgrade as far as the screen size goes. The Switch has a 6.2-inch screen real estate and the Switch Lite has a tad smaller 5.5-inch screen. Both are set at 720p resolution.
The upcoming Switch Pro will have a 7-inch screen to directly take on the gaming-oriented smartphones – the ROG Phones and Black Shark. The resolution of this handheld console will be the same at 720p which isn’t surprising given the nature of the games meant for arcade-style gaming.
As per Bloomberg, this time around Nintendo plans to use the Samsung OLED panel which will be a major bump up in screen display quality with deeper black levels and noticeably more contrasty image reproduction. Keeping the resolution at 720p also means less battery consumption – that is also going to be aided by the self-lit pixels of the OLED.
4K on the way
Although it might surprise Nintendo users in a good way and be a challenge for game developers, the new console could come with the 4K output option when placed in the dock. That way players can enjoy addictive Nintendo titles in 4K resolution on their TV screens.
The dock may come with a dedicated GPU chipset to bring out more graphic details on the bigger screen somewhat comparable to the high-end PS5 and Series X. This will give the users the best of both worlds when it comes to balancing out the performance and visual graphics on the screen. After all, it is all about the best end-user experience – in this case – the demanding gamers.
The upcoming Switch could be more or less comparable to the current Switch model even with the bump up in the size; the lesser bezels will compensate for the bigger sized OLED screen inside the more or less same housing. Compact form factor is going to be the key as gamers prefer a more portable option for casual gaming on the go, and Nintendo Switch has a firm grip on that market. Giving modern gamers a sleek, yet powerful design seems like the way to go.
Ergonomics are vital in a handheld gaming console and the Switch Pro could have the bigger Joy-Cons that will make it a treat to play on for extended durations. Other design improvements are also obvious, as it is going to be a new launch.
At this point, a prediction about the price of the upcoming handheld console is a wild guess, but it’s safe to assume it will be somewhere around $300 at least. That’s what the current base model of Switch comes for. The price will certainly be more than that of the $200 Nintendo Switch Lite.
If we have to go by what a Japan-based games consultant Serkan Toto says, the Switch Pro will cost around $399. This will be very lucrative pricing for buyers if Nintendo comes up with some major hardware and software upgrades.
What we expect
The new Nintendo Switch is on the right track with the display boost and OLED screen rumors are in good spirit, making gamers excited already. A higher pixel per inch density would be appreciated with a slightly better luminance level so that we don’t have to squint at the screen when playing games in the flush midday sunshine.
The processor on the current best Nintendo handheld console is the Nvidia Tegra with the venting fan on top. An upgraded processor could bring better performance to the handheld gaming console – just like how the Switch performs in the docked configuration. A better chipset would bring the possibility of multiplayer split-screen gaming when connected to the TV.
If we do get a better processor, there is a possibility of the Switch dock size shrinking down. That means you can pack the Nintendo unit in a backpack and take it to your buddy’s place for a weekend gaming skirmish. Though there are third-party options too, having the official package would be the icing on the cake.
Some things however need attention, these irks shouldn’t be there in the 2021 handheld gaming console. Things like the absence of Bluetooth audio on the Switch and fixing the kickstand to allow two players to enjoy like a prop-up arcade machine are some of them. Obviously, we are expecting new colors on the mainstream Switch that should spice-up things, just like Switch Lite did.