How does the OLED Model compare to a day one Nintendo Switch?

We have had a review unit of the OLED Model Nintendo Switch in the office for the last couple of weeks, which makes it a perfect comparison to the day one, launch day console that we’ve been gaming on since 2017.

With both of them in hand (one at a time of course, we don’t have four arms) and the OLED Models certainly feels more premium and better in the hand.

This difference isn’t just because our older Switch is a few years old and has some wear from use, it’s also because the manufacturing on the OLED Model seems to have been done with a bit more care this time around and it feels more like an expensive electronic device – which it most certainly is with its high local price of R7 999 – and less like a plastic toy that the original can sometimes be mistaken for.

This feeling in the hand is one of the few in-person differences we can report upon because, for the most part, the OLED Model is pretty much what it says on the tin.

As shown off in the reveal trailer months ago you get what’s advertised: a slightly bigger screen that is now OLED, much better audio, a redesigned dock and a sturdier kickstand.

With both consoles in front of us the best advice we can give you is by pointing out who this product is for, and who it isn’t for.

At this point it’s worth going back to the R7 999 price. The local pricing of the older Nintendo Switch is now R6 999, so keep those in mind as we discuss further.

We won’t even touch on the secondhand market and its pricing. With a console as mature as the Switch, used consoles may be a great value proposition for buyers.

You should buy an OLED Model Switch if…

  • You don’t own a Switch at all, you’ve been waiting for the software library to grow and you don’t mind spending extra.
  • You need to replace your existing Switch for whatever reason – damage, theft, etc – and you want to spend more on a new console.
  • You’re outrageously rich and spending R7 999 on anything doesn’t phase you.

You should not buy an OLED Model Switch if…

  • You already own a Switch and are mostly happy with the experience.
  • You already own a Switch and expect a massive change between the two.
  • You already own a Switch and expect better Joy-Cons.
  • You already, or intend to, play mostly in docked mode where the bigger screen, better sound and improved kickstand won’t even be used.

A quick word on the better battery

As stated we have a day one Nintendo Switch which means we missed out on the revised console which has a more efficient processor leading to better battery life.

This improved version is differentiated by updated packaging and a serial number starting with XK, as Nintendo itself explains here.

Most new Nintendo Switch consoles on shelves today should be this improved version, and the OLED Model shares this longer battery life.

The difference between our original model and this newer one is rather staggering in this department. Yes this isn’t unique to the OLED Model, but it’s worth discussing here.

The improved battery life was honestly the most impressive part of the OLED Model, but it’s something owners can enjoy with the revised model and not just the newer OLED variant.

If battery life is the biggest problem plaguing your older Switch consider this upgrade to a revised model.

We’ve also seen some people replace batteries themselves, but that comes with a lot of difficult electronics work and the inherent danger of batteries being punctured and lighting on fire.

We would say this also voids the warranty but any Switch with the older processor and / or an ageing battery will be well outside its warranty period.

The green tinge problem

OLED screens displaying some kind of green tint or tinge is a common problem experienced by many devices that use this technology, and the OLED Model Nintendo Switch is no exception.

This problem seems rather rare, but we have seen OLED Model owners report it online herehere and here.

It just so happens that our review unit has this problem. The green tint is present at every brightness level and in games too.

This is less noticeable when actually playing games, but it’s always present, unlike some other owners who report the issue only at certain brightness levels or viewable only in the menus.

To sanity test this issue we got a friend who bought a regular retail OLED Model at launch and it’s clear to see the difference in person.

Trying to capture a picture of this was rather difficult so please forgive the amateur picture here trying to show the difference.

if you’re struggling to see the difference the problematic OLED Model has the white Joy-Cons and the non-affected model has the blue and red Joy-Cons.

We spoke to Core, the official distributors of Nintendo in South Africa, about this and the potential impact on customers.

A representative could not give us a quote about this green tint problem specifically, but did advise that anyone experiencing any problems with their Nintendo products should reach out.

“…we expect all our hardware to perform as designed. If anything falls short of this goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Support,” the representative told us.

Due to the fact that the OLED Model is so new all purchased units should still be under warranty, even in countries with a single year of support.

As for our testing unit it will soon be collected by Core and booked in with a service centre to run some diagnostics.

Conclusion and the Lite option

With the exception of the green screen problems this all feels like a bit of déjà vu from our review of the Nintendo Switch Lite.

In that feature we stated repeatedly that the Lite does exactly what it says on the tin and offers very little to surprise after reading the spec sheet.

The OLED Model repeats history by giving customers almost everything they need to know in the online listings.

The Lite also brings another player into the ring for those looking to buy a Switch, either for the first time or as subsequent purchases.

We will direct those people to this online tool which compares the regular Nintendo Switch, the OLED Model and the Lite.

That comparison was made by Nintendo and lists the prices in USD, but the local pricing for the Lite in South Africa is R4 499.


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