Nintendo has consistently downplayed rumors of new Switch consoles, but a report in Bloomberg says 2021 will see the launch of a new high-end version of Nintendo’s massively successful console. This device will allegedly feature a larger Samsung OLED and support for 4K gaming in docked mode, but that might complicate things for developers.
There are currently two versions of the Switch; the standard hybrid console and the handheld-only Switch Lite. The Switch has a 6.2-inch 720p LCD. and the Lite is just a bit smaller at 5.5 inches. The rumored device would replace the hybrid console and feature a 7-inch OLED panel manufactured by Samsung.
The LCD on the current Switch is very high-quality, despite the low resolution. The move to OLED could bring better black levels, more vibrant colors, and improved battery life — it’s the same thing we’ve seen with phones over the past few years as even mid-range devices have moved to OLED. The screen will apparently remain 720p, but Bloomberg claims docked mode will feature a resolution change. When this rumored Switch is docked, it might support 4K output.
The Switch’s lack of support for 4K screens has been a sticking point for gamers who have grown accustomed to higher resolutions, but 1080p was the best the Switch could manage. Developers have complained about the complications of supporting two different resolutions, but the gap will be even bigger if the console steps up to 4K.
The Switch Lite launched in 2019 with a smaller screen and no support for docked mode.
We don’t know anything about the internals at this point, but it’s safe to assume the device will still have an Nvidia Tegra chip. The GPU on that chip doesn’t have enough power to render games reliably at 4K — it can struggle at 1080p sometimes. The going speculation is that it will leverage Nvidia’s DLSS technology, which uses AI to sharpen and upscale graphics. We know the Tegra can run DLSS because it’s enabled on the Shield Android TV. However, DLSS would use more power, so it might be limited to docked 4K mode.
Bloomberg’s sources suggest the new display panels will ship to manufacturers around July. That would give Nintendo just enough time to get units manufactured and on the market in time for the holidays. This isn’t the first time rumors have pointed to a new hi-end Switch, but we’re more willing to believe it now. Nintendo will be looking for a way to prop up sales this year as the newer and more advanced PS5 and Xbox Series X become more widely available.