What is the Nintendo Switch Pro? Everything we know about the highly rumoured console

What is the Nintendo Switch Pro? Everything we know about the highly rumoured console

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Update (06/07/21):

The highly-rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro was finally unveiled today, with a new name and a full breakdown of features. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch OLED model - as it is now called - doesn't allow 4K output, but it does tout a new 7-inch OLED screen, 64GB of memory, dedicated LAN port and new onboard speakers. It's available in both White and Neon Red/Blue when it launches here in the UK on October 8th, 2021. Pre-orders are expected to go LIVE! soon.

Update (27/05/21):

The most substantiated evidence we’ve seen relating to the Nintendo Switch Pro’s existence yet again comes courtesy of Bloomberg. The online news site claims that Nintendo will begin manufacturing of the upgraded console as early as July, with plans to release this new hardware in September or October. This is according to sources close to Bloomberg, who also suggest that the so-called Switch Pro will launch higher than the standard model’s £279 price point.

All this is expected to happen in advance of this year’s digital E3 conference, in order to allow developers and publishers to show off new games specifically designed for the new tech. Bloomberg’s article goes on to say that the Switch Pro’s commercial name has already been settled on, though it’s still known only to a few select people in Nintendo. We’re yet to hear a response to these claims from Nintendo itself, but it’s looking more and more likely that the existing Switch won’t be the most technically proficient way to play Nintendo games by the end of 2021.

Update (04/03/21):

Yesterday Bloomberg published a report seemingly confirming that the Nintendo Switch Pro is indeed real and will release Holiday 2021. Its main new feature will be the addition of a larger OLED touch screen developed by Samsung, which Nintendo hopes will help the console rival its next-gen competitors going into the Christmas holidays. Nintendo itself is yet to comment on Bloomberg’s insider findings.

The Samsung screens are scheduled to enter production as early as this June, serving as “7-inch, 720p-resolution OLED panels” that will sit neatly into the device. Prospective purchasers can also expect to see a significant step up in graphical fidelity from the Nintendo Switch Pro, as Bloomberg sources claim that “4K ultra-high definition graphics when paired with TVs”. This would place the handheld console squarely on the same level playing field as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

There’s no word yet as to whether the Switch Pro will be released alongside a new Joy-Con variant, but history shows that Nintendo has a tendency of trying to not split the player base while in the middle of a console generation. 2021 marks the 4-year anniversary of then the original Nintendo Switch model hit store shelves, so a mid-step hardware upgrade in the form of a Nintendo Switch Pro is to be expected. 

Original article:

The Nintendo Switch exploded onto the gaming scene way back in March 2017, which will mean that this year marks the wildly successful hybrid console’s fourth anniversary. We can’t believe it either! Fact is if this were a PlayStation or Xbox console we were discussing, you can bet that a new mid-step console upgrade would be hitting the market around about now. Nintendo, however, notoriously don’t like to play by the rulebook, but rumours continue the swirl concerning the existence of an alleged Nintendo Switch Pro.

What is the Nintendo Switch Pro? Well, we don’t know exactly, but in general terms it’s what many industry insiders highly expect to be a new and improved version of the Nintendo Switch. Usually these unsubstantiated rumours and titbits would warrant ignoring. Problem is that there’s been too many individual and unrelated mentions of the term ‘Nintendo Switch Pro’, which, regardless of whether that’s what it ends up being called, leads us to believe that it could be real – we may even see it launch in 2021.

In this advice guide we’ll be documenting every shred of evidence we’ve found so far related to the so-called Nintendo Switch Pro, helping to paint a better picture of what to expect.  

Nintendo Switch Pro – Better screen resolution

Much has been said about what differences the Nintendo Switch Pro will have compared to the standard model. And one of the most popular theories revolves around a boosted screen resolution. The standard Nintendo Switch currently touts a 6.2-inch LCD screen capable of achieving 720p quality when played in handheld and a still impressive 1080p (Full HD) resolution if you dock it and play on your television. This level of visual quality works well for the casual audience Nintendo has worked hard to cultivate lately, but hardcore gamers with a 4K-capable setup have been screaming out for more.

Luckily, a recent news article published at VideoGamesChronicle revealed certain details uncovered by a known dataminer SciresM, who claimed that there was reference of 4K resolution support present in the Switch’s latest firmware update. The new firmware also allegedly makes several references to some form of hardware codenamed ‘Aula’. Could this be the highly prophesised Nintendo Switch Pro? It’s a safe bet.

This lines up with a report from September 2020, when credible rumours suggested that Nintendo had started telling its developers to make their forthcoming titles 4K-ready. This indicates that there is a strong likelihood that the Nintendo Switch Pro will support 4K visuals – at least when it’s in docked mode. This has left us frothing at the mouth just at the thought of a Breath of the Wild sequel running in 4K. Like many people, we hope this turns out to be true.

Nintendo Switch Pro – Extended battery life

Though the current model Nintendo Switch is technically both a handheld and home console hybrid, many players exclusively choose to play their Switch in handheld mode. This can be a bit of a problem when you consider that it currently has an estimated battery life of between 2.5 and 6.5 hours. These numbers were slightly boosted again (up to 9 hours) when the Nintendo Switch V2 arrived on store shelves towards the end of 2019, yet continuing Nintendo Switch Pro rumours indicate that the console’s battery life could once again be bettered since technology has improved.

What evidence is there for this? Well, according to Japanese outlet Economic Daily News (via NintendoLife), Nintendo wants to partner up with Taiwanese company Innolux to improve the image quality of the Switch screen and potential battery life using what’s called “Mini LED” display technology. The site suggests that by swapping out the LCD screen for this Mini LED alternative battery life, the Nintendo Switch Pro will be able to draw power more efficiently to areas of the screen that require illumination. Could this new hardware speed past 10 hours of play time?

Nintendo Switch Pro – Improved performance

Rarely does a first-party Nintendo Switch title run poorly or struggle to maintain a solid framerate. That’s because in-house studios have become perfectly attuned to working on the console’s Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset. Every so often, though, certain third-party games can be choppier in terms of performance quality. It’s hard to blame them considering that the current Switch model is less powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One; even more so when you compare it to the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X which are now current-gen.

A Nintendo Switch Pro could potentially solve some of these issues, with an article from Digitimes dated as far back as last January seemingly indicating that the new model will tout an improved version of the Nvidia Tegra architecture. Industry analysts have likened this performance jump to that of the difference between PS4 and PS4 Pro, as anything other than that would require using a different CPU all together. The Nintendo Switch Pro isn’t believed to be a full generational jump for Nintendo, but rather a significant boost of power and performance within the same eco-system.

Nintendo Switch Pro – Release date

Of all the leaks and rumours that have circled so far, nobody can seemingly agree on when the Nintendo Switch Pro will release exactly. Production of the upgraded model is thought to have already started, so there’s every possibility that we could see it hit the market some time in 2021. However, of all the major platform holders Nintendo looks to have suffered the most from COVID-19 related delays, at least on the software side, and who knows whether the trickled-out launch of PS5 and Xbox Series S|X was enough to put them off from launching earlier than planned.

We’ll be sure to update this advice guide with any new relevant information regarding the Nintendo Switch Pro, but that’s just about it for now.

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