What we actually want from an upgraded Nintendo Switch
Rumors about a long-desired upgrade to the Nintendo Switch have been swirling for some time, and this week, Bloomberg reported that this fabled new Switch might actually be coming soon.
This upgraded Switch will apparently have a 7-inch 720p OLED screen that can output 4K graphics when connected to a TV, according to the report. An OLED screen would be a major upgrade from the Switch and Switch Lite’s LCD, likely providing deeper colors and darker blacks. And the 4K output would be a big jump, too; right now, the current Switch tops out at a 1080p resolution when hooked up to a TV.
But a lot of us here at The Verge still like our existing Switches quite a bit, even those of us with the launch model that debuted four years ago this week. The changes we’re clamoring for aren’t necessarily an OLED screen or additional performance. (In fact, it might be annoying if additional horsepower led to Switch Pro-exclusive games like when Nintendo introduced the New Nintendo 3DS.) And while more battery life would always be appreciated, we’re mostly hoping it just doesn’t dip below the bar Nintendo set with the Switch v2 revision.
Here’s our list.
Better Joy-Cons (and more colors)
The Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, while a creative design that offers more ways to play the console and a handy way to get two controllers in every box, have notoriously unreliable thumbsticks, with many users reporting joystick drift issues over time. Nintendo has said little about what appears to be a widespread problem, but the company did implement a free repair policy in 2019 for users having issues. Nintendo also didn’t use the launches of the Switch Lite and the second revision of the current Switch to fix drift issues, so they’re still ongoing — this could be another chance for Nintendo to make it right.
Other changes could simply make the Joy-Cons better controllers. Putting a real D-pad on the left Joy-Con, similar to the D-pad on the Nintendo Switch Lite, might make playing platformers and fighting games a lot easier than mashing the left Joy-Con’s current four-button design. Slightly bigger shoulder triggers could make the Switch easier to hold in your hands. And I’d really like more colors — perhaps Nintendo could offer an Xbox Design Lab-like way to deck out my Switch and its Joy-Cons when I buy it?
Bluetooth headphone support
Using Bluetooth headphones with your Switch is surprisingly hard: you’ve got to buy and plug a third-party Bluetooth adapter into the headphone jack, the console’s USB-C port, or the Switch’s docking station. (Even though the Joy-Cons use Bluetooth, the Switch has never come with Bluetooth audio support.)
The demand for Bluetooth audio was so strong a whole cottage industry of third-party adapters has sprung up — just search “Nintendo Switch Bluetooth adapter” on Amazon to see some of the many offerings available. But even if you buy, most of these dongles awkwardly stick out of the console’s USB-C port, requiring you to remove them to charge, and some feel like they could snap off if you aren’t looking out.
A Switch with native support for Bluetooth headphones might be particularly nice for playing in bed, no extra dongle or wired earbuds required.
A Quick Resume-like feature
We’ve really liked Quick Resume on the Xbox Series X / S, which lets you swap between games without having to boot them from scratch before getting back to where you left off. We think the Switch would really benefit from a similar feature, especially since it has so many games that you can jump into for a few minutes at a time. Imagine hopping from a visit to your friend’s Animal Crossing island to a Hades run to a quick bout in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, all without having to wait for the games to cold boot each time — sounds great, right?
One Verge editor would also really, really like not to have to find a save point in his JRPG every time their partner wants to tidy up their Animal Crossing island.
A better kickstand
The current Switch’s kickstand seemed like a good idea at first, but in practice, it isn’t quite as useful as we had hoped. It’s small, unstable, only clicks into one angle, and, terrifyingly, snaps off rather easily (though it’s easy to put back on). That means the kickstand works best on flat and still surfaces at only one angle — which hasn’t been all that great for many situations where we’ve actually wanted to stand up the Switch, like on an airplane or in the backseat of a car.
One thing many of us really want is for Nintendo to fix this with a bigger, Microsoft Surface-style kickstand. Not only would that make the console much more stable stood up, but it could also be adjusted to many different viewing angles, which could be really handy for things like backseat Mario Kart races.
Glass screen and smaller bezels
The current Switch has a plastic screen that scratches very easily — many Verge staffers have immediately slapped inexpensive tempered glass screen protectors on their consoles to avoid permanent scuffs. A lot of us are hoping Nintendo adds a glass screen to this new model that’s more scratch-resistant so we don’t need to add our own.
A bigger screen hopefully means that we’ll see smaller bezels, too, which would give the console a more premium feel. The current Switch has giant black bezels that reveal just how much space could still be filled by screen. And if you’ve used the Nintendo Switch Lite, while it has a smaller screen, the bezels also aren’t as prominent, which makes the Lite’s screen’s smaller size less obvious.
An upgraded dock
The Switch’s current dock works well enough — it gives the Switch a place to charge and helps the console connect to the TV — but we’d like it more if it was smaller, had magnets to make the Switch just a bit more secure, and a built-in Ethernet port, since plugging in a USB-A to Ethernet adapter to get wired internet is a clunky solution.
A good name
Nintendo isn’t exactly known for easy-to-remember hardware names. This is the company that signified an entirely new console generation with the letter U, released a handheld called the New Nintendo 2DS XL, and released a smaller version of the Switch that can’t actually “switch” at all.
While it seems likely Nintendo will just call it the “Switch Pro” or “Switch Plus” or maybe the “Super Nintendo Switch” for fun, we thought we’d also come up with a few names Nintendo can throw in the trash right now:
Nintendo Switch Max
New Nintendo Switch i XL
Nintendo Switch VII Remake Intergrade
Nintendo Switch HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue 358/2 days χ[Chi] øø™
2 Nintendo 2 Switch
Nintendo Switch 3(+ months between game releases)
The Nintendo Switch, which turned four years old this week, still doesn’t have a Netflix app. Perhaps the added potential horsepower of a 4K-enabled Switch means we’ll finally be able to watch Bridgerton.