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Nintendo Switch Pro: Everything we know so far (July 6)
It might be hard to fathom, but the Nintendo Switch is over four years old. Even when it launched, the hybrid gaming console was no powerhouse. Since then, there have been tons of rumors that an upgraded version of the device could be on the way, tentatively known as the Nintendo Switch Pro.
However, on July 6, 2o21, Nintendo surprised us all with the launch of a Nintendo Switch OLED Model. This wasn’t a “Pro” model but did feature a few upgrades over the regular edition. Does the existence of this new model negate the rumors of the Pro model?
Below, you’ll find everything we know so far about the so-called Nintendo Switch Pro. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can stay up-to-date on the latest rumors!
Name and release date
Nintendo is one of the most secretive technology companies around. As such, there is no tangible proof that a Pro-level Switch is even on the way, let alone the name for that console.
It does appear that a lot of the rumors attributed to a so-called “Nintendo Switch Pro” were actually for the OLED Model. This includes the October release date (the OLED Model comes out on October 8, 2021).
Still, there were rumors that a Switch model with the word “Pro” in the name was on the way. An errant listing on the Mexican version of Amazon, for example, called out a “New Nintendo Switch Pro.” That lines up with the upgraded version of the Nintendo 3DS, which landed as the New Nintendo 3DS. It’s possible the company could carry over that naming strategy to the Switch line in the future.
For now, though, we have to assume that the rumors about a Switch Pro were actually for the OLED Model. Of course, this doesn’t negate the possibility that a Pro could land at some other point, possibly in 2022 or 2023.
Nintendo Switch Pro: Design
Since a Switch Pro would not be a Nintendo Switch 2, we wouldn’t expect the design of the device to deviate too far from what we’ve already seen with the vanilla Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED. You can expect the console to be a tablet-sized display with removable Joy-Con attached on either side. It should also have a dock for connecting the console to your television.
That being said, we do expect plenty of improvements. For example, a Switch Pro would need to have an OLED panel, now that the OLED Model has set that bar. OLED allows for better battery life as well as deeper blacks and better color contrast.
If the device does really land as the Nintendo Switch Pro, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some upgrades to the Joy-Con themselves. There could be better build materials, taller analog sticks, or even additional buttons. However, that’s just speculation at this point.
Early on, there were rumors that the Switch Pro could be a TV-only console. This would make a degree of sense considering the Switch Lite is handheld-only and the vanilla Switch and Switch OLED can swap back and forth. However, we haven’t seen any hard evidence to support this rumor for now, and are assuming it is incorrect until we hear otherwise.
Regardless, we expect the real upgrades for this product to be under the hood. See the next section for more on that!
Specs and features
The one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the Nintendo Switch Pro could support 4K in docked mode. This would be a nice upgrade over the current Switch and Switch OLED Model, which are locked to 1080p. We don’t know if the display would support 1080p in handheld mode or stick with the 720p resolution of the current models, though.
How would Nintendo achieve this with such a small form factor? Well, we don’t expect an upgraded processor, for one. Instead, Nintendo could just overclock the current processor, which is a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 Plus. If you combined this overclocking with AI upscaling, it would be totally possible to achieve 4K output. However, this wouldn’t be the true 4K we’ve seen with standalone consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 5. Instead, it would be similar to what we saw with the PlayStation 4 Pro, which used upscaling to bring its native 1440p resolution to 4K for supported televisions.
We expect the Switch Pro to support 4K, but it likely won't be 'true' 4K.
There are easier upgrades that could be on offer, too. For one, the Nintendo Switch only comes with 32GB of internal storage, which is a paltry amount. The Nintendo Switch OLED Model comes with 64GB, so the Pro would need to at least double that to 128GB or, even better, quadruple it to 256GB.
The bottom line here is that rumors support the idea that the Switch Pro could be faster and produce higher-quality images. It’s very possible it could also have more storage and maybe even longer battery life.
Nintendo Switch Pro: Price and availability
At a list price of $299, the Nintendo Switch is a bargain when compared to other home consoles. The $199 Switch Lite is even more wallet-friendly. Even the OLED Model is just $349. Invariably, though, a Nintendo Switch Pro would need to be more expensive than all of these.
Keep in mind that current Switch models are so tricky to buy that they can easily sell for $399 or more. Nintendo could probably get away with setting the list price of a Pro model much higher.
The availability of the console is the true wildcard. With the ongoing global chip shortage still in full swing — so much so that even getting a four-year-old Switch is difficult — we can expect heavy shortages of a Switch Pro, if it ever lands.
That’s everything we’ve got so far on the Nintendo Switch Pro! Don’t forget to bookmark this page as we will update it as new rumors come down the pipeline.