Nintendo Switch OLED: what are the advantages of the OLED screen?

The new Nintendo Switch will be equipped with an OLED screen. This is the major difference of this Switch “Pro” compared to the classic version. Is this technical development worth it? To better understand it, we must first dwell on what OLED is.

The new Nintendo Switch is here. This Tuesday, July 6, 2021, after months of waiting, the Japanese manufacturer has formalized the new version of its hybrid console. And while everyone has nicknamed it “Switch Pro” for months, this new model is actually going to be called “Nintendo Switch OLED model” in connection with its 7-inch OLED screen. But why is Nintendo so insistent on this screen?

OLED is actually a type of screen already used in some of our TVs, smartphones or tablets. This technology is an improvement over the liquid crystal displays (LCD) which still dominate the market. The “classic” Switch is also equipped with an LCD screen.

The new Nintendo Switch OLED // Source: YouTube / Nintendo

Better autonomy, better contrasts

More expensive to build and more difficult to master, OLED nevertheless has many advantages. First of all, OLED displays don’t require backlighting, because each pixel will produce its own light. LCD screens themselves must be based on a lighting system placed behind the panel. OLED therefore allows, among other things, to create thinner screens.

But that’s not all. As each pixel is independent, OLED also offers much deeper contrasts. To display black areas on the screen, the OLED can simply turn off some of its pixels. A feat that LCD screens cannot, because turning off the backlight means turning off the screen.

A “traditional” LCD screen backlighting system // Source: Wikimedia – Neotesla

This granularity in the management of light also allows OLED to be more energy efficient since some corners of the screen may occasionally be turned off. On an LCD screen, black areas are actually black pixels illuminated by the backlight system. Which explains why black people are never quite black on this kind of screen. OLED displays can also reach peaks of higher maximum brightness than LCD screens.

An even complicated production

For all these reasons, OLED is therefore a popular technology in the industry and it is not surprising to see it arrive on this new Nintendo Switch. But OLED is also a capricious technology with colors that can quickly turn to fluorescent if the factory calibration phase has not been done correctly. The factories dedicated to the production of OLED screens also produce a lot of misfires, and their profitability has not yet reached that of the factories dedicated to the LCD, because they have been in operation for less time.

Nintendo is therefore making a bet with this new Switch, especially in times of shortage. We can still hope that the manufacturer has done things correctly and that the OLED Switch will really offer ” intense colors and high contrasts ” advertisement.

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