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Nintendo Switch 2 looks like it will get an LCD screen — here’s why I’m out

 Nintendo switch oledn handheld display.
Nintendo switch oledn handheld display.

Do you like OLED displays, dear friends? Then please, take a seat. Can I offer you a glass of wate… oh screw it, let’s cut straight to the potentially terrible news. We’ve heard similarly gloomy reports before, but the latest one has us truly believing the Nintendo Switch 2 will have an LCD screen.

Apologies, I need to put my head between my legs for a few seconds.

The most recent scuttlebutt comes from Omdia analyst Hiroshi Hayase (cheers, BNN Bloomberg). Said analyst predicts Nintendo will launch Nintendo Switch 2 this year — technically he refers to it as a “new console” from Nintendo. But c’mon? What else could it be? Wii U 2?

The most alarming suggestion is one that we’ve reported before: Switch 2 will be downgraded to an LCD screen, not an OLED one. I really hope that’s not the case, as I’m about to get into.

The rumored new device supposedly packs in an 8-inch screen, substantially larger than the launch model Nintendo Switch"

The rumored new device supposedly packs in an 8-inch screen, substantially larger than the launch model Nintendo Switch that measures in at just 6.2-inches, and bigger than even the wonderful Nintendo Switch OLED and its 7-inch panel.

As part of Bloomberg’s reporting, it mentions an Osaka-based firm known as Sharp Corp. announced that last year, it was going to be “supplying LCD panels and working closely with the maker of an upcoming console that was then at the R&D stage.” The key takeaway here is that Sharp is owned by Foxconn Technology Group, who wouldn’t you just know it, “worked with Nintendo in the past and served as a Switch assembler during the pandemic.”

If you love Nintendo Switch OLED even half as much as me, this news could truly be the dawning of a dark new age. Or ironically, a far grayer one. Let’s be honest, with its uninspiring LCD panel, the OG Switch couldn't get anywhere near dark enough to produce true black levels. And sadly, it’s to this gray place The Big N is seemingly forcing its most dedicated fans back to.

From a manufacturing perspective, I totally get it. LCD screens are cheaper to produce than their OLED equivalents, and why shouldn’t Nintendo save some serious dinero when your average Switch player would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the LCD Switch and Switch OLED if you removed their Joy-Cons?

Yet if this latest rumor is true, it’s a pretty devastating blow to Switch OLED owners. That little 7-inch screen is a sensation, and second only to the astonishing HDR panel of Steam Deck OLED.

Raised from the OLED

Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo Switch OLED

An OLED screen makes a night and day difference in games like Metroid: Dread and Alien: Isolation placed next to the original LCD handheld. The notion of going backwards to a display technology that can’t self dim its pixels, doesn’t handle motion clarity all that well and is stuck with often horrible image uniformity makes this display dweeb truly sad.

Before the Steam Deck OLED rocked up onto the scene, the Switch OLED was the poster child for how you pull off a brilliant handheld refresh.

If Nintendo truly is planning to put LCD screens back into its latest handheld hybrid, I can’t see that as anything but a massive backwards step. The picture quality is such a significant upgrade on the OLED model that a regression to LCD tech can’t be seen as anything less than a massive slap in the face to fans who care about picture quality. Granted, this rumored downgrade is coming from a company that’s tried to pretend anti-aliasing isn’t a thing for the past decade. So maybe it’ shouldn't be a huge surprise.

It’s definitely not a shocker when you consider what a massive sales success the Switch has been. Nintendo’s malleable machine has sold a staggering 132 million units — for context, the company’s massively successful Wii sold but a mere 101 million consoles.

Hardcore Ninty fans just have to face the hard truth: You may love that screen on your Nintendo Switch OLED, but the Japanese giant is going to sell truckloads of Switch 2 units regardless of what screen tech the device is rocking.

As someone who values OLED technology more than most, I think going back to an LCD panel for Switch 2 would be a colossal mistake"

As someone who values OLED technology more than most, I personally think going back to an LCD panel for Switch 2 would be a colossal mistake. Then again, I’m a massive screen nerd who almost certainly doesn’t speak for the vast majority of Nintendo’s core audience.

If the next Switch has to be burdened with a subpar LCD display — and I’m sorry, but all LCD screens are subpar in 2024 by my standards — then I may not buy one. Then again, if it still rocks a dock like its predecessor and allows me to connect the rumored handheld to my LG G3 OLED, I guess I’m back in.

It will just mean any chance of this Nintendo fan playing an LCD Switch 2 in Handheld mode is about as likely as me scaling Mount Everest using chopsticks… with a rhinoceros strapped to my brittle back.

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