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HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook review: an incredible device too ahead of its time
4:00 pm | March 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Two-minute review

Right off the bat, I love the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook. Everything from its attractive style (at least in its Ceramic White colorway) to the pleasure of actually using it for work, this is a laptop I would consider buying myself once this review is done. But if there's one thing I can hold against this device, it's that it might be a bit too ahead of its time.

There will come a day, hopefully soon, when Chrome OS can truly compete with the best laptops running Windows or macOS, namely the MacBook Air (M2) and the Dell XPS 13 (2022).

Both of those devices are roughly around the same price as the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, though you do get some better specs for the money with the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook than you do with either Dell's best laptop or Apple's featherweight juggernaut.

What you don't get is the sophisticated app ecosystems of either Windows or macOS like Adobe Creative Cloud, which is the kind of thing that a lot of freelancers out there are going to rely on for their work. For those freelancers, the apps available for photo and video editing in Chrome OS are coming along, but they are nowhere near a truly professional environment. You'll still need Windows or a Mac for that.

So even though I feel like this is the best Chromebook you can buy right now without going for an enterprise device like the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, only a certain class of hybrid worker or independent creative is really going to find this device a good fit.

This device is specifically geared towards and marketed to the freelance worker, the kind that's going to be chatting with clients and spending an inordinate amount of time in Google's software suite. For those users, this device is actually the first Chromebook I'd argue can actually compete with Apple and the rest. 

Maybe not in terms of its robustness or compatibility, but because for a lot of modern freelancers, everything is based in the cloud anyway, so a MacBook or XPS device is frankly overkill for their needs. This is exactly the kind of niche where a Chromebook is perfect, and is in fact ahead of its time in predicting the cloud-based future of work.

It's disappointing, then, that this device is priced as it is, since it puts it squarely between the XPS 13 and the MacBook Air, which isn't a great place for it to be given that it's a Chromebook. You can get nearly all of the benefits of the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook in the XPS 13 (2022), and that device is both configurable and has a lower starting price. And, for just a bit more money, you can get an M2 MacBook Air, which offers a whole lot more than a Chromebook can, even if it's lower on the spec spectrum than the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook.

There are some benefits to the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook though that make a strong case for opting for this device over those other two, but it ultimately boils down to your wanting to get a Chromebook over the competition. If that's you, then the choice is easy, since this device really doesn't have any competition among rival Chromebooks at this point.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Price & availability

An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much does it cost? $999.99 (about £900 / AU$1,450)
  • When is it available? March 16, 2023
  • Where can you get it? Right now, you can get it in the US, with UK and Australia pricing and availability to come

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is available now for $999 in the US. We've reached out to HP about UK and Australian availability and will update this review when we have that information, but I expect it will cost about £900 / AU$1,450 when it goes on sale in those regions.

There are no configurations to worry about here, as there is only one model of Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, but it does come in two different colorways, Ceramic White and Sparkling Black. I will tell you right now that the Ceramic White color option is the way to go here. It's stunning.

Now, $999 might sound like a lot for a Chromebook, and you're not wrong, but the hardware available in this device definitely justifies the price. If there's any quibble I have it's that its specs are much too premium for a Chromebook, and some tighter specs could have brought the price down a bit.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Specs

It's not often you see premium specs in a Chromebook. Chrome OS is a very lightweight OS designed to mostly connect to the internet and run cloud apps with a limited amount of locally installed software.

Despite that, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook throws some impressive kit at that limited system footprint, giving the system way more resources than it will likely use for at least a few years. 

To be honest, a Chromebook is probably the only circumstance where I'd argue that 8GB RAM is sufficient in a laptop. It also goes with an Intel U-series processor rather than the more robust P-series chip we see in the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, which is one of those 'gaming Chromebooks' you might have heard about. This is definitely the right call, since you won't need more than that for this device.

There also isn't a whole lot of storage, but again, this isn't meant to have a bunch of programs packed onto the SSD, so 256GB is more than enough for media storage more than anything else.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Design

An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Stunning aesthetic
  • Great port selection
  • Display is as good as it gets outside of OLED

The design of the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is its best selling point, in my opinion, since it's a damn fine-looking laptop. The white ceramic finish is very eye-catching, as is the RGB backlighting on the keyboard. This isn't gamer RGB, mind you, but it's meant to match the primary color on your desktop background, and it will even change in real-time when your background changes. It's a small feature, but it's a well-implemented one.

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An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

For a device that's meant to be connected to the internet and work via the cloud, there are a lot of ports on this device, and they're all Thunderbolt 4, which means you can output video to an external USB-C monitor if you need more room. The display is well-sized though, so you might not need it. 14-inch isn't a whole lot of space, but the thin bezels mean that you get a nearly 88% screen-to-body ratio.

The display also claims a stunningly bright 1200 nits at full shine, but our tests show it gets an average brightness higher than that at 1,275.6 nits. The display panel was custom engineered just for this Chromebook, and that was money well spent on HP's part as far as I'm concerned.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Performance

  • Some of the best Chromebook performance we've seen
  • Well-futureproofed

On the performance front, with hardware this powerful, you shouldn't be surprised that this device is a top-tier performer in its class, even blowing its far more expensive older sibling, the Dragonfly Elite Chromebook out of the water.

It's harder to benchmark Chromebooks since there are so few standard tools that will work with ChromeOS, but on those tests we were able to run, the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook outperformed the much more premium Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, sometimes by a healthy margin.

Of particular note, for the web browser benchmarks, the WebGL Aquarium test with 30,000 rendered fish was the only time I heard the fans on the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook kick in, but generally I didn't find the laptop getting uncomfortably hot under load (not like the HP Dragonfly Pro Windows laptop, which can run hot unless you patch the BIOS with an update).

An HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on a ruled pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Finally, the battery life is a solid all-workday battery life if you're mostly doing web activities, but you can also stretch it out to about seven hours if you're watching movies on a long flight if you keep the brightness down and turn off the keyboard backlight. Even at half-brightness, you're still staring at 600 nits, which will burn down your battery in no time, so make sure to leave adaptive display brightness turned on to maximize battery life and visibility.

One final thing to note is that if you ever run into issues with the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, HP offers dedicated technical support as a subscription service, with the first year included with purchase, as well as accidental damage protection for drops, spills, and the rest, though you'll have to pay monthly for the latter (covers one incident every 12 months; up to 3 over 36 months).

The technical support is live-support too, it should be noted, and HP assures me that representatives have been specially trained to provide assistance on this Chromebook, so they know what they're talking about, rather than reading off a scripted decision tree. Whether you need that help is up to you, but it's nice that it's there. If you do make this Chromebook the center of your work life, it's not a bad idea to make sure your hard work is protected.

Should you buy the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook?

Buy it if...

You want the best performing Chromebook around  
This Chromebook wants to be taken as seriously as the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, and fortunately it has best-in-class performance to help its case. 

You want a gorgeous laptop
Put simply, this laptop is stunning to look at - if you get it in Ceramic White, that is.

Don't buy it if...

You want a budget-y Chromebook
This is a premium item with premium specs, so expect to pay for all this hardware.

You need to do visually creative work
This isn't so much an issue with this Chromebook as it is with Chromebooks in general: the OS just isn't really there yet when it comes to professional visual workflows.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Also consider

If my HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...

How I tested the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

  • I spent about a month with the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook
  • I tested it doing the kind of work that a freelancer might do (i.e., writing, video conferencing, etc)
  • I used a mix of in-house and commercial benchmarking tools

I used this laptop off and on as my main work device for a little over a month, so I've put in more than 200 hours with it overall.

I especially tested out its "freelance" workloads, so video conferencing, productivity work, some light multimedia editing work, and interfacing with web apps like SalesForce.

I've covered laptops for years now, so I know quality when I see it, while also seeing where a laptop comes up short. I've also been a freelancer for about a decade, in one capacity or another, so I'm very familiar with the kind of customer this laptop is marketed towards, since it's pretty much targeted at people like me.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2023

Sony’s new X95L mini-LED TV gets closer to OLED contrast, but it’s not there yet
4:46 pm | March 2, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Sony's range of 2023 TVs includes the Sony X95L mini-LED model, as well as a lower-end Sony X93L mini-LED model in some countries, including the US (but not the UK). Sony hasn't confirmed pricing or release date yet, but these sets will sit below the flagship Sony A95L QD-OLED TV and above the more mid-range Sony X90L full-array LED TV, and should launch during the first half of 2023 to challenge the best TVs in the world.

I had the chance to see the Sony X95L in action with test footage and movie scenes, in a direct comparison with last-year's Sony X95K equivalent model, and the LG C2 OLED TV, along with a Sony reference monitor (the kind used in actual film production for being near 'perfect' pictures), all showing the same images.

The good news is that the Sony X95L is a great upgrade on last year's model, adding extra brightness that makes the whole picture pop, way more detail in dark scenes, and with a little extra sharpness and smoothness in motion, based on my time with it.

That will be partly thanks to the latest-gen XR image processor, which includes a new XR Clear Image algorithm that now analyzes the exact bitrate, resolution and source of video when upscaling it, so it's less of a one-size-fits-all approach to improving low-res video. 

The latest XR Backlight Master Drive algorithm comes from the processor, so it can drive a higher number of dimming zones in the backlight. As a result, the X95L is capable of better dynamic range when light and dark areas are next to each other, and less blooming (where the light bleeds from bright areas into dark areas, causing black tones to look gray).

I was viewing all of the TVs in their 'Vivid' mode, or equivalent (with the exception of the Sony reference monitor, obviously), and yet the X95L also impressed me with how much closer it was to the color tone of the reference monitor than the previous model was – I assume that will be even better when viewed in a more movie-friendly mode, but we'll have to wait for our full review to judge that.

The Sony X95L on a TV stand, with an image showing a Japanese house

(Image credit: Future)

The new Sony X95L is an improvement in almost every way compared to last year's version, then, but the comparison with the LG C2 OLED is more complicated. As anyone who knows anything about mini-LED and this kind of mid-range OLED screen would expect, the maximum brightness of the Sony was way, way beyond what the LG C2 is capable of. 

In individual scene highlights, this is clear; in sports or other bright settings with lots of colors, the difference is actually even clearer – the average brightness (not just in HDR highlights) is so much higher in the mini-LED TV. At a cursory glance, all this extra pop can easily make it seem the more appealing TV.

And it seems to have other advantages too – Sony's motion processing appears to be superior, and in the scenes we saw there was less color banding in big blocks of color, such as skies. This means, in the case of the examples we saw, you get a more realistic and natural graduation of colors in the huge (but subtly different) range of blue tones that make up any shot of the sky.

Again, this might vary depending on the mode, so we'll reserve full judgment until we can test it ourselves.

The Sony X95L on a TV stand, with an image showing a Japanese house

(Image credit: Future)

However, it was also clear that despite the big improvement in detail in dark areas, it loses out to OLED in that area. More texture was visible in the darkest areas on the C2, for example, and the dark areas appeared elevated (meaning more gray than near-black) in the hardest scenes.

And, of course, even though the X95L improves on the blooming from its mini-LED backlight compared to the older model, the contrast is still nowhere near as precise as OLED's self-lighting pixels deliver.

Also, although the punchier brightness is an advantage in many cases (especially if you watch in a bright room), and has an obvious appeal when put side-by-side with OLED, the LG C2's image overall looked closer to what I was also seeing on the Sony reference monitor.

I was watching in a dark room – the optimum way to view an OLED TV – so the C2 was really in its element. In a brighter room, the C2 may have been more washed-out among reflections, with the Sony A95L more able to push the picture through that. That's the advantage of bright mini-LED TVs.

The Sony X95L on a TV stand, with an image showing a Japanese house

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to sound, Sony is using a new Acoustic Multi Audio+ system here, which is a bit different to the Acoustic Surface Audio+ used in the Sony A95L. Rather than turning the screen into a speaker, this attaches tweeter drivers to the frame of TV high up on the left and right, combined with other speakers further down. The idea is to steer the sound to add positional audio, though I wasn't able to test this.

As is usual with higher-end Sony TVs, there's HDMI 2.1 support (on two of the four HDMI ports) for 4K 120Hz gaming with VRR. This TV is also 'Perfect for PlayStation 5', which means it supports the PS5's Auto HDR Tone Mapping (which means the PS5 adjusts the HDR of its pictures so it's optimal for your exact screen), and the auto-switching of gaming modes depending on the genre of game you're playing.

Sony's new gaming hub menu is also supported, which makes it easy to adjust specific gaming options, including raising black tones so you can see in the dark more easily, and even making the picture smaller within the screen, so that you can make it more 'glanceable' for some competitive games where that's an advantage.

It's hard to say where the Sony X95L is likely to fall in the scheme of the best 4K TVs without knowing its price, and without being able to test it in greater depth and under our own control; but if it can undercut the price of similar Sony QN95C, then it's shaping up to be a great choice for those who watch in a brighter room.

I tested Samsung’s QN95C Neo QLED 4K TV, and now OLED has reason to worry
4:00 pm | February 25, 2023

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The Samsung QN95C series is the company’s flagship line of Neo QLED 4K TVs for 2023, offering the widest range of features along with the latest picture quality refinements – the elite tech you'll find in the very best Samsung TVs

Neo QLED models differ from the company’s regular QLED TVs in that, along with a Quantum Dot layer for enhanced color and brightness, they incorporate a mini-LED backlight that allows for a more refined level of local dimming. Samsung is now several generations into Neo QLED, and this latest version is the best I’ve seen by a long shot.

That’s not to say that last year’s Samsung QN95B, a model that received a five-star rating in our review, along with a well-deserved place on our list of the best 4K TVs, was anything less than a stellar performer. But Samsung is on a mission to push the boundaries of what mini-LED-backlit LCD displays can deliver, even competing with the company’s OLED models like the Samsung S95C, and the QN95C clearly ups the ante.

I was invited by Samsung to do a hands-on test of a 65-inch QN95C ($3,299 / around £2,750 / AU$4,900) at the company’s New Jersey facility. While the room I tested it in was far from ideal – a glass door leading out into a well-lit hallway prevented me from viewing in a fully darkened environment – it was sufficient to get a very good sense of what this TV is capable of, including running my own measurements. 

Samsung-QN95C TV showing game bar onscreen

Samsung's Game Bar onscreen menu lets you quickly access gaming-related settings. (Image credit: Future)

 But first the details of the QN95C. Samsung’s flagship Neo QLED 4K TV isn’t yet available, but it will be sold in 65-, 75-, and 85-inch screen sizes. Unlike last year’s QN95B, the new model omits Samsung’s external One Connect box, and instead provides four built-in HDMI 2.1 ports that support up to 144Hz refresh rates, along with VRR and FreeSync Premium Pro.

The QN95C’s Neural Quantum Processor uses 14-bit processing and AI to upscale images to 4K resolution. A new Auto HDR Remastering feature is onboard to dynamically add HDR10+ high dynamic range to standard dynamic range images. (Like other Samsung TVs, the QN95C lacks support for Dolby Vision HDR.) The QN95C also features a new dimming tech that brings “improved brightness and grayscale control to accurately render both luminance and extreme details across the whole screen,” according to Samsung. Similar to the company’s QN900C flagship 8K Neo QLED model – you can read our early hands-on Samsung QN900C review too – the QN95C features an Anti-Glare screen plus Ultra Viewing Angle technology to improve off-axis viewing.

I didn’t get a chance to do a serious audio evaluation of the QN95C, but new upfiring speakers are provided that reproduce overhead effects in Dolby Atmos soundtracks, and these provided a real sense of spaciousness when I watched movie clips. The QN95C also features Object Tracking Sound+ to enhance the spatial accuracy of sound effects and Q-Symphony 3.0, which lets you combine the set’s built-in speakers with an external Samsung soundbar's speakers in one big soundscape.

Samsung-QN95C TV side view with gray wall in background

Even without an external One Connect box handling HDMI inputs, the QN95C's design is appealingly slim. (Image credit: Future)

Even with connections on Samsung’s flagship 4K Neo QLED now built into the TV rather than residing on an external One Connect box, the QN95C has an appealingly slim form factor. That’s because a new slim power board is used that, according to Samsung, optimizes efficiency while also allowing for the TV’s depth to be shrunk down to under 20mm thickness. Along with its four HDMI 2.1 ports (one with HDMI eARC), the QN95C provides an optical digital audio output and an RF input for connecting an indoor TV antenna to receive next-gen ATSC 3.0 digital TV broadcasts. It also comes with Samsung’s Solar Cell remote control, which collects ambient light to extend battery life.

During my hands-on test, I didn’t find Samsung’s Smart Hub interface to be radically different from the version found in 2022 TVs. You need a Samsung account to download apps and can edit some onscreen menu items for convenience. I did get a chance to check out the Game Bar menu, which provides quick onscreen access to gaming performance-related features. This feature is separate from Samsung’s Game Hub, which centralizes cloud gaming selections from Xbox, Nvidia GeForce NOW, Amazon Luna, Utomik, and more for console-free playback. AirPlay 2 is also supported on the QN95C for casting audio and video from Apple devices.

Samsung-QN95C TV back panel

The QN95C's four HDMI 2.1 inputs are located on a side mounted panel, along with an optical digital audio output and RF jack for an antenna. (Image credit: Future)

Beautifully bright

The QN95C’s Ultra Viewing Angle tech resulted in images remaining bright and with punchy contrast even at far off-center viewing positions, while the Anti-Glare screen was effective in reducing the effects of overhead lights (or, in this case, light beaming in from the adjacent hallway). When viewing full-screen white test patterns, Samsung’s flagship Neo QLED displayed excellent uniformity, and while I was unable to measure contrast due to the room’s sub-optimal lightning conditions, both black depth and uniformity appeared to be excellent.

Peak brightness measured on a 10% white window pattern in Filmmaker mode was 2,321 nits, an impressive result. Also impressive was the set’s input lag in Game mode, which measured 9.8ms, a result that easily ranks the QN95C among the best gaming TVs.

Switching back to Filmmaker mode, the QN95C’s measured coverage of UHD-P3 color space was 94% and its BT,2020 color space coverage 69.5%. This result was mostly in line with what was measured on the QN900C 8K TV, though below the performance level I measured during my hands-on Samsung’s S95C OLED TV review time – it looks like QD-OLED is the tech to beat for color.

Samsung-QN95C TV split screen showing test pattern at center and off-axis

The QN95C does a very good job maintaining brightness and contrast at off-center viewing positions, though color saturation drops off slightly. (Image credit: Future)

Blooming be gone

Turning to the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark disc’s video montage section, the set’s powerful light output let it reveal a wide range of highlight details in 4K HDR footage mastered at a 4,000 nits brightness level. But it was clips that are meant to test a TV’s local dimming capabilities that really cued me in to the QN95C’s performance. Many TVs, even mini-LED-backlit ones, will show “blooming” effects in sequences such as the brightly lit ferris wheel against a black background, which means that light from the bright areas is leaking into the dark ones, turning blacks to gray. The QN95C, in contrast, handled this material extremely well, and the same was true with reference movie scenes I watched.

When I did a hands-on test of Samsung’s QN90B in 2022, I noticed a high degree of judder in a scene from No Time to Die where a camera pans across James Bond walking on a craggy hillside. This was when viewing in Filmmaker mode, which disables any motion smoothing processing. Watching that same clip in Filmmaker mode on the QN95C, the camera motion was considerably smoother this time out.

A dark scene from Dune where the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother tests Paul also showed a fair amount of background noise on the QN90B, but was completely absent on the new QN95C. Samsung clearly has done work on its motion and picture processing, and the results can be seen in this next generation of Neo QLED TVs.

Samsung-QN95C TV showing ferris wheel onscreen

Test clips like this one showed the QN95C's local dimming to have an almost OLED-like ability to handle tough high-contrast images. (Image credit: Future)

Having had the opportunity to get a next-gen Neo QLED demonstration and tech explainer from Samsung at CES 2023, none of these improvements came as a surprise to me. But it was gratifying to confirm them in a hands-on test of the QN95C, which is the closest I’ve seen an LED-backlit TV come to delivering OLED-like picture quality. The best OLED TVs, including Samsung’s own OLEDs, for that matter, should be worried!

Nintendo Switch OLED review
2:49 pm | January 30, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Nintendo Switch OLED two-minute review 

The Nintendo Switch OLED appears like a re-skin of the standard Nintendo Switch, but when you start to look a little closer, you'll notice the significant upgrades it hosts, which build upon the foundations set by the original model. The impressive 7-inch display spotlights vivid colors and perfect blacks, which is a drastic improvement over the original LCD panel.

Outside of the display, the Nintendo Switch OLED hosts enhanced speakers to make gameplay without headphones far more enjoyable, and diving into the best games on Nintendo Switch has never sounded crisper.

In addition, the console has twice the amount of storage as the original Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, with a total of 64GB. However, it's still a paltry amount compared to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which offer far faster storage at significantly higher capacities. However, Switch games tend to be significantly smaller, and the console has a Micro SD slot, so you can always expand if needed.  

So far, so good, then... but Nintendo has shamelessly overlooked one of the three core pillars of the Switch experience – TV mode – and the new console is a hard sell as a result. Despite redesigning the console’s dock, adding smoother edges, more breathing room, and even a LAN port for those who like to play online, the OLED is surprisingly bare in this crucial sector.

Another great disappointment for Switch players playing on their televisions is that you’re still capped to a 1080p output; there’ll be no 4K upscaling. So whenever you dock the Nintendo Switch OLED, all of its major selling points miraculously disappear. This boggles my mind considering that this is a console that’s supposed to cater equally to three types of play. 

The lack of 4K output subsequently leads to a question that Nintendo cannot avoid when it comes to the Switch OLED: why are the internal specifications the same as the original Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite? If you're hoping for a Nintendo Switch Pro, you won't find that here. Production problems have dashed dreams of this.

Everything about this feels entirely at odds with the console's more premium feel. Countless titles and developers could have benefitted from a refresh of the Switch's aging components, so it's a shame Nintendo didn't respond to the clamor from both developers and consumers with the console approaching its sixth anniversary.

So who is the Nintendo Switch OLED model for, and is it worth splashing the cash to upgrade if you already own the original Switch or handheld-only Switch Lite? Well, if you’re new to the Switch line, the answer is a definite ‘yes’ – this is the best version of Nintendo's ingenious console to date and one that corrects many of the faults of the original model. 

If you play the Switch in handheld or tabletop mode, then nothing stops you from upgrading to the OLED. The OLED has much to offer thanks to the gorgeous 7-inch OLED screen, amazing speakers, and redesigned kickstand. However, if you currently have a Switch and use it primarily in TV mode, we can confidently say that the Switch OLED would be a luxury and unnecessary upgrade.

You can watch our Nintendo Switch OLED video review below:

Nintendo Switch OLED price and release date 

  • What is it? The fourth iteration of Nintendo's hybrid console
  • When did it come out? October 8, 2021
  • What does it cost? $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95

The Nintendo Switch OLED launched on October 8, 2021, and it's the fourth iteration of Nintendo's home console. It costs $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95, so it’s slightly more expensive than the original Nintendo Switch, which retails for $299.99 / £259.99 / AU$469.95, and it’s obviously a more considerable investment than the Nintendo Switch Lite, which costs $199.99 / £199.99 / AU$329.95.

The Nintendo Switch OLED model's higher price tag seems reasonable, however. The upgraded console comes with a larger, 7-inch OLED display, enhanced speakers, double the internal storage and a wider kickstand, and you also get a slightly improved dock that includes a LAN port for more stable online play.

Thankfully, Nintendo has confirmed there won't be a price hike just yet for the Nintendo Switch OLED, unlike the hikes for Oculus Quest 2 and PS5 that were blamed on global inflation. So, if you haven't picked up an OLED model yet, there's no need to rush.

Nintendo Switch OLED design

Nintendo Switch OLED with Joy-Con detached

(Image credit: Future)
  • Three modes: TV, handheld, and tabletop
  • Same detachable Joy-Con controllers
  • It comes with various accessories

If it weren't for the larger screen and new pristine white Joy-Con controllers, you'd be hard-pressed to notice any design differences between the Switch OLED and the original Switch. However, look a little closer, and several changes can be found. 

The new 7-inch OLED display is the most prominent new design feature, and it's surprisingly impactful, despite only being 0.8 inches larger than the original Switch's 6.2-inch screen. As a result, the Switch OLED is slightly bigger than its predecessor: it's 0.1 inches longer, at 9.5 x 0.55 x 4 inches (W x D x H), but it still feels immediately familiar in the hands. 

The Switch OLED has a bit more heft about it, though. It weighs 422 grams with the Joy-Con attached, about 22 grams more than the Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, we didn’t find that the added weight caused any fatigue when playing, but it's worth bearing in mind if you already feel like the Switch is a touch on the heavy side.

You'll find the same Nintendo Switch accessories we're used to seeing in the box: two Joy-Con controllers, a pair of Joy-Con straps, and a Joy-Con Grip. 

You also get the redesigned Nintendo Switch dock, which includes the new LAN port, which is slightly longer but not quite as deep as the original dock. There's a bit more wiggle room inside, too, which should allow for more efficient airflow and lessens the chance that you'll gradually scratch the Switch's screen by repeatedly putting it in and taking it out of the dock. The dock is also a touch lighter, not that you’ll be moving it very often, and it contains one fewer 2.0 USB port.

Nintendo Switch OLED in the dock

(Image credit: Future)

It's also worth noting that the Nintendo Switch OLED will work in the old dock, and the original Nintendo Switch will work in the new one. Both may require a system update, but it's pleasing to know that your old dock won't be rendered entirely useless.

Other Switch OLED design changes include a repositioned microSD slot, which sits behind the wider kickstand and is easier to find, a slightly more recessed power button that’s now oval-shaped, and a wider volume rocker. It also features smaller slits for the fans to exhaust hot air, which help to give the Switch OLED a more modern appearance. You also get a headphone jack, as on the other Switch models.

Nintendo Switch OLED stacked on top of the older Switch

(Image credit: Future)

Aesthetically speaking, the Nintendo Switch OLED hides the older Switch's product information and warnings. While it's a small addition, the back of the Switch now looks much cleaner as a result, with the info tucked discreetly away behind the new stand.

While we mostly welcome the Nintendo Switch OLED's more minor design touches, we severely dislike one change: the new Game Card slot. The little indentation on the original Switch's Game Card slot is gone, making it almost impossible to open if you don't have any fingernails. We found ourselves scratching at the Game Card's new slot countless times in an attempt to pry it open, and frankly, we can't understand why this change was made when it’s objectively worse.

Nintendo Switch OLED: handheld mode

Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 Edition

(Image credit: Nintendo)
  • The new 7-inch OLED display is a revelation
  • Still not the most ergonomic design
  • Joy-Con durability concerns remain
Vivid or Standard mode?

Press image of the Nintendo Switch OLED

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch OLED lets you choose between two screen settings: Vivid and Standard. Vivid is the default setting and provides extremely punchy and vibrant colors, which many will find pleasing. Standard, meanwhile, is more akin to the original Switch's color setting and provides a more natural and accurate picture. By heading to System Settings > System > Console Screen Vividness, you can see which suits you best.

Nintendo's Switch OLED model shines in handheld mode thanks to the vibrant new display. The 7-inch panel makes it easier to track the action in fast-paced games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the high-contrast display breathes new life into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Metroid Dread is an excellent showcase, too, as its dimly lit levels and alien-like color palette benefit from the OLED’s incredible contrast ratio.

Compared side-by-side with the new display, the original Switch’s LCD panel, almost looks washed out. Everything looks punchy and enticing on the OLED model – blacks, in particular, are inky and inviting on the OLED, whereas on the original, they look muted and gray.

The Switch OLED's display is still only 720p; however, games and text still looked sharp and legible when using the console in a comfortable position. We didn't encounter any motion blur issues, and the display was suitably bright, even in daylight conditions.

We still don't think the Nintendo Switch OLED is the most ergonomic gaming device we've ever used. The flat and wide console shape can lead to hand cramps during longer play sessions, and Joy-Con controllers use the same design as the original console, which is five years old, meaning durability concerns remain. The Joy-Con still tends to move up and down ever so slightly when attached to the console, too, which we’ve always found concerning since they’re supposed to lock in place.

Nintendo Switch OLED: TV mode

Nintendo Switch OLED rear view of dock

(Image credit: Future)
  • No 4K support, still the same 1080p output
  • No HDR support either

Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch OLED offers zero improvements over its predecessor in TV mode. Yes, the new dock includes a LAN port for more stable online gaming compared to playing over Wi-Fi, but you still get the same 720p UI and a max output resolution of 1080p. Even then, you could plug a LAN adapter into your Switch dock.

With 4K TVs now commonplace in most households, it seems like a massive oversight not to include any 4K support with the Switch OLED. Even the Xbox One S, a console released in 2016, can output at 4K.

Nintendo Switch OLED and old dock compared

(Image credit: Future)

The Nintendo Switch OLED also doesn't include support for high dynamic range or HDR as it's commonly known. Again, we've seen last-gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One offer this functionality for years, so it would have been great to see Nintendo implement some modern-day display technologies to boost TV TV mode.

Nintendo Switch OLED: tabletop mode

Nintendo Switch OLED adjustable stand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Adjustable stand is a vast improvement over the original
  • OLED display offers better viewing angles
  • Enhanced speakers make a difference

Another plus point of the Nintendo Switch OLED is its performance in tabletop mode. Thanks to its wider, redesigned kickstand, it's far easier (and safer) to use the Switch in tabletop mode, perfect for impromptu multiplayer sessions. The hinge is far more robust and makes a satisfying thud when closed – we don’t have any concerns about it loosening over time and failing to snap into place like the old one.

As on the original Switch, Joy-Con controllers can be detached from the side of the unit, allowing you to prop the console on a table or other surface to play with a friend (or stranger) at a moment's notice. 

But where the old kickstand limited you to one viewing angle, the Switch OLED's adjustable stand can be positioned in multiple ways. It makes for a far more enjoyable viewing experience, and the excellent viewing angles of the OLED display mean you don't need to huddle together when facing off in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Nintendo Switch OLED compared to old Switch kickstand

(Image credit: Future)

The Nintendo Switch OLED's enhanced speakers also really come to life in tabletop mode. Our favorite games sounded punchy and clear, without distortion at higher volumes, which is essential when you can't reach for a pair of headphones.

Nintendo Switch OLED stand as low as it can go

(Image credit: Future)

Nintendo Switch OLED performance

Nintendo Switch OLED side by side with old Switch

(Image credit: Future)
  • Exactly the same tech specs as the original Switch 

Even though the original Nintendo Switch was approaching its fifth anniversary when this released, the Nintendo Switch OLED model offers no performance boost whatsoever. The enhanced display aside, the best Switch games look and play the same as before, with the new console having the same Nvidia Custom Tegra X1 processor and 4GB of RAM as its predecessor.

This will disappoint those who were hoping for a more powerful Switch model, which has often been dubbed a "Nintendo Switch Pro". Most Switch games still play perfectly well, of course, but there's no doubt that the console's hardware is beginning to show its age. That's especially true that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are on the market.

Games will at least look prettier thanks to the console's new high-contrast display, and for some, that might be enough – but we were hoping for more here. Thankfully, battery life is on par with the Nintendo Switch (2019) version, so expect between 4.5 hours and nine hours, depending on the game you're playing.

Nintendo Switch OLED game library

Nintendo Switch OLED showing Celeste and old Switch showing Sonic Mania

(Image credit: Future)
  • Exceptional library of titles to choose from
  • More big releases are on the way

Of course, the main reason to pick up a Nintendo Switch OLED is to play games, not just to ogle the new hardware. And it's here where the Switch excels. The Switch's library of games is jam-packed with some timeless classics, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

And it's not just Nintendo's first-party lineup that makes the Switch an appealing prospect; the console is also home to fantastic indie games such as Hades, Celeste, and Spelunky 2, many of which feel far more enjoyable to play untethered from the TV.

It means there's a game to suit every player's tastes, and many more blockbusters will come, including The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Metroid Prime 4. You'll have plenty of titles to play on the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Should you buy the Nintendo Switch OLED?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...


What is an OLED display?

OLED stands for ‘Organic Light Emitting Diode’. OLED panels bring you better image quality (blacker blacks and brighter whites), reduced power consumption, and faster response times. OLED panels emit their own light when an electric current is passed through, whereas cells in an LCD-LED display require an external light source, like a giant backlight, for brightness. It means individual pixels can be turned on and off, preventing the display from exhibiting backlight bleed, bloom, or haloing that can occur in other display technologies.

Is the Nintendo Switch OLED prone to burn-in?

One of the most common concerns regarding OLED displays is that they can be susceptible to burn-in. Burn-in is a term used to describe permanent image retention on OLED displays that can occur from looping logos or static HUDs. When such elements are displayed for hours, it can permanently scar the panel's pixels, leaving residual 'ghost' patterns that can't be turned off.

Thankfully, OLED panel manufacturers have made great strides in negating burn-in. LG uses 'screen shift' technology, which subtly moves static images onscreen to ensure individual pixels aren't outputting the same information for sustained periods.

But could the Nintendo Switch OLED be susceptible to burn-in? Nintendo told TechRadar: "We’ve designed the OLED screen to aim for longevity as much as possible, but OLED displays can experience image retention if subjected to static visuals over a long time.

"However, users can take preventative measures to preserve the screen by utilizing some of the Nintendo Switch console’s included features, such as using auto-brightness to prevent the screen from getting too bright and enabling the auto-sleep function to put the console into “auto sleep” and turn off the screen after short periods of time."

Nintendo Switch OLED: Recent updates

Nintendo’s continued building upon the Switch OLED since it launched last October, thanks to continued system updates. 

Between reminding us to use our Nintendo Switch reward points and adding Nintendo Switch software folders to better organize our library of games, a Nintendo Switch Online achievements system also went live. Elsewhere, you can now add friends through the Nintendo Switch Online companion app, available on iOS and Android mobiles. It means adding friends is easier than ever on Nintendo Switch.

There’s no end of upcoming games to look forward to, but if you’re after the older classics, fear not. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, there’s a continually growing library of NES and SNES games to play. If you’ve opted for the Expansion Pack, there’s Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and more N64 games are coming. We'd say keep your Nintendo Switch Online subscription for now. 

Looking for advice on how to connect Nintendo Switch to your TV? After some recommendations for Nintendo Switch SD cards? We've got you covered.

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