iFixIt’s Teardown of the OLED Nintendo Switch Is Full of Surprises!

by in Technology | Oct, 19th 2021

Nintendo’s novel OLED Switch has garnered quite a lot of attention and, well, it’s easy to understand why. While many of us didn’t deem it impressive enough to warrant an upgrade, it became evident upon its release that Nintendo’s decision to switch over to a far more superior display technology had, in fact, made this a truly alluring iteration, one that is more than worth its price tag. And that fact is made ever more clear thanks to a recent teardown of the OLED Switch from iFixIt!

Simply put: this isn’t just a superficial upgrade. Instead, it is far more thorough than anyone had expected, and the changes Nintendo has made are definitely worth our undivided attention — for both good reasons and bad! 

OLED Switch Teardown | More Differences Than Expected

The biggest difference — the one you couldn’t possibly overlook —  is the OLED screen, an extremely thin and fragile display that is fortunately sturdy enough to survive iFixIt’s Switch teardown. Beneath it, however, is the real surprise: the cooling solution is smaller (as are a few other components), and most of the console’s I/O is located on a single board which will make any potential repair noticeably more complicated and costly.

The decision to employ a more modest cooling solution isn’t necessarily scandalous seeing how Nintendo almost surely pulled a “Sony” on us — the original cooler was probably “too good” for the job, so why not shrink it down ever so slightly and save “a bit” of money? It’s an intelligent business decision that will potentially result in this venerable Tokyo-based tech giant saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run thanks to lowered production costs. Then again, the revised Tegra X1 SoC is more efficient than its predecessor, so there’s really no reason as to why Nintendo wouldn’t update the cooling solution as well.

The combined I/O board, on the other hand, is quite unfortunate, and there’s no silver lining that we conjure up at this point in time — it, too, is a cost-cutting measure. One could argue that Nintendo had to opt for a different design because of the widened kickstand and a wholly different hinge, but we’re not convinced.

Fortunately, that’s where the “bad news” stops. The OLED Switch features better speakers, a sturdier frame, better joy-con rails, and a bunch of other quality-of-life improvements that have made this iteration of Nintendo’s insanely popular hybrid console a lot more enjoyable to use and will no doubt allow it to better stand the test of time — even though some of it came at the expense of repairability.

You can’t have the good without the bad, we suppose.


Leave a Reply