Teardown Shows the OLED Switch Improves More Than Just the Screen

The new Nintendo Switch is easy to repair and full of small improvements that give you reasons to buy it beyond its pretty screen.

Oct 14 2021, 2:23pm

The biggest selling point for the new Nintendo Switch was its beautiful OLED screen. But a teardown of the device by iFixit reveals there’s way more to the updated console than Nintendo had advertised.

The improvements begin on the outside of the device. The first is obvious—a new kickstand that covers the Switch’s entire back. Gone is the wimpy slice of the original model that could barely hold up the device. Next are better designed slide rails so that the Joy-Cons are more secure and wobble less. It’s not a fix for Joy-Con drift, but it’s a welcome change.

The OLED Switch’s internal construction includes many small improvements and upgrades. The heatsink is slightly smaller, the motherboard is redesigned, and the speakers are improved. The original Switch’s speakers would blast sound in every direction. On the OLED model, the speakers are designed to only fire sound forward and enclosed in the device, both of which improve sound quality.

The best improvement is, of course, the OLED screen. As with the previous model, the screen is easy to remove and replace if you’ve got the right tools. The OLED screen is vibrant and colorful in a way the previous model’s LCD screen just wasn’t. It’s also glass instead of plastic and coated in a film that will keep the shards in place should it break. The film is removable, but don’t do it.

How easy would it be to repair? Not bad but not great. “On the repairability scale, the new Switch OLED fares well—if not quite so well as we hoped,” iFixit said. “It earns a 7 out of 10, for its sensible, modular construction and general use of screws over adhesive. But that’s a point lower than the prior model, thanks to the non-modular storage and card reader consolidation.”

iFixit gave the original Nintendo Switch a repairability score of 8/10.

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