Nintendo Switch New Model Boosts Performance Slightly, Screen Quality Inconsistent

Aug 21, 2019
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Nintendo recently released an updated model of the Switch powered by an upgraded more energy-efficient Tegra mobile processor, and, officially, the only difference between the original and new machines is battery life. But could there be other upgrades Nintendo isn’t talking about? Are their differences in performance, heat output, or screen quality? Well, the tech heads at Digital Foundry have put the new Nintendo Switch through its paces, and what they found was interesting.

First off, yes, battery life is indeed much improved, with the system lasting 60 to 70 percent longer before needing to be plugged in. That said, it seems performance has also improved slightly – Digital Foundry tested games like Fast RMX, Mortal Kombat 11, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and found the games pretty consistently ran around 2 or 3 frames-per-second faster on the new model, with well-known challenges like Korok Forest from BOTW being noticeably less choppy. Most of the improvements are within the margin of error, but were pretty consistent across multiple tests. DF speculates the new-model Switch’s more efficient LPDDR4X memory might be responsible for its improved performance. Of course, if you have a moddable Switch, you can overclock the processor for bigger performance gains.

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So, that’s the good. On the flip side, the new Switch model doesn’t run any less hot, despite the upgraded processor, and there seem to be some oddities with the system’s screen. The screen of the Digital Foundry’s new Switch (which was imported from Hong Kong) had a warmer pinkish “color temperature” compared to earlier units, which tended to have a nice, cool blue-ish tint to their screens.

Meanwhile, tech-savvy YouTuber Erica Griffin found the new-model Switches she tested had a pea green tint to the screen. So yes, it seems Nintendo’s infamous “screen lottery” where individual units have noticeable differences in screen quality, tint, and brightness due to the company using multiple manufacturers, has returned. This has long been a problem with Nintendo handhelds like the DS and 3DS, so it’s disappointing, but not shocking, to see the screen lottery is back.

So, now that you know a bit more about what the new Nintendo Switch model offers, will you be upgrading?

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