C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
It might be hard to fathom, but the Nintendo Switch is over four years old. Even when it launched, the hybrid gaming console was no powerhouse. Since then, there have been tons of rumors that an upgraded version of the device could be on the way, tentatively known as the Nintendo Switch Pro.
To be frank, most of these rumors started years ago with no tangible evidence. In 2021, though, the rumors have ramped up significantly to a point where we are confident an upgraded Switch is landing this year.
Below, you’ll find everything we know so far about the so-called Nintendo Switch Pro. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can stay up-to-date on the latest rumors!
Name and release date
Nintendo is one of the most secretive technology companies around. As such, there is no tangible proof that an upgraded Switch is even on the way, let alone the name for that console.
However, we have seen bits of evidence to suggest that the device could be known as the Nintendo Switch Pro. A recent errant listing on the Mexican version of Amazon backs up this claim. Interestingly, that listing specifically calls it the “New Nintendo Switch Pro.” That lines up with the upgraded version of the Nintendo 3DS, which landed as the New Nintendo 3DS. It’s possible the company could carry over that naming strategy to the Switch line.
For now, we are sticking with the “Pro” name until we hear evidence otherwise. As a side note, we are almost certain this will not be a “Nintendo Switch 2.” It would be an upgraded version of the existing console, not a new console unto itself.
As far as a release date goes, rumors suggest it would land in stores in September or October — just in time for holiday shoppers. However, it is likely Nintendo would announce the device far earlier, possibly around E3 in June 2021. If that ends up being true, we won’t have long to wait to learn all about this exciting new product!
Nintendo Switch Pro: Design
Since this is not a Nintendo Switch 2, we don’t expect the design of the device to deviate too far from what we’ve already seen with the vanilla Switch and the Switch Lite. You can expect the console to be a tablet-sized display with removable Joy-Con attached on either side. It should also have a dock for connecting the console to your television.
That being said, we do expect plenty of improvements. For example, the display should be OLED instead of the current LCD. This would allow for better battery life as well as deeper blacks and better color contrast.
If the device does really land as the Nintendo Switch Pro, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some upgrades to the Joy-Con themselves. There could be better build materials, taller analog sticks, or even additional buttons. However, that’s just speculation at this point.
Early on, there were rumors that the Switch Pro could be a TV-only console. This would make a degree of sense considering the Switch Lite is handheld-only and the vanilla Switch can swap back and forth. However, we haven’t seen any hard evidence to support this rumor for now, and are assuming it is incorrect until we hear otherwise.
Regardless, we expect the real upgrades for this product to be under the hood. See the next section for more on that!
Specs and features
The one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the Nintendo Switch Pro could support 4K in docked mode. This would be a nice upgrade over the current Switch, which is locked to 1080p. We don’t know if the display would support 1080p in handheld mode or stick with the 720p resolution of the current models, though.
How would Nintendo achieve this with such a small form factor? Well, we don’t expect an upgraded processor, for one. Instead, Nintendo could just overclock the current processor, which is a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 Plus. If you combined this overclocking with AI upscaling, it would be totally possible to achieve 4K output. However, this wouldn’t be the true 4K we’ve seen with standalone consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 5. Instead, it would be similar to what we saw with the PlayStation 4 Pro, which used upscaling to bring its native 1440p resolution to 4K for supported televisions.
We expect the Switch Pro to support 4K, but it likely won’t be ‘true’ 4K.
There are easier upgrades that could be on offer, too. For one, the Nintendo Switch only comes with 32GB of internal storage, which is a paltry amount. The Nintendo Switch Pro could double that to 64GB or, even better, quadruple it to 128GB.
The bottom line here is that rumors support the idea that the Switch Pro could be faster and produce higher-quality images. It’s very possible it could also have more storage and maybe even longer battery life.
Nintendo Switch Pro: Price and availability
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
At a list price of $299, the Nintendo Switch is a bargain when compared to other home consoles. The $199 Switch Lite is even more wallet-friendly. Invariably, though, a Nintendo Switch Pro would need to be more expensive than the vanilla Switch.
So far, rumors suggest Nintendo could ask for $399 for an upgraded Switch. This is still hundreds of dollars cheaper than the recent home consoles from Sony and Microsoft — even though those consoles far outpower even a Pro-level Switch.
Keep in mind that the vanilla Switch is still so tricky to buy that it can easily sell for $399. Nintendo could probably get away with setting the list price of a Pro model much higher, but we doubt the company would do so. Our money is on $399.
The availability of the console is the true wildcard. With the ongoing global chip shortage still in full swing — so much so that even getting a four-year-old Switch is difficult — we can expect heavy shortages of a Switch Pro. It’s very likely this will end up being the must-have gift for the holiday season, with lines around the block to try to nab one.
That’s everything we’ve got so far on the Nintendo Switch Pro! Don’t forget to bookmark this page as we will update it as new rumors come down the pipeline.