Nintendo Switch Pro — What We Really Want To See
The Nintendo Switch Pro is looking more and more like a real product. And we at Tom’s Guide have some strong opinions about the features it needs.
By Richard Priday
The original Nintendo Switch is an undeniable success. It’s still selling well today, despite being on the market for more than four years, going up against the new Xbox Series X and PS5. However, rumors of an improved Switch continue to circulate, with features like a larger display and higher resolutions among the suggested specs.
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Some of us are keen on these changes. Others have more specific criticisms of the current Switch’s shortcomings, which a new console would be well-placed to address. Whatever our opinions, it seems there’s a demand for a more powerful Switch console, so we hope the rumors aren’t just idle speculation.
What we want to see on the Nintendo Switch Pro
As much as I’d love to see a higher-resolution Switch, I feel it’s more important for Nintendo to keep a focus on the Switch Pro’s portability. The rumored larger AMOLED display feels like enough of an upgrade from the current model when it comes to visuals, although 4K output when docked would be pretty good to have, too.
Beyond that, I think Nintendo needs to add more default storage to the Switch. It’s all too easy to fill up the current 32GB storage space with game saves. While you can add your own microSD card, it would be good if I didn’t need to buy a separate product on top of a new console.
More battery life, either from making existing hardware more efficient, or adding a larger battery, would be very welcome, too. Four hours of gaming between charges isn’t always enough!
The talk of a higher resolution display, and more power under the hood, certainly has my curiosity piqued. But if Nintendo wants to capture my attention, then it needs to fix the Switch’s biggest weakness: the Joy-Cons.
It goes without saying that a Nintendo Switch Pro needs to resolve the drift issue that has plagued the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers for the last four years. The problem has gotten so bad that Nintendo has faced multiple lawsuits over it. The Switch Pro has no excuse not to resolve this persistent fault.
However, the Joy-Cons’ problems go much further. The sticks are too small, often resulting in your thumbs slipping off at the most inopportune moments. The triggers don’t feel especially clicky or tactile, like the ones on the PS5 DualSense or Xbox Series X controller.
The Joy-Cons themselves also feel rather cheaply made (ironic, considering purchasing a set is anything but cheap). The railing that slides them onto the console itself also feels flimsy. If I twist the Joy-Cons while holding my Switch, I can feel the connection points start to buckle.
For me to be won over by the Switch Pro, it’ll be all about the Joy-Cons. After all, what good is a premium console if the way you actually interact with it has so many issues?
Rumor is that the Switch Pro will be able to handle 4K graphics, but only on a TV screen. If you plan on using the console in portable mode, the current consensus is that you’ll be limited to the same 720p graphics as the current Switch model.
There are arguments to be made about sticking with 720p, with regards to battery life and whether it’ll make much difference on a screen that size. But I feel that it’s insulting for Nintendo to even consider this idea, let alone actually go through with it.
I don’t expect Nintendo to squeeze a 4K display into the Switch Pro console, because that would be a serious drain on the battery – not to mention expensive. But why not 1080p? These days, you can get 1080p pretty cheaply on all kinds of devices: smartphones, TVs, tablets, monitors and so on. 720p hasn’t disappeared completely, but you’ll only find it on very cheap products.
Sure, the rumors say the Switch Pro will have an AMOLED display, which is an upgrade in itself. But there’s no need for Nintendo to dig its heels in and refuse to upgrade the resolution at the same time.
I play most of my Switch games in handheld mode. There’s very little point in paying a few hundred dollars for a new model that doesn’t offer a meaningful upgrade over the Switch I already have.
First off: The Switch Pro is one of those things I’ll believe when I see. Nintendo very much does its own thing when it comes to hardware (and software, and marketing, and release schedules), and a lot of Switch Pro news has basically boiled down to wishful thinking.
Still, there’s no denying that the Switch needs an update, particularly as other consoles embrace the 4K/60 fps future. The single most important thing for the theoretical Switch Pro, then, would be to target 4K resolution and 60 frames per second on every game — at least while docked.
(Reaching 1080p in handheld mode would be nice, but honestly, if the screen stays somewhere in the six-to-seven-inch range, it’s not probably not necessary.) 4K TVs are starting to overtake 1080p TVs as standard household equipment, and the Switch simply doesn’t look that good on higher-res sets.
There’s other hardware that the Switch Pro could improve — the Joy-Cons, the battery life, the mercurial charging port and so forth. But truthfully, the biggest upgrade I want to see is in how Nintendo schedules games and communicates with fans. Mario’s 35th Anniversary gave us three old games and a bunch of lackluster, time-limited offers. Zelda’s 35th Anniversary gave us one old game, six months down the line.
Fans love the Switch; fans love Nintendo franchises; fans love both new and old games. If we can’t have new Mario, Zelda or Metroid games on a regular basis, then at least make the old ones accessible on the Switch — and give us some indication of when we might hear more.
I’ll echo Marshall’s caution in believing that a Nintendo Switch Pro is in the works. There are a lot of rumors doing the rounds, but few are really concrete. However, if the Switch Pro is in the works, then I’d very much like one that supports a 4K output to make things nice and crisp on my TV.
A larger display would also be nice, as would analog triggers. But really, I’m actually quite happy with the Switch as it is. I’d like a more robust kickstand so it can actually stand up securely when on less-than-smooth surfaces.
Otherwise, the upgrades teased in leaks and snippets of information are more nice-to-haves than upgrades I’m desperately after. That being said, access to game streaming via Xbox Game Pass’ xCloud would be amazing, although I doubt it’s something Nintendo would agree to. One can but wish.
If this is truly a Switch Pro, it needs a new Switch Pro Controller. Not to knock the current one, but it just seems a little basic: more like the regular DualShock controller than any of the advanced accessories you see on other platforms.
And while I’d love for the new Switch Pro Controller to have the customizable paddles you find in the Xbox Elite controllers, that’s not what I really want.
I want a Switch controller that emphasizes comfort. The current Switch Pro Controller’s buttons feel a little clunky and don’t have enough feedback. The plastic chassis doesn’t lend itself to long-term sessions.
Aside from more reliable joysticks to fight drift (as has been mentioned above), a new Switch Pro Controller should feature upgraded button switches inside for better tactile experiences.
Oh, and I dare Nintendo to avoid the supply chain troubles that have plagued the PS5 and Xbox Series X. We don’t need more of this nonsense. Make it easy to get a Switch Pro, and you’ll impress us more than a faster processor ever could.
Originally published at Toms guide