Those who have been patiently waiting for a substantial upgrade to the Nintendo Switch console may have been more than just miffed by the new OLED model. Although it might make some business sense for the gaming giant, the lack of significant hardware improvement on the four-year-old gaming console has fans continually frustrated. But while the new Nintendo Switch OLED seems like just a single step forward, iFixit proves there are many more changes than meets the eye, for better or for worse.
Of course, the biggest and most prominent change is the OLED screen, which iFixit notes to be painfully thin and fragile, though it, fortunately, survives the teardown. There is also one other visible external change, with a kickstand that finally spans the width of the device. There are also modified rails for the Joy-cons, though that won’t save these new generation controllers from the dreaded drift.
The biggest changes, however, are on the inside, and they aren’t all good news for the DIY repair specialists. The taped interconnect cables, for example, almost look amateurish and will make it more difficult to put everything back together again. Other components have also become smaller or combined to save space, despite the thinner OLED screen supposedly increasing the amount of available space inside.
The cooling system, in particular, is smaller, which is probably due to the original system being deemed to have overcompensated. The biggest problem in iFixit’s eyes, however, is the guitar-shaped all-in-one board the combines the SD card reader, the game card reader, and the headphone jack on a single surface. This would make replacing any of those parts a lot more difficult, which is especially disappointing since those would get a lot of wear and tear over years of use.
iFixit gives the Nintendo Switch OLED a 7 out of 10 on its repairability index. It isn’t that bad until you consider that the older LCD model got a solid 8. The process isn’t as tedious or dangerous, but the changes that Nintendo made definitely make it harder for third parties or more experienced owners to do their own repairs, which is probably what the company wants anyway.