If Switch Pro doesn’t have 4K, then why would Nintendo even make it? I know that 4K is still a buzzword in gaming and for televisions, but it’s low on the list of changes that would make for a better console. I’ve put together a few upgrades that will make games look and perform better.
Let’s start with the assumption that a Switch Pro would get a more powerful processor from Nvidia. The Tegra X1 that’s in the Switch is a solid mobile chip, but Nvidia could easily improve on it. And a better chip would be necessary to get the most of the hypothetical Switch Pro’s new display.
Support for 120Hz and HDR While I don’t think a Switch Pro needs to support 4K, it should still support upgraded display tech like a 120Hz refresh rate and high-dynamic range (HDR). And Switch Pro should support both on TV, but it should also have a 120Hz HDR display.
While 4K is difficult to notice on a small screen, a high refresh rate is not. And 120Hz would make Nintendo games look smoother than ever. Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are going to support 120Hz televisions as well, so it’s likely that we’ll get some indie games that shoot for over 100 frames per second. And it would be great if we could get the benefit of that on the Switch as well.
HDR is another feature that can drastically improve image quality. It expands the color gamut and contrast over traditional LCD displays. This makes photorealistic scenes look more natural, and it can make lights and shadows pop off the screen.
There are already smartphones that support both high framerate and HDR like the Razer Phone 2. And, coincidentally, the Razer Phone 2 and recent Switch models both use IGZO LCD displays. So Nintendo is already dabbling in the right technology to make these moves.
Oh, and as for resolution, stick with 1080p on TV and 720p for handheld. Those are both more than good enough.
SSD But the biggest improvement Nintendo needs to make to the Switch is to the storage. The current Switch systems use eMMC flash memory as well as a slot for expandable SD storage. Now, eMMC is essentially a sort of internal SD card, and while eMMC and SD cards are cheap, they are also slow compared to an SSD.
If Nintendo wants to set a Switch Pro model apart, it should make the leap to including a significant amount of internal SSD storage. While eMMC tops out at a transfer rate of about 400MB per second, an NVME SSD (like the kind in Apple’s iPhone) is capable of transfering data at 3,500MB per second. This could drastically improve load times and make the Switch Pro feel like an overall snappier device.
SSD prices are coming down, and they should drop even further as Microsoft and Sony begin purchasing them at scale for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. And sure, eMMC is still cheaper, and Nintendo should definitely keep using it in its more affordable Switch Lite. But Nintendo could set the Switch Pro above the Lite and original model (and at a higher price) by promising to mitigate loading in most games.