As Sony and Microsoft prepare for to release their next gen consoles into the wild, rumours about Nintendo’s future plans for Switch hardware continue to come in thick and fast. You name it, Switch Pro will have it. 4K upscaling? Natch. 48-hour battery life? We’d expect nothing less. Wake you up in the morning with a coffee and a bacon sandwich? Ooo, brown sauce please.
The latest rumour comes from Economic Daily News and suggests that an upgraded version of Nintendo’s all-conquering hybrid console could come with a Mini-LED display courtesy of Taiwanese panel manufacturer Innolux Corporation.
The report suggests that Nintendo has recently visited Innolux, with the insinuation that it may be parting company with its current screen suppliers Sharp and JDI and using Mini-LED display technology from Innolux in an upgraded Switch rumoured to arrive next year.
For anyone unfamiliar with Mini-LED technology, no, this doesn’t mean that a new Switch will incorporate some tiny little screen into an upgraded Joy-Con or anything zany like that (so you can stop imagining a VMU revival like we were for a hot minute!). Rather, the main screen on the new console would use Mini-LED technology as opposed to the backlit 720p LCD screen in the current models.
Still not sure what Mini-LED is? Well, it’s probably best described as a ‘hybrid’ of current backlit LCD screens with OLED-style local illumination. Each pixel in an OLED screen emits its own light and can be turned on or off individually, whereas LCD screens rely on illumination from backlights which can result in light spill and dark areas of the screen that appear ‘grey’ rather than black (think about how the illuminated ‘black’ screen looks on your Switch when you first turn it on).
Contrary to traditional LCD backlights, Mini-LED screens provide a much more local field of backlighting to illuminate the pixels on the screen more precisely, improving screen contrast and, potentially, battery life (there’s less ‘waste’ or light spill as light is only delivered to pixels that need it).
Apple is reportedly adopting this technology for its devices as a cost-effective way of improving its range of screens without going down the more expensive OLED or Micro-LED route (it should be noted that the confusingly named Mini-LED tech is different from Micro-LED tech, the latter of which is essentially a smaller version of OLED).
So what does this mean for a hypothetical Switch Pro? Screen contrast and brightness to rival that of an OLED screen and improved battery life as the console draws power more efficiently to the parts of the screen that need illumination. Whether this rumour turns out to be substantial is anyone’s guess at the moment, but of all the wild whispers doing the rounds, this certainly sounds more plausible than many.
Let us know below if you’d expect a screen upgrade like this in any new Switch model.