Nintendo Switch Pro: The story so far

Nintendo Switch OLED held between two hands with one of the JoyCons being slid off
(Image credit: Nintendo)

For a while we'd though the Nintendo Switch Pro rumors has withered on the vine, but a leaked Nvidia DLSS source code has what looks like reference to a new Switch. And this could be the Switch Pro.

Even if all this ends up being way off the mark, though, we still feel there could be an upgraded take of the Nintendo Switch on the cards. The current hardware isn't the most modern, and some games are becoming more demanding.

As such, here's what we know so far and would like to see from the Nintendo Switch Pro, even if it's just fanciful thinking. 

Latest Nintendo Switch Pro news

Nintendo Switch Pro release date and price speculation

Last year, Nintendo has basically hammered home that there's not going to be a Switch Pro. Its president, Shuntaro Furukawa, also said in a recent interview that there's no new Switch coming in its upcoming financial year, which runs to March 2023. Yet the Japanese gaming giant has stopped short of 100%, copper-bottom denying that there's some work going on around an upgraded Switch console. 

This denial hasn't stopped leaker from tipping the console for release in the next few months. Nate the Hate, who does have a history of reliable insider information, has indicated that the Nintendo Switch Pro is set to release in the first half of 2023

And apparently, developer kits for an upgraded Switch console were given out at some point. But there's a chance these could be for a second-generation Switch or Nintendo console. As it stands, there's basically no hard evidence that a Switch Pro is coming; equally, it's difficult to pour water on these smoldering rumors that keep popping up. 

Furthermore, Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis has said that “Ampere is currently forecasting a next-gen Nintendo device to release in 2024." He made this prediction again in January of 2023.

Nintendo Switch Pro rumored specs 

Nintendo Switch Pro rumors

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Sources seem to offer different reports of what sort of specs we can expect to see in the Switch Pro. The majority of them appear to agree that we’re likely to see support for 4K resolutions in docked mode, as well as better battery life. 

Currently, the Nintendo Switch features a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a 720p LCD display and 32GB of storage. The most recent refresh of the Nintendo Switch happened in August 2019, which bumped up the battery life, taking it from 6.5 hours to 9 hours of game time. When we tested the battery life upgrade using Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we found that the amount of game time we were able to fit in before it needed to be recharged doubled.

A report from Bloomberg, citing insider information, also has the Switch Pro tipped to offer a 4K output in some form of docked mode. Likely when docked, the Switch Pro will have some form of co-processor to upmix a 1080p video feed into a 4K output. 

Furthermore, a newer probe into Switch firmware has revealed the line  “4kdp_preferred_over_usb30” that could indicate the potential for a 4K output over DisplayPort over USB 3.0.

Bloomberg (opens in new tab) has also reported that 11 developers are in possession of 4K toolkits supplied by Nintendo. This would strongly imply that Nintendo is at least thinking about releasing a Switch that can output in 4K. Although, Nintendo did quickly release a statement (opens in new tab) denying the accuracy of the reporting. 

In an exclusive interview with Ross Young, co-founder and CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, discussed with us the potential for the Switch Pro to have an OLED display and what advantages and shortcomings the tech could provide. 

“LCDs use a maximum brightness, whether it's a white or black image. And OLEDs don't,” said Young. “Their power consumption varies with the content. So it's going to depend on the type of content that you're playing. If it's video, OLEDs have a big advantage. But if it's a bright video game with a lot of white, then OLEDs may consume more power.”

Some rumors seem to suggest that the Switch Pro might have some more controversial features, too. In a now-deleted 4Chan post (via Inverse (opens in new tab)), user Xhyll alleged that according to a "former employee of Nintendo," the Switch Pro will feature significant hardware improvements, including a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, 64GB SSD storage and 4K support. 

The obvious downside here is that the post also suggested that the new console will be a TV-only system aimed primarily at users who are in the market for a more traditional console experience. Considering that some Switch gamers spend the majority of their time in handheld mode, this seems somewhat unlikely.

Some rumors have suggested that NVIDIA's Tegra239 system on chip will power the Switch Pro. The latest leak suggests that this chip does exist and will come with an 8-core CPU. Reddit users have speculated this would make the Switch Pro about as powerful as a PS4 — which would be a disappointment.

What we want from the Nintendo Switch Pro 

If Nintendo were to make a Switch Pro then here are the features we’d love to see make their way to the premium console. 

  • Improved 1080p handheld display: Considering the ongoing rumor mill, a display upgrade seems likely. At the moment, using the Switch in handheld mode restricts you to a 6.2-inch 720p display, so many users would welcome a better visual experience when gaming on the go (please, Nintendo).
  • Sturdier build quality: One of the biggest reasons some Switch owners prefer the Lite to the base model is due to the sturdiness of the console in handheld mode. Since the Joy-Cons of the original Switch are detachable, playing on the go can feel somewhat flimsy, and this is something that we’d like to see improved in the Pro version. A more ergonomic Joy-Con design would go a long way too.
  • 4K support in docked mode: The 4K console gaming community is growing by the day, and you can partially thank the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series for that. Unfortunately, comparisons with new-gen consoles don’t do the Switch any favors - Nintendo’s flagship console no longer provides the visuals gamers want. As we recently discussed, introducing 4K support and a more powerful dock with higher resolution capabilities would considerably improve Nintendo’s offering.
  • Bluetooth support for third-party accessories: Although the Switch currently features Bluetooth 4.1, this is reserved exclusively for wirelessly connecting Joy-Cons and Pro controllers. This means that in order to connect accessories like headphones, you need an adapter, which is admittedly annoying.
Denise Primbet
News Writer

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. 

  • Soaptrail
    A new low Tom's, the headline says there is a release date but that is not true. Can you pretend to have good management that cares about content like when this site was founded?
  • Alex79uk
    This is pure, shameful click bait. I genuinely used to expect better from this website, but it seems you're going with all the other hack sites that thrive on nothing more than misleading headlines.
  • The schmo
    Alex79uk said:
    This is pure, shameful click bait. I genuinely used to expect better from this website, but it seems you're going with all the other hack sites that thrive on nothing more than misleading headlines.
    I signed up just to reply to this. I agree! This was pure click bait!!! Horrible headline! Tired of people/businesses trying to get clicks with misleading headlines.
  • forumuser
    hopefully it includes fixing the joycons!
  • armac119
    Hehehe just keep doing this ...