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Nintendo Switch 2 (Nintendo Switch Pro) release date, specs, rumors and more

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch is flying off shelves right now, but it's not too early to start thinking about what we might see in a Nintendo Switch 2. The next Nintendo Switch, which has sometimes been referred to as the Nintendo Switch Pro, has been rumored to be a beefed-up version of Nintendo's beloved hybrid console with new features and improved internals.

Nintendo's next Switch likely won't deliver things like ray tracing or 8K gaming, but a more powerful Switch could help the company better compete with the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles that are set to debut by the end of 2020. And some rumors have pegged the Switch 2 as sporting some truly wild features, including potential dual-screen support.

Nintendo hasn't confirmed the existence of a new Nintendo Switch model, but there's a fair amount of rumors and speculation that give an idea of what to expect from the company's next console. Here's everything we know about the Nintendo Switch 2 (or Nintendo Switch Pro), including its possible release date, specs and features.

Nintendo Switch 2 release date 

If Nintendo itself is to be believed, there won't be any new Switch hardware in 2020. In a financial note published in late January, the company wrote, "Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."

The fabled Nintendo Switch Pro or Nintendo Switch 2 was previously rumored to launch by mid-2020, according to a supply chain report from Taiwanese news outlet Digitimes. Citing a Korean forum post, Metro claimed that the Switch Pro will launch towards the end of the year, which would have put it right up against both Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. 

There's no telling when we might hear of a Nintendo Switch 2 either, especially with E3 2020 cancelled. According to VentureBeat, Nintendo had a Nintendo Direct livestream planned for June during its usual E3 timeframe, but had to delay it due to development complications brought about by all staff having to work from home.

To help fill the E3 void, veteran gaming industry host Geoff Keighley will be hosting a series of livestreams from May to August as part of his Summer Game Fest series. While we expect some Nintendo Switch games to pop up here, we wouldn't hold our breath for new hardware. 

Looking at some historical numbers, the Switch was first revealed in the fall of 2016 with a March 2017 release, and was followed up by the September 2019 launch of the Nintendo Switch Lite. Perhaps we'll see the next Switch by 2021 to coincide with the system's four-year anniversary. 

Nintendo Switch 2 price 

Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite

(Image credit: Future)

While there’s no official price set for Nintendo’s next Switch, it seems safe to assume it’ll cost more than the $299 base model -- and certainly more than the $199 Nintendo Switch Lite. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Japan-based games consultant Serkan Toto predicts that the Switch Pro will cost around $399.

Nintendo Switch 2 specs 

The Switch Pro’s rumored specs have varied based on different reports, with some claiming that the next Switch will be a modest upgrade and others hinting at a significant power boost for Nintendo’s console. A sketchy, now-deleted 4chan post (via Inverse) suggests some major changes, including a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, a 64GB SSD, 4K video support, and two USB-C ports. This post also claimed that the Switch Pro would be a TV-only console, and won’t be playable in portable mode.

However, a forum post on Korean website Clien (via TechRadar) suggests that the next Switch might not be a huge generational leap. The poster claims that Nintendo is working with Nvidia on a custom Tegra processor based on Nvidia’s Volta architecture, and won’t include the Tegra X1+ chip that many had expected the console to feature. As a result, 4K support may not be feasible for the Switch Pro.

The current Nintendo Switch packs a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a 6.2-inch, 720p display and 32GB of storage. In August 2019, the console saw a minor refresh, which bumped the battery life from an estimated 2.5 to 6.5 hours to 4.5 to 9 hours. In our own Switch battery tests, we found that the new model lasts nearly twice as long for games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

But improved specs could just be the tip of the iceberg for the Nintendo Switch 2. A series of code found in the Switch's April 2020 firmware update reveals what could be support for a dual-screen console, suggesting that the next Nintendo Switch may be a two-display device. 

This wouldn't be a first for Nintendo given the company's popular Nintendo DS and 3DS handhelds, but we'd be curious to see how dual-screen support would play into the Switch ecosystem. Perhaps you'll be able to play in handheld mode while beaming certain content to your TV, similar to how the Wii U operated.

There are also some recent mobile GPU breakthroughs that point to a promising future for upcoming handheld consoles such as the Switch 2. Samsung and AMD are expected to be working on a new Exynos 1000 chip with AMD graphics built-in, which could give the Switch 2 a massive power boost if Nintendo decides to opt for that CPU over the aging Tegra X1 found in the current Switch.

Nintendo Switch 2 features

If Nintendo does make another Switch-like console, it seems safe to assume that it'll once again allow you to play in TV, tabletop and handheld modes. But some recent Nintendo patents hint at some other interesting features that could either make their way to the new console or serve as a complementary device. 

Nintendo recently patented a unique health-tracking device, which would be able to track your sleep, monitor your mood via microphones and sensors, and even change the odor of a room. Interestingly, the patented device has its own dock (much like the Switch), and seems designed to work with health-related games a la Ring Fit Adventure. It's too early to tell whether such a device will even come to market, but it will be interesting to see if Nintendo ups its fitness-tracking game in time for the next Switch console.

What we want from the Nintendo Switch 2

New Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Future)

If the Nintendo Switch 2 or Nintendo Switch Pro does become a reality, there are a handful of features we’d love to see that could make it a compelling high-end option for Nintendo fans. 

  • 1080p handheld gameplay: The Switch’s 6.2-inch screen is limited to 720p in handheld mode, meaning you can’t experience titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Pokémon Sword and Shield in their full glory. The ability to game on the go in 1080p would be a big reason to upgrade to a Switch Pro — if the console can muster 60fps at 1080p, even better. 
  • 4K or 1440p support for TV mode. Considering that 4K consoles are out there and that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will support 8K content, it’d be nice to see the Switch Pro get a resolution bump. The new console would likely need a beefy new dock to support 4K or even 2560 x 1440 resolutions, but just imagine how glorious it would be to play Breath of the Wild in 4K.  
  • Better ergonomics. We recently got our hands on Alienware’s Concept UFO, which is a Switch-like portable gaming PC that features standard controller-sized buttons, triggers and grips. If Nintendo can devise new Joy-Cons that are bigger and more ergonomic without being too massive, the Switch Pro could be the most comfortable way to play on the go.  
  • True Bluetooth support. While the current Switch features Bluetooth 4.1 for connecting wirelessly to Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers, you can’t pair other Bluetooth gadgets (like headphones) to the console without an adapter. Nintendo, I just want to be able to pair my AirPods to my Switch without any extra fuss — make it happen!