September 27, 2020

Nintendo Switch Pro: What we want to see in an upgraded Switch console

The Nintendo Switch Pro hasn't been announced yet, but that doesn't mean we can't dream.

Nintendo Switch Pro upgrade wishlist featured image

Rumors of a more powerful Nintendo Switch console have been floating around for years at this point, but recent news suggests we might finally see a Nintendo Switch Pro — or whatever Nintendo decides to call its souped-up semi-portable console. Maybe Nintendo Switch 2? New Nintendo Switch? Nintendo Switch Plus? Who knows.

Sure, we’ve been fooled before with news about a new Switch console but this time the timing makes sense given the imminent release of the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles this holiday season. Mid-cycle console refreshes also became the standard last gen with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, so it’s high time Nintendo gets in on the action.

We’re big fans of the Nintendo Switch here at Android Authority, so we thought we’d put in our two cents for what we’d like to see in a Nintendo Switch Pro upgrade. Nintendo is notoriously unpredictable, but it isn’t hard to find at least a few glaring issues with the current hardware.

Keep reading for our Switch upgrade wishlist, and scroll down to the bottom to vote for the feature you’d most like to see in a Nintendo Switch Pro console!


Bluetooth audio support

Nintendo Switch Pro bluetooth support

Let’s start the list with something completely reasonable that honestly should have been included with the original console. Bluetooth audio has exploded in popularity in recent years (mostly because the headphone jack has gone the way of the dodo), but it isn’t supported on the Nintendo Switch.

Joy-Con controllers connect via bluetooth, but audio is frustratingly disabled.

The absence of bluetooth audio is extra ridiculous because the console itself already has bluetooth capabilities. Joy-Con controllers connect to the console via bluetooth. Nintendo Switch Pro controllers connect to the console via bluetooth. Audio though? That princess is in another castle.

Currently the only way to use your fancy bluetooth headphones with Nintendo’s console is with a USB-C dongle or dedicated wireless USB-C headset like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. You could also dig out that cable and connect them to the headphone jack at the top of the console, but that’s so 2015.

Embracing bluetooth audio on an upgraded Nintendo Switch Pro is a no-brainer that likely wouldn’t even add manufacturing cost to each unit. Heck, it could probably be added to existing consoles with a simple software update.


Redesigned Joy-Cons

Nintendo Switch on a table

Ah, the iconic Joy-Cons that every Nintendo Switch owner loves to hate. The colorful bifurcated controllers are a key part of the console’s image, but like the console hardware itself it’s time for an upgrade.

Read also: The best Nintendo Switch controllers for all budgets

There’s no doubt that the controllers look good, and there are plenty of great color options on the market. Plus, the way they slide out of the console for seamless two-player gaming is certainly a novel way to punish younger siblings.

The problem is that they aren’t suitable for many games, and Nintendo still hasn’t found a permanent solution to the Joy-Con drift issues that have plagued the controller since the console launched in 2017. A slightly more ergonomic option that fixes hardware faults packaged with a Nintendo Switch Pro would convince this Switch owner to upgrade right away.


High-definition screen

Nintendo Switch Pro screen

I love my Switch, but man is the screen awful. The 1280×720 resolution might make sense on a decade-old laptop, but with smartphones hitting the market with QHD+ screens for several years now, it’s time Nintendo upped its game.

We’re not asking for larger 4K screen to be crammed into a handheld device (although that Alienware UFO concept piece was pretty slick), but a simple 1080p LCD screen would be nice. The Switch is already capable of running many games in 1080p while docked, so why not extend that experience to gaming on-the-go?

As an aside, we don’t want to see a docked-only Nintendo Switch Pro console that eliminates handheld play. A slightly beefier version would be fine, since the original console weighs less than a pound already.


A kickstand that works

PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch 10

While we’re on the subject of the Switch body, let’s take a moment to talk about the kickstand. The small piece of plastic, which I will generously describe as “dinky�, is located on the far right hand side of the device. This placement means the Switch can only be used on an extremely stable surface, and even then it can be knocked over by a stiff breeze.

Its troubles don’t end there. The kickstand also can’t be used while the Switch is charging, which limits your play to a few hours. It also has the durability of a stale cheeto, snapping off at the slightest application of pressure.

The solution here doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Either put another kickstand on the left side of the device or replace it with a slightly larger one in the center. If we can dream though, a built-in stand that offers some of the versatility of the official Nintendo Switch Play Stand would be fantastic.


Upgraded internals

Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L with Nintendo Switch popping out 3

Compared to other consoles, the Nintendo Switch has been underpowered for its entire lifespan, and the 2019 mini-upgrade didn’t do much to close the gap. The extra battery life was great, but if it still can’t even get 60 fps in a game like Fortnite (which even mid-range phones can manage), there might be a problem.

Read also: The best free Nintendo Switch games (that’s right, totally free!)

Although the existing Switch hardware now technically passes the Crysis test, a new chipset would allow the Nintendo Switch Pro to enhance even existing games with unlocked framerates. Microsoft and Sony have proven that more powerful hardware can slip nicely into an existing ecosystem — without watering down the experience for anyone.

Imagine if instead of 720p handheld and up to 1080p docked the Nintendo Switch Pro were capable of 1080p handheld and up to 4K docked. That would make it a more compelling option for graphics snobs who generally gravitate towards the other two main consoles.

Obviously these upgrades would take a toll on the already limited battery life of the Nintendo Switch, which is another reason to make the console slightly larger and pack in a bigger battery. Nothing too crazy, but something on par with the Nintendo Switch Lite (three to seven hours) would be great.


A more useful dock

Nintendo Switch Pro dock

The current Nintendo Switch dock is a curious piece of hardware. Functionally, it’s just a large piece of black plastic that can comfortable be replaced by a simple dongle. Visually it doesn’t fair much better, unless you have the gorgeous Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition.

To make matters worse, many users reported that two hard plastic bits on the inside of the dock had scratched their Switch screens when not dropped in perfectly straight.

What we’d like to see is a Nintendo Switch Pro dock that actually has a function. Maybe a bit of hardware that enables 4K upscaling on TVs. Maybe an M.2 slot to store tons of digital games that you only play on the big screen. Or maybe just a simple fan so the console’s plastic body doesn’t warp like a damp floorboard after a few months of use.


More built-in storage

MicroSD card slot stock photo 4

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Nintendo Switch ships with a measly 32GB of storage, only 25GB of which is actually usable out of the box. Not even Apple has offered a phone with less than 64GB of onboard storage since 2016’s iPhone 7, and that came out a year before the initial release of the Switch.

See also: The best microSD cards available right now

Bumping the internal storage up to just 64GB would mean you don’t need to buy an SD card to install more than a small handful of games. Sure, you can buy physical game cards, but those take up space and reduce the portability of the system.

Even better, Nintendo could increase onboard storage all the way up to 256GB and eliminate the SD card slot entirely. I wouldn’t even mind if Nintendo removes the game card slot too and goes all digital, although this might be taking things too far for a company that still clings to outdated cartridges like Ash clings to Pikachu.


Better, faster Wi-Fi connectivity

WiFi icon

Although online play has always felt like a bit of an afterthought on the Switch, the incredible popularity of games with online components like Mario Kart 8 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons has shown that a speedy connection is vital. In the case of the current Switch, speeds are simply disappointing.

We’d like to see a Nintendo Switch Pro console with improved range and connectivity, as well as support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocols. This might not completely fix the infuriating wait times when flying to a friend’s island in Animal Crossing, but it would be a step in the right direction.

Improved connectivity could also be tied to a revamped Nintendo Switch Online service that’s actually worth the subscription fee. Adding SNES titles was a nice touch, but it’s still nowhere close to what you get with Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus.


Better app support

PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch 11

Ok, so this technically isn’t something that’s tied to hardware, but it has been missing from the Switch for more than three years now. Nintendo’s support for third-party apps is extremely limited, with just a few services like YouTube and Hulu having apps on the device. This leads to an awkward situation where you can stream Netflix on Samsung refrigerators, for example, but not a Nintendo Switch.

If a smartphone is like a Swiss Army Knife with apps for productivity, communication, education, and entertainment, the Switch is the equivalent of a bottle opener. Despite having a large screen and internet connectivity, there’s little it can do beyond playing games. For the sake of comparison, both Xbox One and PS4 consoles have enormous ecosystems and support just about every streaming service out there.

An even bigger improvement would be enabling cloud gaming. Nintendo isn’t exactly the most forward-thinking company out there, but even it has explored cloud gaming by offering a limited service in Japan through GameCloud, developed by Taiwanese company Ubitus. The Razer Kishi is a decent substitute, but I’d much rather stream games on a Switch.

A major app overhaul as part of a Nintendo Switch Pro release that’s also pushed down to existing consoles would do wonders to bring the Switch ecosystem up to the level of its main competitors.


That’s a wrap on our Nintendo Switch Pro wishlist. Take a moment to let us know which features you’re most looking forward to by voting in the poll below. Note that you can only vote for one option, so make sure it’s your top choice. Have another feature in mind? Drop it in the comments below!

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