New teardowns of the Nintendo Switch OLED have indicated that the new dock could support a 4K video output, despite the lack of a performance upgrade on the console itself.
YouTuber Nintendo Prime (via VGC) has claimed that Switch OLED is bundled with a HDMI 2.0 cable, which is capable of handling the likes of 4K and HDR. The original Switch is bundled with a HDMI 1.4 cable instead, which makes the new upgrade very peculiar.
More evidence for 4K support has recently emerged too, with Twitter user @KawlunDram (via VGC) suggesting the Arm chip inside the dock (RTD2172N KBDQH1) advertises itself as a “4K UHD multimedia SoC”.
It’s also worth pointing out that Nintendo recently added the option to update the dock in the Switch’s operating system, intensifying speculation that Nintendo could one day unlock 4K support on the Switch through a software update like it recently did with Bluetooth.
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While these reveals are undoubtedly interesting, it doesn’t change the fact that the Switch OLED isn’t powerful enough for 4K gaming since it uses the same Nvidia Tegra chip as the original console – it can sometimes struggle to maintain a smooth framerate at 720p, never mind 4K.
There are many plausible reasons why Nintendo could have made the new dock 4K ready. It could be planning on allowing streaming apps such as Netflix and Disney Plus on the Switch, as the HDMI 2.0 cable would then come in handy for outputting a 4K resolution for TV mode.
Or maybe Nintendo is simply future-proofing the dock so it will be compatible with future 4K-ready Switch console revisions, whether that’s a Switch Pro or a Switch 2.
Either way, it seems highly unlikely that the Switch OLED will be running games natively in 4K at any point in its lifespan, so it’s unfortunately far too early to be getting excited by the prospect of playing Breath of the Wild and Metroid Dread in Ultra HD.