Nintendo, through their Nintendo of America twitter account (@NintendofAmerica), has just announced a huge update for their hit handheld gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. This update will introduce Bluetooth audio to the device, finally allowing players to connect their Bluetooth-capable devices to the Switch.
The latest #NintendoSwitch update is now available, including the ability to pair Bluetooth devices for audio output.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 15, 2021
The announcement came with a link to a support page specifically dedicated to the newly added feature that will guide users on how to take advantage of it. While the update may seem huge especially for such a closed system like Nintendo’s, it is still important to note that this new addition still comes with limitations. First off, only two wireless controllers can be connected to the Switch while a Bluetooth audio device is connected to it. This limitation would probably affect players who have their Switch on “Docked mode” most of the time. This trickles on to the next important point: Bluetooth audio will be disconnected during local communication, such as when starting a local wireless multiplayer game.
Few more things to take note of is that audio latency is to be expected for Bluetooth audio devices. Depending on how well this update is implemented or the quality of your Bluetooth device, your experience may vary. Next is the Nintendo Switch can save a maximum of 10 devices, but only one can be paired at a time. Lastly, microphones, whether built-in on your headphones or just standalone mics will not work on the Nintendo Switch.
Despite the somewhat limited functionality of this newly added component of the Nintendo Switch, it is still a very welcome addition if one would consider the alternatives: using its mediocre built-in speakers or struggling with USB dongles.
Other major updates in this version 13.0.0 patch include an “Update Dock” option under the System Settings for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch – OLED Model systems, “allowing for software updates to Nintendo Switch docks with a LAN port.” Improvements and small quality-of-life changes to its connectivity have also been introduced such as the ability to check whether your connections is using a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency band, and an option to “Maintain Internet Connection in Sleep Mode” which would allow users to leave their devices without worrying about interrupted downloads of content or software updates.
These changes are very much aiming to make the Nintendo Switch more and more attractive as the date for the release of its OLED model looms closer and closer (set to release on October 8th, 2021).