Despite its overwhelming popularity, the Nintendo Switch is slightly behind the times. The beloved gaming console is capable of producing some stunning graphics. Still, when compared to the fidelity of the Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5, it’s sorely lacking in clarity and power. A mid-console refresh of the Switch was long rumored to have brought 4K output along with it, but the (still impressive) OLED Switch ultimately shipped without support for the highest resolution. However, Marseille’s mClassic 4K adapter add-on promises to bridge the gap until Nintendo upgrades. Marseille sent SPY a unit of the mClassic for review. Our thoughts below.
Marseille mClassic: What We Liked
The mClassic is, essentially, a sort of external graphics card inside an HDMI dongle attachment. The unit is an adaptor, with one side plugging into the HDMI port of the Nintendo Switch’s dock and then offering a plug for your TV’s HDMI cord to plug into. The mClassic is then powered by a USB connector that can easily plug into the back of the Nintendo Switch’s dock. Setting up the unit is a breeze, and outside of just flipping on the toggle switch on the unit itself to turn the 4K conversion on, you won’t have to do anything else to get the 4K conversion.
Upscaling is where things get interesting. While the mClassic won’t actually update the individual polygons of an image (i.e., the actual way the game designers created the game’s assets), it does improve the overall image quality of the game itself. The best way I can describe the effect is this: you know when you have a pair of suede shoes, and they get dirty or happen to lose their luster? When you get them properly cleaned, they look brand new. That’s basically the effect of the mClassic; the sometimes jagged edges of the picture quality are polished and cleaned, rendering the final image in overall smoother quality. It’s subtle — but makes a huge difference once you know what you’re looking at. It’s not just new games either, the mClassic improves older titles too, making it feel like you’re revisiting old favorites like Castlevania with a fresh perspective. It also works for media as well, should you want to attach it to a Blu-ray or even a DVD player.
Marseille mClassic: What We Didn’t Like
The one drawback to the mClassic is that its execution can vary a bit from game to game. You can really tell the difference right away in some titles, while others seem to have little impact. Fortnite, for example, didn’t change too much at all (I’m assuming it’s mainly due to the fact that the entire game is online, and there are a lot of assets loading at a given time). In others, however, it made a huge difference. This isn’t enough for me to not recommend it, but it’s definitely something worth mentioning so that you’re not disappointed accordingly.
The Verdict: Marseille’s mClassic Is an Essential Upgrade
It feels too cliche to call the mClassic a game-changer, and yet, I feel like that’s the case. Having the edges sanded off of your favorite games and rendering them with a newfound clarity is well worth the $99 price tag of the unit, elevating my gaming experience with the Nintendo Switch. While we don’t yet have a 4K Switch, this will certainly do the trick in the interim.