Switch Lite vs. Switch vs. Switch OLED: Which Nintendo console should you buy?

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It is common for Nintendo to develop hardware iterations, especially with its handheld devices. This is true with the Nintendo Switch line of systems. So far, we’ve seen the original Nintendo Switch, the HAC-001 (-01) model with better battery life, the Nintendo Switch Lite, and now, the Nintendo Switch OLED. These models all have different features and benefits, possibly making it hard to choose which one is best for you.

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The Nintendo Switch is the newest addition to the OLED family and is available at a variety of retailers. Whether you own an existing Nintendo Switch or you’re looking to buy one for the first time, you’ll want to be aware of all the options. And that’s where we come in.

Here, we’ll break down the differences between the Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED to help you make an informed purchase.


Recommended Reading:

  • 8 problems Nintendo Switch OLED models don’t fix
  • Switch OLED vs. Switch Light
  • OLED vs Switch Switch
Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Lite Nintendo Switch OLED
Shape About 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long and .55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached) About 3.6 inches high, 8.2 inches long and .55 inches deep 4 inches high, 9.5 inches long and .55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)
weight .66 pounds (.88 pounds with the Joy-Con controllers attached) about .61 pounds About .71 pounds (.93 pounds with the Joy-Con controllers attached)
Screen Multi-Touch Capacitive Touch Screen / 6.2-inch LCD Screen / 1280 x 720 Capacitive touch screen / 5.5-inch LCD / 1280×720 resolution Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 7.0-inch OLED screen / 1280×720
CPU/GPU NVIDIA Custom Tegra Processor NVIDIA Custom Tegra Processor NVIDIA Custom Tegra Processor
Storage 32 GB Internal Storage (MicroSD Card Expandable) 32 GB Internal Storage (MicroSD Card Expandable) 64 GB (MicroSD card expandable)
cordless Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
video output Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode and up to 720p via built-in screen in Tabletop mode and Handheld mode n/a Up to 1080p via HDMI in TV mode/tabletop mode and up to 720p via built-in screen in handheld mode
audio output Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output with output via HDMI n/a Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output/output via HDMI connector in TV mode
speakers Stereo Stereo Stereo
Button power button / volume button Left Stick, Right Stick, A, B, X, Y, L, R, ZL, ZR, +, – Button, Control Pad, Power Button, Volume Button, Home Button, Capture Button power button / volume button
usb connector USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C
headphone/mic jack 3.5 mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard) 3.5 mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard) 3.5 mm 4-pole stereo (CTIA standard)
game card slot Nintendo Switch Game Cards Nintendo Switch Game Cards Nintendo Switch Game Cards
microSD card slot Compatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC memory cards Compatible with microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC memory cards Compatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC memory cards
sensor Accelerometer, gyroscope and brightness sensor Accelerometer / Gyroscope Accelerometer, gyroscope and brightness sensor
good operating environment 41-95 degree / 20% -80% humidity 41-95°F / 20%-80% Humidity 41-95 degree / 20% -80% humidity
internal battery Lithium-ion Battery/4310mAh Lithium-ion Battery / Battery Capacity 3570mAh Lithium-ion Battery / 4310mAh
battery life about 4.5 to 9 hours about 3 to 7 hours about 4.5 to 9 hours
charging time about 3 hours about 3 hours about 3 hours
DT Review 4/5 stars 4/5 stars 4/5 stars
availability Available now Available now Available now

Design and Features

White Nintendo Switch in OLED handheld mode.

All three systems differ in design and support a number of features across the board. Starting with the regular Nintendo Switch, it can be used in handheld, tabletop or TV mode, hence its name. Out of the box, it comes with a dock that can be attached to a TV, allowing you to “switch” it from a handheld device to a home console. The system also comes with two Joy-Con controllers – one for each side of the system – and can be connected to a Joy-Con Grip to function similarly to a standard controller.

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You can use the kickstand on the back of the system to set it on a flat surface and play in tabletop mode—perfect for those traveling with company. The system supports multiple players and is a lot of fun when used in tabletop mode.

The Nintendo Switch OLED does the same thing but has a slightly larger 7-inch screen compared to the 6.2-inch display on the standard model. The OLED model also comes with a built-in Ethernet port, which isn’t present on the standard model (though all models can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi). And the kickstand goes into the rear of the device, which is a big step up from the thinner, weaker kickstand on the original system.

And of course, the OLED screen on the latest models will give you a clearer picture with deeper blacks and more contrast. It’s also going to use less power than an LCD screen, which is always a good thing. It’s also worth noting that the Switch OLED comes with a white Joy-Con set and dock – a color that is yet to be released before. Lastly, the OLED comes with 64GB of onboard memory, as opposed to the original 32GB.

As for the Nintendo Switch Lite, it lacks many of the features listed above. Most importantly, it doesn’t come with a dock and only supports handheld mode, throwing the “switch” functionality out the window. Although many players prefer a dedicated handheld device, so it’s not as bad as it might sound. The Switch Lite doesn’t support a detachable Joy-Con and instead comes as one solid piece. It has a smaller, lighter form factor than its bigger brothers and is built with portability in mind. The Switch Lite comes in several colors including grey, turquoise and yellow.

Despite this, you can actually connect various controllers to it wirelessly, although using them is difficult because the device doesn’t come with a kickstand. It also has less battery life than other models, which is a shame as portability is the main focus. Like the original, the Switch Lite also comes with 32GB of onboard memory, but that can be upgraded with a microSD card. Another drawback is the Switch Lite’s inability to support HD Rumble, which shouldn’t necessarily cause you too many problems – although it does mean you can’t play a small selection of games on it.


A pair of hands holding the controller.

One of the great things about the Switch family of systems is the versatility in its controller options. As with the standard Switch and OLED models, you’ll be able to interact with the device using the Joy-Con controllers. Remember, these can only be connected to the Switch to work in handheld mode, but can also work in tabletop mode or while playing on a TV. You can even flip them horizontally to act as a single controller in games that support this scheme — meaning the device comes with two functioning controllers right off the bat.

Outside of that, you can get a Pro Controller, which acts more like a traditional gamepad that you can use. It has some weight and is on par with an Xbox controller, which is ideal when playing on a TV. However, the Pro Controller can also be connected to the Switch and switch OLED to tabletop mode. We recommend this controller for games that require precision, such as splatoon 2 Or any first-person shooter.

There are also wired options that usually connect via USB, which can be plugged into the dock. These are often third-party gamepads that vary in quality, so we often recommend sticking with Nintendo built-in options if possible.

On the Switch Lite side of things, the controllers aren’t as much of a problem as it’s meant to be played in handheld mode only. You can still connect controllers to it wirelessly, but because of its small screen and lack of a kickstand, we really don’t recommend doing so. Still, you can prop the device up and use a wireless controller like the Pro Controller or Joy-Con with it.


Super Mario Odyssey cover art.

Whatever Switch you get, you shouldn’t run into many game compatibility issues across the board. The Switch and OLED models both support the same game library, so you won’t have any worries if you get one of those two options. You can insert a game cartridge or download the game digitally from the eShop without any problems.

In contrast, the Switch Lite actually blocks you from playing a small selection of games, so you should be aware of them before making your purchase. 1-2 switches And super mario party Both require HD Rumble, which is not supported on the Lite model. There are also some games that will work on the Switch Lite but are less practical due to the smaller screen. for example, just dance 2020 And Ring Fit Adventure There are two workout games that are best played on the big screen so you have plenty of room to move around.

with this, Nintendo Lab Not compatible with Switch Lite.


Blue Nintendo Switch light on table.

Features aside, price is often one of the most important factors when choosing which device is right for you. Prices don’t fluctuate much between Switch systems, but you should be aware of their costs if you want to play on a budget.

A standard Nintendo Switch costs $300 and comes with the device, a dock, two Joy-Con controllers (left and right), a Joy-Con grip, and all the cables needed to hook it up. The system hasn’t received a price drop since its launch in 2017, and it’s unclear whether it will be less expensive.

The Nintendo Switch OLED, on the other hand, costs $350. With that, you’re paying extra for a better, bigger OLED screen, better kickstand, and Ethernet port. Although those features may not seem worth it to you, some will choose to spend…

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