The Nintendo Switch serves as another iteration of the OLED handheld hybrid, with an improved screen and a plethora of bells and whistles. At first glance, the OLED model might not look much different from the original Switch, but it certainly has a number of new features you should be aware of, especially if you’re looking to upgrade. Considering that the original Switch is almost five years old at the moment, this is a good time to grab OLED. Or perhaps you are considering buying a Switch for the first time.
Either way, it’s good to know the difference between the original and OLED, so you can make an informed purchase – and that’s where we come in. Here, we’ll compare the original Switch with the new OLED model, with details that hopefully help you choose one over the other.
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- The best Nintendo Switch games for 2021
|Nintendo Switch||Nintendo Switch OLED|
|Shape||About 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long and .55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)||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 .71 pounds (.93 pounds with the Joy-Con controllers attached)|
|Screen||Multi-Touch Capacitive Touch Screen / 6.2-inch LCD Screen / 1280 x 720||Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 7.0-inch OLED screen / 1280×720|
|CPU/GPU||NVIDIA Custom Tegra Processor||NVIDIA Custom Tegra Processor|
|Storage||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 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||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||Compatible with 5.1ch Linear PCM output/output via HDMI connector in TV mode|
|Button||power button / volume button||power button / volume button|
|usb connector||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)|
|game card slot||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|
|sensor||Accelerometer, gyroscope and brightness sensor||Accelerometer, gyroscope and brightness sensor|
|good operating environment||41-95 degree / 20% -80% humidity||41-95 degree / 20% -80% humidity|
|internal battery||Lithium-ion Battery/4310mAh||Lithium-ion Battery / 4310mAh|
|battery life||about 4.5 to 9 hours||about 4.5 to 9 hours|
|charging time||about 3 hours||about 3 hours|
|DT Review||4/5 stars||4/5 stars|
|availability||Available now||Available now|
Switches and Switches OLED have a lot in common, from their design to their features. However, there are some specific differences that you should be aware of, as each system is targeted at a slightly different audience. The most important factor to consider is the OLED’s screen, which makes colors more distinct and is much larger than the original model. As its name suggests, it has a 7.0-inch OLED screen, while the original has a 6.2-inch LCD screen. Apart from being large, the OLED screen is unique in that it provides a backlight to illuminate the pixels even further. This means that colors will appear more vibrant, making the original screen seem dimmer by comparison. For players who plan to play more in handheld mode, OLED should be your first choice.
You’ll also access a built-in LAN port within the OLED’s dock, which makes it more convenient to connect an Ethernet cable to it. By default, all Nintendo Switch consoles support Wi-Fi, but connecting via an Ethernet cable gives you better, more stable Internet speeds. With the original Switch model, you can connect a LAN adapter to it via USB, but this can be costly and less convenient. So, if you plan to play online frequently, OLED could be for you. Note that you can only take advantage of a wired connection when docked. In handheld mode, both the Switch and the Switch OLED must use Wi-Fi.
One of the downsides of the original Switch is its slim, slim kickstand. It works well enough, but it always seems like the switch is going to collapse under the weight of the kickstand. Now, thanks to the Switch OLED’s new and improved kickstand, you’ll have fewer issues. That’s because the kickstand switch covers the entire backside of the OLED, is sturdy enough, and allows for multiple degrees of positioning. In short, the new kickstand on the Switch OLED is better in almost every way.
Finally, Switch OLEDs have white Joy-Con controllers, which is the first time they’ve been made available (at least officially) in that color. Plus, the Switch OLED comes with a built-in screen protector, which was a nice surprise. After all, Switch OLED has a number of additional features that stand out over the original model. Beyond that, OLED doesn’t have any CPU or processing improvements from the original.
When it comes to controller support, Switch and Switch OLED are practically identical. You can connect any Joy-Con to any system with a Pro Controller and even third-party USB wired gamepads. Wired controllers must be connected to the dock, which means you can only use them in TV mode. The Switch OLED’s dock has two USB ports on the exterior, while the original Switch dock has three—one on the inside, and two on the exterior. It’s a small win for the original Switch, as it has more USB ports.
Both systems can connect wirelessly to additional controllers in handheld, docked, or TV mode. We highly recommend playing with the Pro Controller, as it feels like a traditional gamepad you’d find on a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. This works well, especially with games that require precision such as shooters. Both systems come with two Joy-Con controllers out of the box. Each Joy-Con can be flipped horizontally and used as an individual controller, meaning two players can enjoy the system immediately.
Once again, both systems support the same exact games. You can purchase a physical cartridge or a digital download through the eShop. One thing to note is that the Switch OLED has 64GB of onboard memory, while the original only has 32GB. You can expand the memory using a microSD card, but by default, the Switch OLED has more memory. It’s also worth noting, that if you connect the Switch OLED via an Ethernet cable, you’ll be able to download games faster than if you’re using Wi-Fi, so that’s an important thing to consider. is the details. If you’re planning on going the digital route, OLED may work best as long as you dock it to the TV (and hook up an Ethernet cable to it).
In addition, thanks to the upgraded screen, games will look better on OLED in handheld mode. But if you’re only planning on playing the Dock, you won’t be able to take advantage of the advanced screen, so in that case, you can get away with using the basic Switch instead.
The Switch offers a great array of OLED features, but they come at an additional cost. You can pick up a basic Switch model for $300, and in some cases, even less. In contrast, the Switch OLED is $350, but it comes with added bonuses like a larger OLED screen, built-in LAN ports, an improved kickstand, and a white Joy-Con controller. It’s possible that the original Switch will get a price cut soon, but as it stands, it’s been around $300 since 2017 and hasn’t fluctuated since. Ultimately, you can judge whether the Switch is worth the extra $50 price of entry for OLED.
While the Switch OLED is better than the original model in more ways than one, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. The Switch OLED is perfect for those who often want to play in handheld mode, as it has a bigger, better screen. It is also ideal for those who want to play online frequently or download most of their games as the system has a built-in LAN port on the dock. Or maybe, you just love the white Joy-Con controllers that come with it.
If you already have a regular Switch system, it’s hard to recommend an upgrade because the basic model gets the job done just fine. If you don’t already have a Switch and are considering getting one, OLED is likely the better choice. Even if its new features may not appeal to you, it is good to have the latest model. It’s worth noting though, OLED is hard to come by, which means you’ll have no choice but to get the original model, at least for the time being. Players who just want to enjoy some of the best Nintendo games but aren’t particular about how they look should consider buying the original Switch model, as it’s less expensive, more readily available, and works just fine. does.
After spending some time with the Switch OLED, it will be difficult to go back to the original model, especially in handheld mode. As we said in our Switch OLED review: “The Nintendo Switch OLED may not be what players dreamed of, but it’s undoubtedly a technological step forward for the Switch.” With this in mind, I hope you can confidently make a decision that best suits your needs.