The release of the Switch shook up a previous all. Still, dead market – handheld console gaming had been declining for years, until Nintendo’s hybrid splashed down and managed to wildly outsell competing consoles, in many areas, even the PS4 and Xbox 1.
Of course, Nintendo wanted to continue in the tracks of their success, so two follow-up models were released in the years after – the Nintendo Switch Lite and then Nintendo Switch OLED. We’ve written some detailed comparison articles on them, so if you’re curious how they measure up against each other, you can have a look there!
To decide which Switch best fits your needs and budget, you’ll first have to figure out what you most want to do with it. Are you wanting to take it with you and play on long train rides or play at home in front of your TV? Do you plan to play alone or with friends? Online or in-person?
Each model has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you need to know about the three options:
Original Nintendo Switch
The original Switch is exactly in the middle, price-wise. Retailing for about $299.99 or less, it offers handheld, tabletop, and TV mode gameplay. It has full access to the Switch game library and comes with two JoyCon controllers. It has a 6.2” LCD touch screen and, by default, 32Gb of memory, which can be expanded via a microSD card. All but the first generation (pre-2019) feature a battery life of, on average, 5.5 hours when playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for example.
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Switch Lite was the second model that came out. Marginally smaller and lighter than the original, it sacrificed all docked and tabletop functionality to be portable only. It doesn’t have removable JoyCons but can be paired with them if you buy them separately. It has a smaller screen with the same resolution and a somewhat more limited selection of games as not the entire Switch library is compatible with a handheld-only playstyle, though most are. The trade-off is that the device is cheaper at $199.99 and more convenient for traveling.
Nintendo Switch OLED
The latest member of the Switch family is the OLED – a revamp of the original model. It is functionally identical, offering the same specs at a slightly heavier weight and larger size – the main difference is the titular OLED screen. The 7inch screen comes with much smaller bezels and the to-be-expected improvements in color accuracy, contrast, and visual performance. The OLED is the most expensive version, retailing for about $349.99.
So… what’s the verdict?
Any of the three Switch models is a good choice and likely to be fun to play with. If you already have an original Switch, the Lite is probably the better choice. It offers a different game experience and vice versa. If you’re unsure what you’d like from your experience, the original model is probably your best bet. If you have the spare cash for the OLED model, it is still worth getting – just don’t expect anything too different from the original.
Are you unsure about handheld console gaming or have a limited budget, the Lite is a good option – it’s very affordable and still offers a huge amount of functionality and games to play. You’ll get access to all the major games, albeit not the complete collection found in the Nintendo store – unless you are after a game that’s not compatible, you shouldn’t have too many issues with the restriction.