In June 2021 Nintendo announced the latest hardware revision of the Switch console: the Switch OLED Model. The original Switch launched in March 2017, and if you're a Nintendo fan it's highly likely that you already own a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, which begs the question: Should I upgrade to Switch OLED?
You can read our in-depth hardware review for the Nintendo Switch OLED model which should help you decide if the upgrade is worth your hard earned dough or not, but in this guide we offer several scenarios and our advice to help you decide whether to buy the new Switch or stick with the one you've got.
Switch OLED Buyer's Advice - Should I buy the Nintendo Switch OLED Model?
If you're looking for an in-depth comparison between each Switch model, check out our Nintendo Switch OLED vs. standard Switch tech specs comparison for more technical information — here we're going to offer advice as to whether you should upgrade according to your specific circumstances rather than pure numbers.
Below we've listed several cases and offer our advice accordingly based on the personal experience.
Is Switch OLED a worthwhile upgrade from the standard Switch?
In short, yes, but only if you're interested in a slightly bigger, significantly better screen.
As writers for a site called Nintendo Life, we're always interested in any new Nintendo hardware, but whether you should spend your hard-earned cash on the Switch OLED model will hinge on the attraction of its improved screen. Besides the OLED screen itself (and associated components), the tech inside the console is identical to the standard model — as are the Joy-Con controllers. Switch OLED doesn't offer any performance improvements over the base model, then.
Of course, factors such as your circumstances and budget will come into play when deciding if the new console is right for you, but if you have no interest in the OLED screen, you don't need a Switch OLED in your life right now and you can stop reading here.
Still here? Lovely! We're going to look at some specific use cases to help you decide if Switch OLED is right for you, but first here's a quick round up of the improvements the Switch OLED offers over the base console...
Switch OLED Improvements and Pricing overview
Here are the essential improvements the newest console offers over the standard Nintendo Switch:
- A bigger, better screen
- A bigger, better kickstand
- 'Enhanced audio', so 'bigger, better' sound in handheld mode, presumably
- 64GB of internal storage (double the standard Switch's 32GB)
- A new dock with an in-built LAN port for an ethernet cable (better than a wireless connection for online gaming)
Price-wise, the new OLED model carries the premium price tag of £309.99 / $349.99 over the standard model's RRP of £279.99 / $299.99 and Switch Lite's £199.99 / $199.99.
In general, if you spend (or are likely to spend) a significant amount of your time playing your Switch in handheld or tabletop mode, the 7-inch screen of the Switch OLED Model is definitely worth considering over the standard Switch's 6.2-inch screen.
The article above goes into more details, but the long and short of it is that the new screen offers brighter and more accurate colours, richer and deeper black levels, and a more vibrant and vivid picture overall.
There's no question over which console has the better screen — the question is if it's worth forking out for, especially if you already own the base model.
Hopefully, you'll find some answers below that will help you make an informed decision.
Should I buy a Switch OLED Model? - Use Cases
I don't own a Switch at all — should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: If you've managed to resist the temptations of Nintendo's handheld hybrid console until now, there's never been a better time to jump onboard. With a huge and growing library of brilliant games, and the convenience of being both a home and handheld console, it's one of the best products that Nintendo has ever produced.
There's a reason it's been so successful since launching in 2017, so we'd thoroughly recommend getting involved with Switch, and specifically the new OLED version. The price difference between the standard and OLED models is small enough to make it worth splashing a little extra on the new model, in our opinion.
Short answer: There's never been a better time to buy a Switch, or a better Switch to buy. If you're at all interest, we'd say go for it. Of course we would — you're on a site called Nintendo Life, remember?
I bought a Switch in 2017 — should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: We're well over four years into the Switch's life and if you bought a launch model, the chances are it's looking a bit dog-eared these days. As a hybrid console, your Switch will have likely endured bumps and drops over the years when you've taken it out and about — it happens to the best of us.
If you've thus far resisted the temptation to get the newer standard model (with the better battery life) or the handheld-only Switch Lite, we'd probably recommend you upgrade to the Switch OLED. We can't promise that Nintendo doesn't have the fabled Switch 'Pro' waiting in the wings to launch alongside Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 in 2022 (or 2023), but going from a tired old launch Switch to a brand-spanking-new Switch OLED will feel like a substantial upgrade.
Short answer: Yes, we definitely would.
I own a Switch Lite — should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: This really depends on how you feel about your Switch Lite. While the Lite's screen isn't as vivid as the upcoming OLED variant, its smaller dimensions (5.5 inches versus 7 inches) means that pixel density is increased and the image will naturally look a little 'sharper' — remember, the resolution of both screens is identical: 1280 x 720.
Personally, as much as the Switch Lite is a smart little device, we love having the option to dock the Switch to a TV; it's the console's central gimmick and part of the reason for its success. The bigger brighter screen of the Switch OLED model looks cracking in handheld mode, so if you're after the best (if not the most portable) handheld experience, you should check out the new console.
However, if you're happy with the smaller size and screen on your Switch Lite, you're not interested in playing on TV, you're probably best off sticking with what you've got.
Short answer: Depends. If you play handheld exclusively and like the smaller dimensions of the Lite, stick with it. If you're at all interested in the extra bells and whistles offered by the Switch OLED, we'd say it's worth investigating.
I own the Switch with the better battery life — should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: Ah, we feel your pain. We, too, were unable to resist the siren call of new hardware and 'upgraded' from our launch model Switch to the marginally improved 'silent' revision that offered improved battery life.
Nintendo has confirmed that the OLED model has no internal upgrades or differences other than the screen — same chips, same battery, same everything. The screen is the only real improvement in terms of your gameplay experience; you're not getting any performance boosts here.
Ultimately, if you're not absolutely desperate to see the new screen, you're probably best off staying with what you've got and waiting for the next console. If you're a Switch gamer who plays predominantly on the TV, the choice is even easier — stick with the standard model.
Short answer: If you're not bothered about the more vibrant, slightly bigger screen, we'd probably sit tight until the next inevitable Switch hardware revision.
I recently bought a standard Switch — should I get a Switch OLED?
Long answer: If you've bought a new Switch in the last couple of months, we'd probably recommend keeping it. The games coming for the new system are totally compatible, so unless money is no object, you'll likely be very happy with the current model.
Short answer: No, the standard Switch is still a great system, so stick with it if you've just got one and the bigger screen isn't making you sick with envy.
I only play in docked mode on my TV - should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: As we detailed further up the page, the new Switch model offers no improvements whatsoever when it comes to docked play. If that lovely OLED screen is going to spend its life nestled in that (admittedly lovely-looking) dock, there's really not much point in upgrading.
The new dock does have an in-built LAN port for connecting an ethernet cable directly to the dock (rather than having to use an adapter). Now, we're not going to recommend you buy an entire new console just for that — and Nintendo will be selling the dock separately anyway, if you buy direct — but if you play with a wired internet connection, the new dock will make things a tiny bit tidier around your telly.
Short answer: Nope. And if you can't live without the in-built LAN port, buy the new dock separately.
I only play in handheld mode - should I buy a Switch OLED?
Long answer: Well, assuming you haven't already got a Switch Lite, we'd definitely go for the OLED model over the standard Switch if you're a portable gamer. For us, the increased size over the Lite variant is actually a positive due to our large(r) hands, but the screen is the real reason we'd take the newer model over any other if it's primary function is as a portable system.
Short answer: We would, but if smaller is better in your books (or in your hands or bags), you might want to check out the smaller, cheaper, handheld-only Switch Lite.
I'm an older gamer — should I buy the Switch OLED?
Long answer: For the more seasoned player, it's even more important to take care of yourself while gaming, whether that means using a more comfortable grip in handheld mode, or playing on the biggest screen available to avoid squinting at tiny text. The screen on the Switch OLED could well be a great help for anyone whose eyesight isn't what it used to be, not only in terms of its larger size, but also its vivid image.
Then again, if you only every play docked, you won't see any benefit whatsoever from the new Switch, beyond having a slightly prettier dock next to your telly.
Short answer: If you play in handheld mode and struggle to read text, the increased size and image quality of the Switch OLED will likely improve your playing experience. If you only play on the TV, though, there'll be no difference between the new console and your current one — stick with what you've got.
Money is no object — should I buy the Switch OLED model?
Short answer: Why are you even reading this guide if money's no problem? Yes, of course you should be the latest and greatest version of the Switch! Off to the Switch OLED purchase page with you.
If you're looking for detailed information on Switch OLED model tech specs, check out our Switch OLED vs. Standard Switch vs. Switch Lite spec comparison guide. You can also find some lovely pics of the new model in our Switch OLED gallery. Let us know below if you've got any questions about the screen i the new Switch and we'll endeavour to answer them above.