Nintendo Switches
Image: Nintendo

In October 2021 Nintendo launched a OLED hardware revision of its Switch console: the Switch OLED Model. The original Switch launched in March 2017, with the Switch Lite joining the lineup in 2019.

But is the OLED Switch better? Is there a difference between Nintendo Switch consoles? In this guide, we offer several scenarios and our advice to help you decide whether you should buy a regular Switch, a Switch Lite, or Switch OLED model.

We'll cover the advantages of each model, why Switch OLED is more expensive, and if the Switch OLED is worth it.

What is the best Nintendo Switch? - Switch buyer's guide

Nintendo Switch Lite
Image: Nintendo

So, then, three Switches. Each variant has slightly different technical specifications and features. Perhaps you're looking for a more powerful console, or maybe you just want something to play on the go.

Our Switch hub guide covers the absolute 101 basics if you're new to gaming, and if you're looking for an in-depth technical comparison between each Switch model, check out our Nintendo Switch OLED vs. regular Switch vs. Switch Lite specs comparison for more numbers and detail.

The original, standard Nintendo Switch is a handheld hybrid console which is also playable on your television with two detachable controllers. Switch OLED is very similar, with a bigger, better screen and more internal storage. And Switch Lite is a smaller, handheld-only version with controllers that don't detach from the device.

Next, we'll look at the basic features and offer advice as to which Switch you should get depending on your use case, or whether you should upgrade from your existing Switch to the premium OLED model.

Nintendo Switch versions - model comparisons

We've got a breakdown and comparisons for all three Switch models below, courtesy of the official Nintendo website. This includes what games are playable on each console, screen sizes, battery life, and internal memory.

Details Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Lite Nintendo Switch OLED
Play Modes TV
Handheld TV
Playable games All Nintendo Switch games Switch games that support Handheld mode All Nintendo Switch games
Dimensions Height: 102mm
Width: 239mm
Thickness: 13.9mm
Height: 91.1mm
Width: 208mm
Thickness: 13.9mm
Height: 102mm
Width: 242mm
Thickness: 13.9mm
398g / .88lbs (incl. Joy-Con)
275g / .61lbs
420g / .93lbs (incl. Joy-Con)
Screen type/size

6.2 inch LCD touchscreen

5.5 inch LCD touchscreen
7.0 inch OLED touchscreen
Internal storage
Battery life
Approx. 4.5-9 hours
(approx. 5.5 hours tested with Breath of the Wild)
Approx 3-7 hours
(approx 4 hours tested with Breath of the Wild)
Approx. 4.5-9 hours
(approx. 5.5 hours tested with Breath of the Wild)

Resolution (handheld)
Resolution (docked)

We've got plenty of specific guides on the tech and differences below, too:

Nintendo Switch versions - Pros & Cons

Here we'll briefly run down the benefits and drawbacks of each Nintendo Switch model.

Is the standard/regular Nintendo Switch worth it?

Nintendo Switch
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

If you're looking for a Switch on a budget and you want to be able to play on your TV, the regular Switch is a great option.

Is the Nintendo Switch Lite worth it?

Nintendo Switch Lite
Image: Nintendo

Let's take a look at Switch Lite's good points and disadvantages...

If you want the smallest possible Switch and you're happy to play exclusively in portable mode, the Lite is a fantastic console.

Is the Nintendo Switch OLED worth it?

Switch OLED Joy Con

Is it worth getting an OLED Switch? If only the best will do, Switch OLED is the premium model — the best Switch you can buy — and the one you want.

Does Switch OLED have better graphics? Does Switch OLED look better than TV? No, and no.

Graphically, beyond the improved contrast of the screen, Switch OLED's visual fidelity is the same as the other consoles, and if you're putting the Switch OLED through a television, you won't see any difference whatsoever.

So, which Switch should I buy?

If money is no object, we'd personally recommend the Switch OLED as the very best option. The screen looks beautiful, and going back to a standard LCD screen is tough once you've experienced the improved contrast of an OLED. You can find more details about why we think the Switch OLED is the best model further down the page, where we explore specific use cases.

However, if portability is paramount, you play games primarily alone, and you don't mind sacrificing being able to play on a TV, the Switch Lite is a great little machine, too — not to mention the most affordable option.

You'll still have a great time with the standard Switch if your budget isn't able to stretch to the OLED model. We spent hundreds of hours with our original Switch before the OLED arrived in 2021 and loved every minute of it.

Just try not to look at the OLED version if you get the original model — you'll definitely be jealous of its larger screen with deeper colours and higher contrast. The Switch OLED difference is significant, and it might be tough to go back.


Should I upgrade to Switch OLED if I already have a Switch?

If you're a Nintendo fan it's highly likely that you already own a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, which begs the question: Is the Switch OLED worth the extra $50? Is it really that much better?

You can read our in-depth hardware review for the Nintendo Switch OLED model but below we've listed several use cases and offer our advice accordingly based on personal experience.

Is Switch OLED a worthwhile upgrade from the standard Switch?

In short, yes, but only if you play in handheld and are 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.

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 & Pricing Overview

Here are the essential improvements the OLED Switch offers over the standard Nintendo Switch:

  • A bigger, better screen
  • A bigger, better kickstand
  • 'Enhanced audio', so 'bigger, better' sound in handheld mode
  • 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 detail, 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.

Switch OLED Splatoon 3

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 on board. 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 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 interested, 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. Going from a tired old launch Switch to a brand-spanking-new Switch OLED will feel like a substantial upgrade. Although if you only play on your TV, there's really no point.

Short answer: Yes, we definitely would.

Switch OLED Model Screen

I own a Switch Lite — should I buy a Switch OLED?

Long answer: This depends on how you feel about your Switch Lite. While the Lite's screen isn't as vivid as the 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 interested in the extra bells and whistles offered by the Switch OLED, it's worth investigating.

Switch OLED Metroid Dread

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.

Switch OLED Mario Kart 8

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 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 OLED 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 sells 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 OLED dock separately.

Switch OLED TV Family

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.

But is OLED better than Switch Lite? Is Switch OLED better for handheld in general? Alright, easy beans!

For us, the increased size over the Lite variant is 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 its 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.

Is Switch OLED worth it if you have a Switch Lite?

Long answer: It's a toughie, that's for sure. Personally, we'd say yes, tentatively — once you've seen the OLED screen, it's hard to go back, plus we appreciate the increased size. However, if you love Lite's form factor, the OLED is certainly more cumbersome. Really, though, you need to see an OLED for yourself first and see how you get on with it.

Short answer: Only if you can't live without the brighter, bigger screen.

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 ever 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 almost certainly 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?

Long answer:...

Short answer: Why are you even reading this guide if money's no problem? Yes, of course you should buy the latest and greatest version of the Switch! Off to the Switch OLED purchase page with you.

Switch OLED by the pool

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it still worth buying a Nintendo Switch now?

Is buying a Switch worth it in 2024? It's true that the console is getting on in years — the original version launched in 2017 and a successor isn't far away.

However, the current console has a staggeringly great library of games, so you're unlikely to be disappointed with the variety and quality of games on offer, even at this later stage in the console cycle.

Is Switch as good as PS5?

In terms of raw technical specifications, no, of course not.

However, Nintendo makes some of the very best video games in the world — and has done so for decades — and Switch is the only console you'll find them on. Add to that the convenience and portability of Switch, and it's a very attractive proposition even if it can't compete with the raw power of the PlayStation 5 of Xbox.

Also, try playing a PS5 on the bus and see what trouble that causes.

How long does a Nintendo Switch last?

It's a legitimate question, but one that's very hard to answer — as with most consumer electronics. Nintendo is a respected manufacturer of console hardware and has a decent track record when it comes to longevity — Joy-Con drift aside. At Nintendo Life, we have several original Switch consoles and they're still going strong many years later.

That doesn't mean we've never encountered problems, of course, but in general you should expect to get many years of use out of the console if you take decent care of it. Check out our hardware problems trobleshooting guide below for details on common Switch faults.

Do Switch batteries go bad?

We can't answer this definitely, but we here on Team NL have personally never had battery issues with any of the many Switches we've owned over the years.

That's not to say they will never occur, but we've never personally encountered Switch battery problems in the thousands of hours we've collectively been using, charging, and recharging our Switches.

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 in our Switch OLED gallery.

We also have a parent-specific Switch buyer's guide covering which is most appropriate for your child: