Person playing the Mario Kart video game on a Nintendo Switch

Looking to pick up a new Nintendo Switch? There are four different models, including the original console, the slightly updated model, the Switch Lite, and the new OLED Switch. Here’s how to pick the best one for your gaming needs and budget.

The Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch OLED's packaging

The newest Switch choice happens to be the most powerful one. This is a new version of the Switch is called the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, named so because of the new OLED screen. In essence, it’s the same Switch we all know and love, but the screen is a substantial improvement over the original models. It’s 0.8 inches larger and substantially brighter with deeper blacks thanks to the OLED technology. However, this is only a consideration when playing in handheld mode. When playing on a TV with your Switch in the dock, you’ll have the same experience.

Along with the screen, it also boasts 64 GB of storage instead of 32 GB, giving you more internal storage to use before you need an SD card. It also features a new version of the dock that includes an extra USB port and is technically HDR-ready when it comes to the hardware, despite the fact that the console can’t actually do that as of yet. While Nintendo could theoretically activate this with an update, they’ve not announced plans to do so. It also features a proper HDMI 2.0 port too, which is better than the 1.4 port on the original dock.

In the simplest possible terms, this is the ideal one for people who are going to be playing in handheld mode and also don’t mind the slightly inflated price of $249.99 for the console.

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

With a better screen and more storage space, the Nintendo Switch OLED Model is the new premium experience for budding Switch owners.

The (Updated) Original Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch packaging

The clunky title here is somewhat necessary as the actual original Switch isn’t something you can generally buy. The original Nintendo Switch launched back in 2017, but an updated model was released in 2019. Either way though, this version of the console will set you back $299. This model improved the battery life of the console by up to 50% or so, taking it from 2.5-6.5 hours of battery life up to 4.5-9 hours. The revision did very little to change the formula outside of that.

The updated version of the Switch is the most common by far that’s on sale now. It allows you to switch between handheld and docked gameplay with ease. The Joy-Cons it comes with are detachable, too, making it a good fit for multiplayer games and family usage especially.

While there are very few original Switch consoles out in the wild now, you can make sure you’re getting the one with the improved battery by making sure it has a red box instead of the original’s white box. Along with that, you can check second-hand consoles using the model number logic below, which can be found on the bottom of the Switch console itself.

  • Old Switch: HAC-001; Serial Number begins with “XA”
  • New Switch: HAC-001-01; Serial Number begins with “XK”

Nintendo Switch

The original model features everything good about the Switch, but with better battery life than the 2017 models.

The Nintendo Switch Lite

Yellow Nintendo Switch Lite
Marti Bug Catcher/

The Nintendo Switch Lite is still a Switch, but it can only be played in handheld mode. It also comes with the Joy-Cons built-in to the console itself, which means they can’t be detached, making it far less viable for multiplayer gaming. It also has a 5.5-inch screen and a battery life of between 3 and 7 hours depending on what you’re playing. Alongside that, because the controllers can’t be detached, you don’t have things like HD Rumble or the IR Motion Camera.

This also means that it can’t be used to play a variety of games like Super Mario Party, Ring Fit Adventure, and even the Just Dance series, as these games don’t support handheld mode. Despite all of that, the console still has its uses as one for younger gamers or those on the go. This is because it’s both lighter and smaller, making it far easier for them to use.

Along with that, this device has one big selling point in its favor, as it tends to cost only $199, instead of the $299 of the standard model. Also, it comes in a nice array of different colors. They’re really quite stunning, making them an excellent choice as a second console for those who want to take something light with them on trips, too.

Nintendo Switch Lite

A smaller, easier-to-handle version of the Switch that loses a few features but is far friendlier for younger hands---and those who want to save a bit of money.

The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Nintendo Switch of 2023

Logitech G735 Wireless Gaming Headset
Best Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Headphones Overall
Logitech G735 Wireless Gaming Headset
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Best Budget Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Headphones
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EarFun Free 2
Jabra Elite 45h
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Sony WH-1000XM5
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Joshalynne is a freelance writer and lifelong learner who always loves studying new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else.
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Jason Coles is a freelancer for How-To Geek and a lifelong nerd. He's written about a wide variety of topics from tech to gaming, with bylines at The Inventory, Eurogamer, TechRadar, and more. He's also a certified personal trainer.
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