Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch: What’s different?

  • Nintendo Switch OLED

    $320 $0 Save $-320

    The latest Switch models makes a hugely telling upgrade to its screen for a transformative change in presentation, but runs all the same games as the standard version.

  • Switch square

    Nintendo Switch

    $234 $0 Save $-234

    It’s now pretty old, but the Switch still represents great value and is more affordable than its OLED sibling, with access to an identical library of titles and the same performance levels.

It’s now been a few years since Nintendo shook up its Switch lineup with a new model that upgraded the console’s built-in screen massively.


But what exactly does the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) have over the standard Switch? And, as the older model is also still readily available, which should you choose?

Here’s how they stack up when compared head-to-head.


Price and specs

There are some key differences between the Switch OLED and the standard Switch that can be summed up pretty easily by comparing them directly.

The Nintendo Switch OLED has a number of new features – a larger screen, for starters – but beneath the hood, it’s essentially the same as the existing Switch.

  • Nintendo Switch OLED Nintendo Switch
    Dimensions 102 x 242 x 13.9mm 102 x 239 x 13.9mm
    Weight 320g (420g with Joy-Cons) 297g (398g with Joy-Cons)
    Chipset Nvidia Tegra X1 Nvidia Tegra X1
    RAM 4GB 4GB
    Storage 64GB expandable 32GB expandable
    Headset Compatibility Bluetooth and wired Bluetooth and wired
    Display 7-inch OLED 6.2-inch LCD
    Output resolution 720p (handheld), 1080p (TV) 720p (handheld), 1080p (TV)

This includes the battery, which is the same capacity for each model. Both consoles also come with the exact same processing unit – a custom version of the Nvidia Tegra X1 – plus 4GB of RAM. They also each share similar screen specs, with a 720p60 resolution in handheld mode, 1080p60 when docked and plugged into a TV.

This effectively means that all the same Nintendo Switch games work across both consoles. Accessories too – including the Joy-Con controllers – as the size of each console unit is more or less the same.

Both come with a dock, two Joy-Con controllers, and a Joy-Con grip to turn them into a more conventional gamepad.

Nintendo Switch OLED model vs Nintendo Switch: What's the difference? photo 2What’s different?

There are a few key differences between the Nintendo Switch (OLED model) and the original Switch.

Size and weight

In terms of size and weight, there is little between them, even though the Switch OLED has a larger display. It’s the bezel that has shrunk on the OLED version, allowing for a bigger screen but retaining the same overall console height. This is the reason the Joy-Cons are still compatible.

The Switch OLED is fractionally longer and slightly heavier, but you really won’t notice the difference.

Nintendo Switch OLED model vs Nintendo Switch: What's the difference? photo 3Display

By far and away, the biggest difference between the models is the display.

As the latest model’s name suggests, it sports an OLED panel, which provides better colour accuracy, higher contrast, and overall better picture performance. It also has a wider viewing angle in comparison to the LCD panel used in the standard Switch.

The OLED panel has a cooler white output that gives it the impression of extra brightness – it’s a “cleaner” looking image.

Also, thanks to the lack of a backlight (OLED pixels are self-illuminating), the screen doesn’t require as large a bezel (as mentioned above). That means the Switch OLED comes with a 7-inch display without increasing the size of the console itself. The standard Switch screen is 6.2 inches.

Built-in kickstand

While the original Switch features a built-in kickstand, it’s tiny – at about 10mm wide – and not great at supporting the console for desktop mode.

The Switch OLED has a much beefier kickstand. Not only does it run across the width of the rear, but it’s also adjustable through a wide range of angles. This makes for better repositioning for desktop play.

The MicroSD card slot is tucked behind each console’s kickstand.

Nintendo Switch OLED model vs Nintendo Switch: What's the difference? photo 5Colour options

While both consoles come in the classic ‘Neon’ colour option (one Joy-Con is blue, the other is red), the Switch OLED is also available in a standout white option, which looks nice and clean. Even the dock is white for this model – it’s usually only in black plastic.

There have been several special edition versions of the standard Switch over the years, as well as a grey variant, and these are now typically produced for the OLED instead, such at the current impressive The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom limited edition console.

Storage

The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) comes with double the storage capacity, which means you will be able to install twice as many games. However, 64GB is still relatively meagre, so you will want to buy a microSD card separately anyway – so factor in that cost. We’ve always considered it a mandatory requirement for the standard Switch.

Dock

Both consoles come with a charging dock that also carries TV connectivity. They each sport two USB 2.1 ports to their side and an HDMI output.

The big difference between the standard and OLED docks is that the latter now comes with wired internet connectivity too – in the form of a LAN port. This is instead of the hidden USB socket on the rear of the old Switch. You can only connect the standard Switch via Wi-Fi.

Nintendo Switch OLED model vs Nintendo Switch: What's the difference? photo 4

Pocket-lint

When docked, both consoles output 1080p60 and up to 5.1 PCM audio.

It’s also worth noting that the dock for the Switch OLED is also available to purchase separately and is compatible with the older Switch.

Audio

The Switch OLED has fractionally enhanced sound output. Its speakers are ported slightly differently, to deliver louder and more immersive sound.

Both come with support for Bluetooth and wired headphones.

Conclusion

If you already own a Switch, it’s a tough upsell to upgrade to the OLED, especially if you play mostly on the TV, where you’ll notice almost literally no differences.

However, if you’re a new buyer without an existing Switch, there’s no competition in our minds and having used both extensively – the OLED model is undoubtedly the best you can get. You will have to stretch your budget as it’s $50 more expensive than the standard version, but we do think it’s worth it – that screen really is that good. That said, if you don’t have the extra cash, the original Switch is still an awesome machine.

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