It’s been over a year since the OLED Nintendo Switch, or Switch OLED, joined the Nintendo console lineup, adding to the family alongside the Switch Lite and the original Nintendo Switch.
I recall when the Switch Lite was introduced back in 2019, holding a $199 (£199) price tag. The early 2017 original Nintendo Switch now costs around $300 (£260). The higher-end Nintendo Switch OLED edition, which I’ve had the chance to experience, comes in at $350 (£310).
With minimal upgrades for an additional $50 (£50), I believe the Switch OLED may still be a worthy investment. However, it’s worth noting that deals and bundles are more commonly found for the regular Switch. In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this console, from its upgraded features to whether it’s worth the investment based on my experience.
The OLED Advantage
Display: Bigger, Brighter, and More Vibrant
The most significant upgrade the Nintendo Switch OLED brings is the larger, more vibrant OLED panel with reduced bezels. This 7-inch OLED screen offers a higher contrast ratio and true blacks, resulting in stunning visuals when playing games in handheld mode.
Although the resolution remains at 720p, the display’s size and quality make it the most immersive experience you can get on a Switch.
Improved Build Quality and Design
The Nintendo Switch OLED isn’t just about the display; it also features a variety of quality-of-life improvements. You’ll find a more robust kickstand, 64GB of internal storage (compared to the original’s 32GB), better speakers, a padded dock, and an Ethernet port on the dock for improved online gaming. These enhancements justify the $50 price difference from the original Switch.
Comparing the Models: OLED vs. Regular vs. Lite
Let’s take a step back and examine the differences between the Nintendo Switch OLED, Regular, and Lite models. By understanding the differences, you can make an informed decision on which one is the best fit for your gaming preferences.
Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch (OLED model), and Nintendo Switch Lite
|Nintendo Switch (Old)
|Nintendo Switch (OLED)
|Nintendo Switch Lite
|6.2-inch LCD, 1280×720
|7-inch OLED, 1280×720
|5.5-inch LCD, 1280×720
|Size and Weight
|102mm x 239mm x 13.9mm, 297g
|102mm x 242mm x 13.9mm, 420g
|91.1mm x 208mm x 13.9mm, 275g
|Battery Life (approx.)
|2.5 – 6.5 hours
|4.5 – 9 hours
|3 – 7 hours
|NVIDIA Custom Tegra
|NVIDIA Custom Tegra
|NVIDIA Custom Tegra
|IR Motion Camera
Screen Differences: Size and Quality
The display sets these models apart. The 7-inch OLED screen on the OLED model offers improved contrast, deeper blacks, and more vibrant colors. For instance, playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the OLED model, you’ll see colors that truly stand out and dark scenes with rich blacks, unlike the other versions.
The regular Switch has a 6.2-inch LCD screen, and the Lite sports a 5.5-inch LCD screen. Both are decent for gaming, but they don’t quite reach the visual excellence of the OLED.
|Nintendo Switch OLED Model (White)
|Nintendo Switch Neon Red/Blue
|Nintendo Switch Lite (Blue)
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
How Portable and User-friendly Are They?
The Switch Lite is tailored for handheld play, making it the most portable option. It’s lighter and smaller than its counterparts, perfect for gaming on the move. However, it can’t connect to a TV, so if you love playing on a big screen, the Lite might not be your cup of tea.
The regular Switch and the OLED model have similar designs, allowing for handheld and docked play. The OLED version, however, boasts a sturdier, adjustable kickstand, better speakers, and an Ethernet port in the dock. These enhancements make gaming more enjoyable and convenient.
Storage Space and Battery Life: What to Expect
The OLED model leads in internal storage with 64GB, double the regular Switch’s 32GB. This means you can store more games without needing an extra SD card. The Switch Lite also has 32GB of storage.
Battery life is comparable for the OLED model and the updated regular Switch, ranging from 4.5 to 9 hours, depending on the game. This is a notable improvement over the original 2017 Switch model, which lasted 2.5 to 6.5 hours. The Switch Lite’s battery life is slightly lower, clocking in at 3 to 7 hours.
Price Differences: Which Fits Your Budget?
Price is another essential factor. The Nintendo Switch OLED costs $349 (£310), the regular Switch is $299 (£260), and the Switch Lite is $199 (£199). Depending on your budget and the features you value, one of these may be a better match for you.
For First-Time Buyers
If you’re new to the Nintendo Switch family and considering which model to purchase, the OLED version is the clear winner. The improved display, design, and added features make it the best Switch experience available. While the original Switch and Switch Lite have lower price points, the OLED model’s enhancements make it well worth the extra investment.
For Current Switch Owners
If you already own a Switch, the decision to upgrade depends on your situation. If your current console is from 2017 or early 2018, you might see a significant improvement in the Switch OLED, thanks to the enhanced display and updated design. On the other hand, if you already have a newer model or primarily play in docked mode, the benefits of upgrading might not be as noticeable, making it harder to justify the expense.
Performance: The Nintendo Switch OLED has the same processor as the original Switch, but it has a more efficient OLED display. This means that the OLED model has a slightly better frame rate than the original Switch. The OLED model also has a longer battery life than the original Switch.
Compatibility: The Nintendo Switch OLED is compatible with all existing Switch games and accessories. However, the OLED model has a slightly larger screen than the original Switch. This means that some cases and screen protectors may not be compatible with the OLED model.
The Joy-Con Drift Issue
One area of concern for many users is the infamous Joy-Con drift issue, where the analog sticks on the controllers start to register movement even when not in use.
Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch OLED uses the same Joy-Cons as the original, meaning the issue persists. However, Nintendo has acknowledged the problem and offers free repairs for affected units, which may provide some peace of mind.
Is the Nintendo Switch OLED Worth It?
- Display: The 7-inch OLED screen is a massive improvement over the original, providing better contrast and true blacks.
- Design: Enhanced build quality, a better kickstand, improved speakers, and an Ethernet port add to the overall gaming experience.
- Storage: The 64GB of internal storage (double the original) allows you to store more games without requiring a separate SD card.
- Joy-Con Drift: The console still uses the same Joy-Cons, meaning the drift issue hasn’t been resolved.
- Performance: The Switch OLED’s performance is the same as the original model; there are no enhancements in this area.
The Nintendo Switch OLED is an excellent choice for first-time buyers or those with an older Switch model. Its upgraded display, design improvements, and increased storage make it the best Switch experience currently available.
However, for those who primarily play in docked mode or have a newer original Switch, the benefits of upgrading may not outweigh the cost.
Ultimately, the decision to purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and budget. We hope this review has provided you with valuable information to make an informed choice. Happy gaming!
If you’re still undecided about whether the Nintendo Switch OLED is the right choice for you, it’s also worth considering other gaming consoles on the market. Check out this comprehensive comparison of the PS5 and Xbox Series X to help you make an informed decision.