Updated July 2021: Updated to take into account the Nintendo Switch OLED.
A friend of mine is currently having a difficult time deciding which Nintendo Switch to buy.
You see there’s more than one version of the Switch on the market.
When I bought my Nintendo Switch back in 2017, when the game console was first released, I didn’t have to choose between several models.
Since then Nintendo has released newer versions of the Switch, which has made it confusing for a lot of gamers to choose the right console for them.
So to answer the question.
How many types of Nintendo Switch are there? There are 4 versions. The original Switch, an upgrade of the original which was launched without a name change, so most retailers refer to it as the Switch 2.0 or V2, and the Switch Lite. There is also a fourth model dubbed the “Switch OLED”. What sets the Switch consoles apart are features such as battery life, size, and play options, and screen types/sizes. There are also many special edition Switches.
I know you might be asking yourself which of the 4 consoles should you buy.
If you’re confused, read on to find out the key differences between the different Nintendo Switch models so you can choose the best one for you.
What is the difference between the 4 Nintendo Switch consoles?
Right out the gate, you should know that there is very little difference between the original Switch and the Nintendo Switch 2.0.
You can put these two consoles side by side and not be able to tell one from the other because they have the same appearance. Also, the performance is more or less the same.
The main difference between the original and the Switch V2 is the battery life.
The first Switch has a battery life of between 2.5-6.5 hours, whereas the second Switch gives you a playtime of between 4.5-9 hours.
The Switch OLED also has a battery life of between 4.5-9 hours. For a more in-depth look at the difference between the Switch OLED and the Switch 2.0 or normal Switch as I call it, take a look at my article Switch OLED/Normal Switch comparison article.
Improved hardware on the Switch 2.0 and Switch OLED is largely attributed to its extended battery life.
Curious to know how the original Switch, Switch V2, and Switch OLED compare to the Nintendo Switch Lite? Here’s what I found.
The old and new Nintendo Switch retail at $300. The Switch Lite goes for $200.
However, the Nintendo Switch OLED is placed as a premium product I nth marketplace and sells for $350.
If you’re wondering why the original and Switch 2.0 sell at the same price, it’s because Nintendo plans to replace the first model with the extended battery life Switch.
They, therefore, set the same price for the consoles so you have no price reason not to buy the extended battery version.
Currently, some retailers occasionally sell the original model at discounted prices as they work to clear out their stock.
If you don’t plan to spend hours playing on your Switch in handheld mode check to see if there are some bargain prices being offered for the original model you can take advantage of.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is $100 less than the original and Switch version 2.
While you’ll be saving some money if you choose to buy the Switch Lite, you should know that it only works as a handheld device.
The other consoles can be played in handheld and tabletop mode or connected to the TV.
You can play all Nintendo Switch Games on the original model, Switch 2.0, and the Switch OLED. The Switch Lite only works with games that support handheld mode.
You’ll then pair the controllers to your Switch Lite via Bluetooth then find a way to prop up your device so it can be in tabletop mode for you to play your game.
The first Nintendo Switch, the upgraded version, and the Switch OLED edition have and use Joy-Cons.
Joy-Cons are controllers that have two trigger buttons, an analog stick, and four face buttons.
These controllers, which are packed with motion sensors, can be used attached to the sides of the Switch when playing in handheld mode or wirelessly for TV or tabletop mode.
The Switch Lite doesn’t have Joy-Cons, instead, its controls are built into the game console.
I have lost my Joy-Cons several times so inbuilt controls isn’t a bad thing as it becomes impossible to lose them.
Nintendo Switch Dock
The original Nintendo Switch, the Switch 2.0, and Switch OLED console come with a dock which you can use to charge the game consoles and Joy-Cons.
The dock is also where you plug the Switch to allow video output to your TV when you want to play your favorite Nintendo game on a big screen.
The Switch OLED dock is slightly different as it comes with a built in Ethernet LAN port.
The Switch Lite doesn’t support TV output, so it doesn’t come with a Nintendo Switch Dock.
Dimensions and Weight
The Nintendo Switch Lite earned its name because it shed inches and ounces off the original Switch.
The Switch Lite is 3.6” high, 8.2” long, 0.55” thick while the original Switch and Switch 2.0 are 4” high, 9.4” long, 0.55” thick with Joy-Cons attached. The Switch OLED is 4” high, 9.5” long, 0.55” thick with Joy-Cons attached, which makes it slightly bigger than the normal Switches.
The Switch Lite weighs 0.61 lb and the other models 0.88 lb with Joy-Cons. The Switch OLED is slightly heavier at 0.93 lb.
The first Nintendo Switch and Switch 2.0 have a 6.2″ 1,280 x 720 LCD touch screen.
The Switch OLED sports a 7″ 1,280 x 720p OLED touch screen.
The Switch Lite which is physically smaller than the other two versions of the Switch has a 5.5″ 1,280 x 720 LCD touch screen.
As I mentioned earlier, the key difference between the original Nintendo Switch and the Switch 2.0 is the battery life.
The original Switch has 2.5-6.5 hours of play while the newer Switch can last approximately 4.5-9 hours with a single charge.
The Switch OLED also has a battery life of 4.5-9 hours.
The Lite’s battery is smaller than that of the other two consoles.
Remarkably it has a longer battery life than the first Switch released by Nintendo. This is mostly because just like the Switch 2.0 its internal hardware was upgraded to offer better performance.
The Nintendo Switch Lite also lacks battery hogging features. Fully charged the console can give you 3-7 hours of gaming.
All versions of the Nintendo Switch are available in several colors, so you’re bound to find one that tickles your fancy.
The most common original Nintendo Switch is grey and features blue and red Joy-cons attached to it.
The Switch Lite has four main colors turquoise, gray, yellow, and coral which cover the whole game console.
The limited-edition Nintendo Switch
Nintendo occasionally releases limited or special editions of the three Nintendo Switch consoles.
These consoles work the same as the regular versions. The only difference is they are themed around specific Nintendo games.
If you would like to buy yourself a unique Switch that will turn heads wherever you go, seriously consider getting yourself one of these limited edition consoles.
If I was to choose one for you I would recommend you get Tropical paradise: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch.
This limited edition Switch comes with a brightly colored dock and two Joy-Cons featuring the Animal Crossing stars Tom, Timmy, and Tommy Nook.
If you love Super Mario, you should go for the Mario Red + Blue Edition Nintendo Switch. The Joy-Cons on this console match Mario’s signature red and blue outfit.
The limited-edition versions come with a physical or digital copy of the game they’re themed after and a few extra goodies.
I must say getting your hands on a limited-edition Switch is not easy. So if you do find one don’t waste time get it immediately.
But be prepared to pay more for it than what you would for a normal Switch.
Which Nintendo Switch should you buy?
Several factors can help you choose the best Switch for you. Below are some of them:
If you don’t want to spend too much on your Switch, you could go for the Switch Lite which retails at $200 and is $100 cheaper than the original Switch and Switch 2.0.
What kind of a gamer are you? Do you enjoy playing your favorite Nintendo game on a big screen or are you comfortable playing in handheld mode?
The original Switch and the Switch V2 allow you to play your games in handheld, tabletop, or TV mode.
So if you don’t want to limit yourself to playing in handheld mode with the Switch Lite you should choose one of these consoles.
I know for a fact that many gamers are choosing the Switch 2.0 over the other Switch consoles because of its extended battery life.
The 4.5-9 hours the Switch 2.0 offers is good enough if you’re a gamer who would love to play their Switch on the move for longer.
The New Switch OLED edition also matches that.
The choice on which Switch to buy will come down to affordability, versatility, and battery life.
If you have $300 to spend I would suggest you go for the new extended battery Nintendo Switch. It is the best Switch in my opinion.
The low price of the Nintendo Switch Lite makes it your best bet if you’re on a budget
The New Nintendo Switch OLED?
The new console dubbed the “Switch OLED” is set to be released in October 2021.
The Switch OLED has a 7” 720p OLED screen. the console doesn’t support 4K graphics in docked mode.
Currently, the Nintendo Switch has a 6.2” 720p LCD, while the Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch 720p LCD.
The Switch OLED has exactly the same internal GPU, CPU, and RAM. However, the Switch OLED has 64GB of internal storage instead of 32GBs.
The console also comes with an improved kickstand and it’s dock has a built in ethernet LAN port for wired internet access.
The Nintendo Switch has been the best-selling video game in the US for the last 24 months.
And now that you know a lot about the three versions of the Nintendo Switch you should take the leap and get yourself one.
Here is a quick recap of what to keep in mind when shopping for your Switch.
- There are 4 versions of the Nintendo switch. The original Switch, the Switch 2.0, and the Switch Lite.
- The Switch Lite is the smallest of the three consoles.
- The original Switch and its upgraded version retail for $300 while the Switch Lite sells at $200.
- The Switch OLED sells for $350.
- Nintendo sells the original Switch and the Switch 2.0 at the same price because it plans to phase out the original Switch
- The main difference between the original Switch and Switch 2.0 is the battery life.
- The Switch 2.0 and the Switch OLED both have an extended battery life that lasts 4.5-9 hours when fully charged.
- The original Switch has 2.5-6.5hours of play when charged. The Switch Lite has 3-7hours.
- You can tell between the original Switch, Switch V2, and a Switch OLED by looking at the packaging, serial, and model number or reading the product information to find details of the battery life of the console you’re considering buying.
- The original Switch, Switch 2.0, and Switch OLED can be played in handheld, tabletop, and TV mode. The Switch Lite is largely a handheld game console.
- You can choose which Switch to buy depending on your gaming preferences. If you don’t mind playing in handheld mode only the Switch Lite is perfect for you.
- If you’re looking to buy a unique Nintendo Switch Console check out the limited-edition consoles that are themed around top Nintendo Switch games.
- The best place to buy your Switch is from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, or the Nintendo Website. You’re likely to get the best deals here.
- GameStop and eBay sell pre-owned consoles you can look at if you’re looking to save more on your Switch. These consoles retail from about $150- $250.
Can the Switch lite be hooked up to a TV wirelessly? No, the Switch lite can’t be hooked up to a TV in any way, wirelessly or otherwise.
How often should I clean my Switch? You should probably clean your Switch at least once a week. The reason for this is simple: the switch is a social console. It will be passed around between friends and family. This means it will collect dust, grime and dirt very easily and very quickly.