Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (2023)

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  • There aren't many major differences between the standard Nintendo Switch and the newer Nintendo Switch OLED.
  • The Nintendo Switch OLED features a better handheld screen and more built-in storage space, but costs $50 more.
  • Both Switch models play the same games, have the same performance power, and use the same controllers.

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The Nintendo Switch has a massive library of great games, all of which can be played both on a TV or a handheld screen. It's the most popular console this generation, and comes at a pretty affordable price.

But before you buy a Switch of your own, you'll need to make a choice: Do you want the standard Nintendo Switch, or the premium Nintendo Switch OLED? Nintendo offers two fully featured versions of their console, and while they're similar in most ways, the OLED does offer a few key upgrades.

Here's a full comparison between the two Nintendo Switch models, including our take on which one is worth buying.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (1)

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a versatile console that lets you play either connected to a TV, or on-the-go with the built-in screen. With hundreds of great games — including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — it’s our favorite console of this generation.

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(Video) Nintendo Switch vs Switch OLED - Which Should You Buy?

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (2)

Nintendo Switch OLED

The newer Nintendo Switch OLED features all the same great games as the standard model, but also comes with an upgraded built-in screen and more internal storage. It’s only $50 more than the standard model.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Specs at a glance

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch OLED




Handheld Screen Size

6.2 inches, LCD

7 inches, OLED

Screen Resolution

720p (handheld), 1080p (connected to TV)

720p (handheld), 1080p (connected to TV)

Console Size

4.02 inches tall, 9.41 in. wide, 0.55 in. thick

4.02 inches tall, 9.53 in. wide, 0.55 in. thick

Internal Storage

32GB (built-in), expandable up to 2TB

64GB (built-in), expandable up to 2TB

Battery Life

4 to 9 hours

4 to 9 hours

Charging Port

USB-C (cable included)

USB-C (cable included)

Built-in Speaker

Linear PCM 2.0 (stereo)

Linear PCM 5.1 (surround sound)

Processor & Graphics Card

Nvidia Tegra X1

Nvidia Tegra X1

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Display and design

The Nintendo Switch OLED's main selling point is right there in the name: It's got a sleek OLED screen that's almost a full inch bigger than the original model's LCD screen.

OLED screens are the new standard for TVs, smartphones, and tablets. Compared to LCDs, OLED screens can display colors far more vibrantly, and with more contrast — in other words, colors stand out more and blur together less. OLED screens also look better when viewed from different angles.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (3)


But where OLED screens really stand out is the way they display the color black. On a technical level, LCD screens work by illuminating all the pixels with a backlight; on an OLED screen, each individual pixel creates its own light. This means that when an OLED wants to show the color black, it can completely turn off its pixels to erase all light, while most LCDs can only dim the lights.

OLEDs are the closest a digital screen can get to "true" black. This makes games that use a lot of dark colors — for example, Metroid Dread — look amazingly sharp.

The Switch OLED's built-in screen is also bigger than the original model's, which is great for appreciating that enhanced color quality. It's got a 7-inch screen, compared to the standard Switch's 6.2-inch screen.

As a result, the entire Switch OLED unit is a bit bigger too. Both models are 4.02 inches tall and 0.55 inches thick. But the Switch OLED is 9.53 inches wide, while the standard Switch is 9.41 inches wide. The Switch OLED is also made out of a harder magnesium alloy than the plastic original.

The Switch OLED also comes with a wider kickstand that runs along the entire length of the console. The original Switch's kickstand is just about an inch wide on the console's right side.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (4)

(Video) Nintendo Switch OLED Model VS Switch Basic Comparison!

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Performance and graphics

In the leadup to Nintendo revealing the Switch OLED, a lot of players assumed it would be a more powerful version of the Switch, like the PlayStation 4 Pro was for the original PS4.

Unfortunately, those predictions didn't come true. When it comes to performance, there isn't any difference between the standard Switch and Switch OLED.

Both models use the same Nvidia "System-on-a-chip" (SoC) processor, which runs at the same speed, has the same graphical capabilities, and has the same amount of RAM (4GB).

Despite the OLED's better built-in screen, it still runs at the same resolution as the standard model: 720p when playing in handheld mode, and 1080p when playing in TV mode. That won't increase even if you're connected to a 4K screen. Games will also run at the same amount of frames-per-second (usually 30 to 60 FPS, depending on the title).

The two Switch versions also run the exact same games — there aren't any titles that are exclusive to one model. These games can be played either with physical game cards or by downloading them from the internet.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (5)


The only internal improvements that the Switch OLED received were to its built-in storage and speakers. While the original Switch comes with only 32GB of storage (generally enough to download three or four games), the Switch OLED comes with 64GB. And both models let you expand that storage with a microSD card, up to 2TB.

The original Nintendo Switch's built-in speakers feature Linear PCM 2.0 technology — in other words, they can broadcast sound on two channels at once, which is stereo sound. The Switch OLED's speakers boost that to Linear PCM 5.1, which is surround sound.

Both Switch models use the same controllers. And the Switch OLED's Joy-Con controllers are just as susceptible to "Joy-Con drift" as the standard Switch's Joy-Cons.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Battery life

Although OLED screens tend to use more power than LCD screens, Nintendo claims that both current versions of the Nintendo Switch have the same amount of battery life.

According to Nintendo, you should expect a standard Switch or Switch OLED to last anywhere between four to nine hours on a single charge. That number will gradually decrease over the Switch's lifespan, and will be lower for games that take more processing power.

For example, a visual novel like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney will take less battery than dynamic RPGs like Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Extra features

Aside from the upgraded screen and storage, the Switch OLED comes with a few other bonuses, both found in the dock.

Firstly, the Switch OLED's dock has a built-in LAN port that lets you connect your Switch to the internet with an ethernet cable, rather than over Wi-Fi. It replaces one of the original dock's USB ports. Ethernet connections are faster and more stable than Wi-Fi, making them fantastic for games that require quick responses, like Super Smash Bros. or Splatoon.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (6)


The original Switch's dock supports ethernet connections too, but you need to buy a separate adapter for it that plugs into one of the dock's USB ports.

Secondly, the Switch OLED's dock can be updated. So far, this is a pretty meaningless upgrade since Nintendo hasn't actually released any updates that add new features. But some experts have suggested this might let Nintendo update the OLED dock to support 4K resolutions in the future, which would be a massive change.

(Video) Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch Original Comparison

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Price

And finally, the big question: How much does each version of the Nintendo Switch cost?

The original Nintendo Switch costs $299.99. The new Nintendo Switch OLED costs $349.99.

Nintendo also sells refurbished versions of both Switch models, which brings the prices down to $259.99 and $319.99 respectively.

Both packages come with the Switch itself, a dock, an HDMI cable and USB-C charging cable, two Joy-Con controllers, Joy-Con wrist straps, and a controller grip. The controller grip lets you combine the two miniature Joy-Con controllers into one full sized controller.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (7)


Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: Which should you buy?

At the end of the day, there's not much of a difference between the original Nintendo Switch and its newer OLED counterpart. They both play the same games with the same graphical fidelity, but the Switch OLED has a better built-in screen and speakers, and more internal storage space.

If you don't own a Nintendo Switch at all yet, buy a Switch OLED. There's not much of a difference in features, sure, but there's not much difference in price either. For about $50 more, you'll get a much better handheld experience, and a connected-to-TV experience that's just as good as the original model's. If you can afford it, it's a no-brainer.

If you already own an original Nintendo Switch, don't bother upgrading. You've already paid for the most important features, and the OLED's improvements aren't worth throwing your current console away.

If you're buying this console for a younger player — let's say preteen age or earlier — then you're probably better off sticking with the original Nintendo Switch. Younger players are unlikely to appreciate the OLED's subtle upgrades, and you'll save some cash.

But before you make your final purchase, remember that Nintendo also sells a third version of the Nintendo Switch: The Nintendo Switch Lite. This version is smaller than even the original Switch model, and can't be connected to a TV — it's handheld only.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch OLED: How the 2 versions of the popular console differ, and which you should buy (8)

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

That said, the Nintendo Switch Lite can be a great choice for kids, casual players, or gamers who need a more portable option. It's also a good choice if you don't see yourself playing while connected to a TV often.

The Nintendo Switch Lite costs $199.99 new or $169.99 refurbished, which is a sizable discount.

William Antonelli

Tech Reporter for Insider Reviews

William Antonelli (he/she/they) is a writer, editor, and organizer based in New York City. As a founding member of the Reference team, he helped grow Tech Reference (now part of Insider Reviews) from humble beginnings into a juggernaut that attracts over 20 million visits a month. Outside of Insider, his writing has appeared in publications like Polygon, The Outline, Kotaku, and more. He's also a go-to source for tech analysis on channels like Newsy, Cheddar, and NewsNation. You can find him on Twitter @DubsRewatcher, or reach him by email at

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