Switch OLED vs. Switch

The Nintendo Switch OLED presents itself as a fresh take on the handheld hybrid, offering an improved display and an array of exciting features. While the OLED model may not seem drastically different from the original Switch at first glance, it does come with several noteworthy enhancements that you should consider, especially if you’re thinking about upgrading or purchasing a Switch for the first time.


Design and Features

Nintendo Switch OLED model.
Image source: Nintendo

The Switch and the Switch OLED share many similarities in terms of design and features. However, there are distinct differences that you should be aware of, as each system caters to slightly different audiences. The most significant factor to consider is the OLED’s screen, which stands out with its vivid colors and noticeably larger size compared to the original model. Boasting a 7.0-inch OLED screen, the OLED model provides a backlight that enhances pixel illumination. This results in more vibrant colors, making the original screen appear dimmer in comparison. If you plan to play in handheld mode more often, the OLED would be your ideal choice.

Another advantage of the OLED model is the built-in LAN port within its dock, offering convenient Ethernet cable connectivity. While all Nintendo Switch consoles support Wi-Fi by default, using an Ethernet cable provides better and more stable internet speeds. With the original Switch model, you can connect a LAN adapter via USB, which can be costlier and less convenient. If you plan on playing online frequently, the OLED model might be more suitable. However, it’s important to note that the wired connection can only be utilized in docked mode, as both the Switch and Switch OLED rely on Wi-Fi in handheld mode.

The original Switch’s flimsy and thin kickstand is often a downside for users. While it gets the job done, it feels as though the Switch might collapse under the weight of the kickstand. The Switch OLED addresses this issue with its new and improved kickstand, which covers the entire backside of the console, ensuring greater stability and providing multiple positioning angles. In short, the Switch OLED’s kickstand offers substantial improvements over the original model.

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The Switch OLED also features white Joy-Con controllers, marking the first time they’ve been officially offered in this color. Additionally, the Switch OLED comes with a built-in screen protector, adding a pleasant surprise to its list of features. Ultimately, the OLED model stands out with its additional enhancements, but it does not have any CPU or processing upgrades compared to the original.


Nintendo Switch OLED.
Image source: Nintendo

When it comes to controller support, the Switch and the Switch OLED are virtually identical. You can connect any Joy-Con to either system, as well as the Pro Controller and third-party USB wired gamepads. Wired controllers need to be connected to the dock, limiting their use to TV mode. The Switch OLED’s dock boasts two USB ports on the exterior, while the original Switch dock has three — one on the inside and two on the exterior. In terms of USB ports, the original Switch has a slight advantage.

Both systems support wireless connection to additional controllers in handheld, docked, or TV mode. We highly recommend playing with a Pro Controller, as it offers the familiar feel of a traditional gamepad found on the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. It works exceptionally well, especially for games that require precision, such as shooters. Both systems come with two Joy-Con controllers out of the box, and each Joy-Con can be used as an individual controller when flipped horizontally, allowing two players to enjoy the system right away.


Samus slides away from an EMMI in Metroid Dread.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Once again, both systems support the exact same games. You can purchase physical cartridges or download digital versions from the eShop. It’s worth noting that the Switch OLED has 64GB of onboard memory, while the original model only has 32GB. However, you can expand the memory using microSD cards. By default, the Switch OLED offers more memory. Another crucial detail to consider is that if you connect the Switch OLED via an Ethernet cable, you’ll experience faster game downloads compared to using Wi-Fi. This makes it an important aspect to keep in mind if you prefer the digital route, as long as you dock the Switch OLED to the TV and connect an Ethernet cable.

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Additionally, games will look better on the OLED in handheld mode, thanks to its enhanced screen. However, if you mainly play in docked mode, you won’t fully benefit from the improved display. In that case, you can consider sticking with the original Switch, which works perfectly fine.


Person holding Nintendo Switch, looking at the home screen.
Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

The Switch OLED offers an impressive range of features, but they come at an additional cost. The original Switch model is available for $300, and sometimes even less. In comparison, the Switch OLED is priced at $350, but it includes various bonuses such as the larger OLED screen, the built-in LAN port, a sturdier kickstand, and white Joy-Con controllers. It’s possible that the original Switch may receive a price cut in the near future, but for now, it has remained around $300 since its release in 2017. Ultimately, the decision of whether that extra $50 is worth it for the Switch OLED is up to you.


While the Switch OLED surpasses the original model in multiple aspects, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for everyone. The Switch OLED is perfect for those who frequently play in handheld mode, thanks to its larger and superior screen. It’s also ideal for individuals who engage in online multiplayer often or rely heavily on digital game downloads, as the OLED model offers a built-in LAN port on its dock. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of the white Joy-Con controllers, the Switch OLED is the way to go.

If you already own a regular Switch system, it’s difficult to justify upgrading, as the original model still performs admirably. However, if you don’t own a Switch and are contemplating purchasing one, the OLED model is likely the better option. Even if the new features don’t particularly appeal to you, having the latest model can be a nice feeling. It’s worth mentioning, though, that OLED models have been in high demand and limited supply, meaning you may have no choice but to settle for the original model for the time being. Players who simply want to enjoy the best Nintendo games without being too concerned about visuals should consider purchasing the original Switch, as it’s more affordable, readily available, and functions just as well.

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After experiencing the Switch OLED, it will be challenging to go back to the original model, especially in handheld mode. As stated in our Switch OLED review, “The Nintendo Switch OLED may not fulfill every player’s dreams, but it’s undeniably a technical leap forward for the Switch.” With that in mind, we hope this information helps you confidently make a decision that suits your needs.

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