Nintendo Switch Oled vs Switch Lite

While Nintendo is rumored to be working on the next iteration of the Switch, you may be thinking of getting one now to enjoy all the RPGs and the new Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. 

In a nutshell, the main difference between the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite is that the Switch OLED gives you the ability to play games both on the TV and on the go.

Before you start educating me on all the detailed differences in the comments below, yes, it’s more than that. 

Here’s my quick comparison table between the Nintendo Switch OLED and Switch Lite (I’ve added in details for the Switch too, just for the folks who are thinking of picking up a 2nd hand console on craigslist):

Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Specs

Nintendo Switch OLEDNintendo SwitchNintendo Switch Lite
Screen Size7-inch OLED, 720p, 60 Hz6-inch LCD, 720p, 60 Hz5.5-inch LCD, 720p, 60 Hz
Console Dimension9.4 x 4.0 x 0.6 inches9.4 x 4.0 x 0.6 inches8.2 x 3.6 x 0.6 inches
CPU / GPUNVIDIA Custom Tegra processorNVIDIA Custom Tegra processorNVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Battery Life4.5 – 9 hours4.5 to 9 hours (Gen 2)
2.5 – 6.5 hours (Gen 1)
3 – 7 hours
Weight14.9 ounces
14.1 ounces
9.8 ounces
Storage64 GB32 GB32 GB
Expandable microSD card slot?YesYesYes
Playing StylesTV Docking / HandheldTV Docking / HandheldHandheld
Detachable Joy-Cons?YesYesNo
Can you play co-op games?YesYesYes (if you have extra Joy Cons or Switch Pro Controller)
KickstandAlong the back of the console. Adjustable angle.Narrow sad thing that threatens to break. Non Adjustable angle.None
Rumble / Vibration?YesYesNo
ColorWhite / Neon Red and Neon Blue / Limited EditionsGray / Neon Red and Neon Blue / Special DesignsBlue / Coral / Yellow . Gray / Turquoise / Special Designs
Amiibo scanning?YesYesYes
Lan Port?Yes (Dock)NoNo

Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Similarities

Before we jump into the differences, you should know that both the Nintendo Switch OLED and Switch Lite are from the same product line. Hence, they share many similarities that shouldn’t affect your gameplay. 

1) Games

Both the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite are compatible with the same library of Nintendo Switch games, including both physical cartridges and digital downloads from the Nintendo eShop.

2) Operating System

Both consoles run on the same operating system, which means they have the same user interface and access to the same features, such as online play, parental controls, and the ability to take screenshots and record gameplay videos.

3) Processor and Graphics

Both consoles use the same NVIDIA custom Tegra processor and have the same graphics capabilities, which means that they offer similar performance in terms of frame rate and overall gameplay experience.

There is just 1 small difference here; the Switch Lite uses a Tegra X1+ chip which helps to improve battery life. However, gaming performance is similar.

4) Online Services

Both the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite are compatible with the Nintendo Switch Online, which allows players to access online multiplayer modes, free games, and cloud saves.

5) Joy-Con Compatibility

The Joy-Con controllers are iconic features of the Nintendo Switch console. While the Switch Lite doesn’t come with detachable Joy-Cons, you have the option to pair any Joy-Con with the Switch Lite within the console settings. 

Also, as of the 13.0.0 update, Bluetooth is now available on the Nintendo Switch Lite for those who need to enjoy their games on their wireless headphones.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Key Differences

While I try to be comprehensive in the comparison table above, I’ll pick the key differences that will affect your final decision in this section, so that you can get to a decision in record speed.

1) Price

Price is probably why you’re reading this. 

The Nintendo Switch OLED is the more expensive option at a retail price of $350 while the Nintendo Switch Lite goes for $200. 

In all honesty, the price difference of $150 is sensible. The following differences will justify its higher price tag.

2) Dock 

The Nintendo Switch OLED comes with a dock that lets you connect your Nintendo Switch to a TV screen that lets you enjoy your games in the full 1080p resolution. The updated dock also features an LAN port for a more stable wired internet connection.

Comparatively, the Nintendo Switch Lite does not include a dock and is not compatible with the original Nintendo Switch dock.

3) Display

If you’re playing on handheld mode, there’s a big difference in their displays. 

The Nintendo Switch OLED has a 7-inch OLED screen that is known to deliver richer color accuracy, picture performance and higher contrast, while the Nintendo Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch LCD screen.

That said, this only makes a difference if you’re playing games on the console directly. There’s no point comparing your TV’s resolution to that of the LCD screen on the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Both displays offer the same resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

4) Controls

The Nintendo Switch OLED comes with Joy-Con controllers with rumble function. They can be detached from the console and used as separate controllers for multiplayer games. It also comes with an additional Joy-Con grip accessory for those who are used to traditional game controller designs.

The Nintendo Switch Lite, on the other hand, has built-in controls and does not come with rumble function.

5) Weight

The Nintendo Switch OLED is slightly heavier than the Nintendo Switch Lite, weighing in at 14.9 ounces (420g) compared to the Switch Lite’s weight of 9.8 ounces (277g).

The console weight would only be a major decision factor if you intend to carry your Nintendo Switch around often.

6) Storage Capacity

The Nintendo Switch OLED has a larger internal storage capacity of 64GB, while the Nintendo Switch Lite has a smaller storage capacity of 32GB. 

Both consoles do allow for expandable storage via microSD cards (up to 2TB). However, if you do not intend to spend on additional microSD cards, the Nintendo Switch OLED’s larger storage capacity is sufficient for at least 3-6 major digital games, depending on their size.

Now that you are aware of the key differences, I’ve put together 5 points of consideration to make before you splurge on your new Nintendo Switch:

5 Considerations to take when you’re choosing between the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite

1) Portability

The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and more lightweight than the Switch OLED, making it more portable and easier to carry around. If you plan to take your Switch with you on the go, the Switch Lite may be a better option.

If you tend to play games only at home, then the Nintendo Switch OLED may be a better option as it has way more features.

2) Usage

If you plan to use the Nintendo Switch primarily as a handheld device, then the Switch Lite may be a better option for you, as it is designed specifically for handheld use. 

However, if you want the flexibility of both handheld and docked play on a TV, the Switch OLED is the better option.

3) Screen size and quality

The Nintendo Switch OLED has a larger 7-inch OLED screen with improved color and contrast, while the Switch Lite has a smaller 5.5-inch LCD screen. If the games you play require a larger and higher-quality screen, the Switch OLED is the way to go.

4) Price

The Nintendo Switch Lite is more affordable than the Switch OLED. If budget is a major consideration, the Switch Lite may be the better option.

5) Controllers

The Nintendo Switch OLED comes with detachable Joy-Con controllers, which can be used in various configurations including tabletop mode and for local multiplayer games, while the Switch Lite has built-in controls. 

If you prefer the flexibility of having detachable controllers, the Switch OLED is the better option.

Alternatively, you can pair additional Joy Cons to the Switch Lite, but the screen might be too small to actually enjoy multiplayer games when your friends come over.

On a related note, the Switch Lite doesn’t come with the Rumble feature which could add an extra dimension to certain games. 

My Verdict?

This could be controversial but…

I’ve played with all three consoles, but still prefer the Nintendo Switch Lite, mainly due to the type of games I play. 

Farming games, 2.5D RPGs and story rich RPGs don’t really require the bigger, brighter OLED screen nor TV docking. After a work day, I prefer to lay on my lovesac bean bag with the lighter Switch Lite and just enjoy my games. The shorter battery life isn’t that big of a deal as I only play for a max of 3 hours per session, even on weekends.

Even with the Nintendo Switch OLED, I found myself playing on console mode most of the time. And due to its weight, my arms get pretty sore with extended plays.

Also, I don’t have friends over to play games, so the whole multiplayer deal isn’t attractive for me. I don’t usually travel with the Nintendo Switch either, so the longer battery life is a moot point. (I prefer to carry the Nintendo DS or 3DS as they feel more sturdy)

Of course, your choice between the Nintendo Switch OLED and Switch Lite would depend on your gaming style and preferences. 

If you’re looking forward to playing games like Mario Kart, Overcooked or Nintendo Switch Sports with friends, then the Nintendo Switch OLED would likely be a better choice for you.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Buy now or wait?

If you’re itching the play blockbusters like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild or Pokemon Scarlet or Violet now, then the decision is obvious – Buy it now.

Quick tip: Many people seem to have purchased their Nintendo Switch OLED on impulse during the pandemic and are now regretting it. You should be able to find good deals on second hand consoles online, or at your local second hand stores. 

That said, there are rumors that Nintendo is working on a new console. Given that the Nintendo Switch has been around since 2017, Nintendo is probably due to announce a new console (or at least an upgraded version) soon in order to keep up with competitors like PlayStation and Xbox.

This means two things;

  • The price of the original Nintendo Switch OLED might drop slight if the announcement is made 
  • You might be able to get the newer rumored Nintendo console at a similar price point as the Nintendo Switch OLED

If you have the patience to wait (it could take months or even years, who knows), then you may want to wait for the new console to be announced. 





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