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Which Nintendo Switch model should I buy?

What Nintendo Switch is the best option for you? The answer really depends on how you plan to use it.


Image: GameCrate
Image: GameCrate

If you’re looking to purchase a Nintendo Switch, you have a few options. Don’t get caught during your birthday or holiday shopping not knowing which Switch to buy.


It turns out that not every Switch is made for everyone. Each model is made with a particular demographic in mind. We’ve got you covered in this short guide on what Nintendo Switch you should get.


If you intend to play on your TV mostly, the standard Nintendo Switch is a great starting point.


Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

Nintendo has always innovated the way people play games. Generally, they’d offer an at-home console that plugs into your TV and a handheld gaming system for on-the-go separately. When it was originally introduced in 2017, the Nintendo Switch changed that.


Coming in at $299.99 as a standard price in most stores, the iconic basic Nintendo Switch is a perfect easy answer if you just don’t know your true intent of how you will play. We call this version the “baseline”.


While they occasionally come with sleek dark gray Joy-Con controllers, the iconic neon red and neon blue Joy-Con option is what you find in stores nowadays.


If you’re not a fan of these colors, there is no need to fret. You can buy different Joy-Con controller add-ons as well. They come in a ton of color options, including pastels and bright colors, as well as some special edition options.


This model rocks 32GB of internal storage. While that’s enough to get going, we highly recommend grabbing an additional microSD card if you’re a heavy user with a lot of games to download and play. Games aren’t as small as they used to be.


This model also runs a 6.2-inch LCD screen, which is perfect for basic use. But, it can be a tad small in comparison to other options.


The upside is that it runs a clear 720p resolution on the LCD screen and then boasts a full 1080p when docked to a TV.


If you aren’t going to be traveling a ton but still occasionally do, this system is great for both. It connects via the pack-in dock and can be taken with you wherever you want to go.


If you’re more of a traveler who also wants to play on a big screen, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the right choice for you.


Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

Maybe you’re a similar user to the person above. You need something for both travel and being at home on TV. But, maybe you travel a bit more than are at home. The Nintendo Switch OLED would make a much better option for you then.


While the OLED option might have a slight bit more heft to it (only by a small margin, honestly), it also rocks a much higher-quality screen. Coming in at 7 full inches, the OLED screen just can’t compare to the original Switch’s 6.2-inch LED.


It comes in the same iconic neon red/blue option for the pack-in Joy-Cons, as well as a nice white and black option that also gives you a white dock. Of course, you can buy other Joy-Cons or controllers to connect as well.


Additionally, instead of the 32 GB that other models come with, the Nintendo Switch OLED has 64GB built in. While that still isn’t a ton and you might want to consider grabbing a MicroSD card, it’s a much smarter entry point for a lot of people.


Aside from those differences, the console is essentially identical. It still slides right into a Switch Dock connected to a TV, for instance, and plays all the same games at the same resolutions.


If you’ve got the wiggle room in your budget, sprint for the OLED model for only $50 more than the normal system at $349.99. You’ll thank me later.


If you’re constantly traveling, or just a fan of the handheld eras of yesteryear, the Nintendo Switch Lite might be a fantastic option for you.


Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

Nintendo made handhelds a household commonplace in the 1980s all the way into the 2000s with the original Game Boy and DS lines. You didn’t need a big screen. You had Tetris, Pokemon, or Super Mario anywhere you went. You didn’t need to play your games on a big screen.


If that’s still true, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a fantastic option for you. Coming in at $199.99, the Switch Lite is the cheapest and lightest model available. Seriously, the entire unit is lighter than any of the other models without Joy-Con controllers attached.


But, a price decrease means you’re looking at a lot of downgrades. The screen, for instance, is only a 5.5-inch LCD screen, the smallest of the bunch. For comparison, that’s smaller than a lot of modern smartphones.


You’re back down to only 32GB of internal memory, as well. However, there is still a slot to add more via a microSD card.


This model doesn’t offer TV support at all. If you want this to work with a Switch Dock, you’re out of luck. It just doesn’t have the hardware built into it to allow that.


One of the biggest caveats about this one is that the Joy-Con controllers are built-in and can’t be removed for play. You have one solid piece of hardware, instead of the three.


The upside is that the controller issue can be remedied. By buying external Joy-Con controllers, a Switch Pro Controller, or any number of third-party options, you can connect them via the Switch Lite’s Bluetooth. This is also true for any of the other models as well.


You can find the Nintendo Switch lite in a handful of various bright colors or gray.


If you’re looking for a console with a style that represents your favorite games, you might want to consider one of the Special Edition options.


Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

If you’ve got the urge to show off your love of Zelda or Splatoon or whatever else is coming out in the future, you might want to look into the special edition Nintendo Switch OLED consoles.


For $10 more than the normal Switch OLED at $359.99, you could be treated to a fantastic skin to show off your love of a particular game. While the systems don’t do or have anything different from the normal OLED model, the designs are often fantastic and top-notch.


For instance, at the time of writing, there is a The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom edition available in stores. The dock is patterned in white and gold with the iconic Hylian Crest, while the Joy-Con controllers are patterned in gold and green.


If you want to read more about the technical specs of each model, check out Nintendo’s own breakdown on their website. If you’re looking for additional Joy-Con controllers, cases, microSD cards, or anything else, you should look at Nintendo’s website or a third-party website like Newegg.


Until a potential future Nintendo Switch successor or additional models come, this is a definitive list of options for anyone looking. If you want more of a PC than a console, however, you might want to look into the Asus ROG Ally.


(Note: For full disclosure, Newegg publishes GameCrate. This article is not intended to be an advertisement, nor did they tell us to write this article. They just happen to have a good option for the purposes of this article.)


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