What is the difference between all the Nintendo Switch versions?


Different models of the Nintendo Switch are seen on display at a GameStop in Manhattan, New York. — Reuters

The Nintendo Switch may not have has confusing variations as the XBox X/S or the Playstation 5, but it's still enough to leave casual consumers scratching their heads. Luckily, you don't need to have a thorough understanding of gaming or game systems to still make the best choice.

Switch V1 vs V2

I wish I could tell you that the base or standard version of the Switch is pretty straightforward, but the truth is a bit more complicated. You see, a little while after the original Switch came out, Nintendo quietly rolled out another Switch with a small incremental upgrade, usually referred to as the V2.

So what's the difference? Well, not much actually: it has a slightly better battery performance due to a more efficient processor. As for the better performance, it adds about another hour of battery life before needing a recharge, bringing it up to around 4.5 hours minimum of use. So it's not a significant upgrade, but if you're going to buy a standard Switch, definitely aim for the V2.

The question then becomes: how can you tell if you're getting a Switch V2?

Well, the bright side is that V1s are almost entirely gone from the market at this point, so you're most likely getting a V2. That being said, some are still floating around, so you'll want to look for two things: The box has an entirely red background, rather than red and grey, and secondly, you want to check that the serial numbers start with XKW.

Also, sometimes online retailers won't write down the serial numbers or just show the wrong image for the actual product you're getting (grey background instead of red). In that case, you can look at the product number, which usually starts with HAD for the Switch V2.

Nintendo OLED Switch

So the first actual upgrade to the Nintendo Switch is the OLED edition, and as you might have guessed, it comes with an OLED screen.

Besides having an overall better picture quality, the screen itself is also bigger, going up to 7-inches compared to the 6.2inch of the previous set of Switches. As such, a lot of the bezel that used to be there is gone now, and the overall size of the Switch is actually a bit bigger. So that means that if you already have something like a Switch V2 case, you'll have to get a new one to fit the bigger OLED.

Aside from the new screen, the rest of the changes are mostly just visual design, such as a small change of the volume buttons, the addition of an ethernet port to the dock, and just overall a sleeker feel. Unfortunately, there's no upgrade to the specs inside, except for the storage being bumped up from 32GB to 64GB. That being said, you are getting the same battery life out of it as the previous versions, which is pretty impressive given the much better screen.

One other slightly more significant change is that the kickstand is now much more prominent, spanning the whole console. That not only makes it sturdier, but it generally looks better as well. You can also set it to different angles if you want, which the old kickstand couldn't do.

Nintendo Switch Lite

As the name might suggest, the Switch Lite is essentially a less powerful version than the original Switch.

That means it has a smaller 5.5-inch screen (not OLED, of course), shorter battery life of around 3-7 hours, and a lack of dock. Similarly, there are no Joy-Cons or controllers that you can disconnect, but rather the whole thing is just a unibody handheld console. So that means if you're looking for a console that you can play with friends, this isn't it.

That being said, while all that sounds like I'm knocking down the Lite, the truth is that it is considerably cheaper than the OLED and Standard models, around US$100-$150 (RM417-RM626), depending on the retailer. It's also a great handheld console for solo play, and if you aren't planning to use this with family or friends, then the lack of dock and Joy-Cons isn't a deal-breaker. – Times Union, Albany, NY/Tribune News Service

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