Comparing Nintendo Switch Models: Which Console Is Right for You?

Key Points

  • The Nintendo Switch is one of the fastest-selling consoles ever. 

  • The Nintendo Switch Lite is a true handheld, meaning it's not playable on a TV.

  • There are five games you need to play if you have a Switch.

The Nintendo Switch is one of the best Nintendo models. It’s a hybrid console, pairing handheld gaming and a docked gaming experience into one. It’s the best-selling mainline Nintendo console because of this innovation, and also due to Nintendo releasing affordable versions with Nintendo Switch Light and premium options like the Nintendo Switch OLED. 

You’re in the market for a Nintendo Switch. You might be shopping for a loved one, need an upgrade for new releases, or want to see what all the fuss is about. No matter your situation, there’s a Switch that fits your needs.

HaloHype’s guide has got you covered on shopping for the coolest console on the market, with everything you need to know.

The Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch base model released on March 3, 2017, to critical acclaim and also skepticism due to a lack of games. This complaint quickly dissipated when sales figures surged to become the fastest-selling console ever in its launch year, surpassing the almighty PlayStation 2. There’s an absurd amount to try and plenty of ways to play.

Gamer connects Nintendo Switch to TV

The base Nintendo Switch is a sleek little console, Featuring detachable joy-con controllers, a docked gaming experience that only a sleek hybrid console provides, and a 6.2-inch screen. There are criticisms about its resolution, but it won’t matter because Nintendo has always prioritized maximizing older hardware for their games. Here’s the hardware packed into the base Nintendo Switch via Nintendo:

  • 6.2” multi-touch capacitive LCD touchscreen

  • NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor

  • 32GB internal storage, with capacity for expansion

  • Built-in stereo speakers

  • 1080p resolution when in docked mode, up to 720p in handheld

  • Bluetooth 4.1 compatible

  • NFC (near field communication) for amiibo usage

  • 4.5- to nine-hour battery life

  • 3.5mm four-pole stereo headphone jack

  • 10mm kickstand for remote play

Whether you want to snag a base Nintendo Switch as a budget option or not, it’s a sleek little guy who gets you all the bare essentials a hybrid console needs. 

The Nintendo Switch Photo source: Amazon.com

Nintendo Switch Lite

A smaller, more affordable version released in 2019, the Nintendo Switch Lite is designed solely for handheld play, meaning it has no docking capability or detachable joy-con controllers. This console is an entry point for someone looking to play but willing to sacrifice the ability to port to a TV or monitor. Its variants are also unique, offering yellow, blue, and pink colorizations, meaning these looks are only available for the Lite.

Talking mechanically, the specifications for the Switch Lite are:

  • 5.5” capacitive LCD touchscreen

  • NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor

  • 32GB internal storage, with capacity for expansion

  • Built-in stereo speakers

  • Bluetooth 4.1 compatible

  • NFC for amiibo usage

  • Three- to seven-hour battery life

  • 3.5mm four-pole stereo headphone jack

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a true handheld with console-level quality that not even the Nintendo DS had. Every Switch game is playable on the Switch Lite, so you needn’t fear exclusive versions of titles if you already have copies of other console variations.

The Switch Lite is an excellent stocking stuffer for kids and those who like to play on the go or need to save a buck.

Nintendo Switch Lite Photo source: Amazon.com

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

The Nintendo Switch OLED is a highly coveted upgrade to the base model. The OLED display is noticeably larger, and the console features improved performance, including enhanced audio. Handheld gaming definitely gets an upgrade in display, and a wider kickstand offers players more flexibility in where to play with detachable joy-con controllers.

The full rundown for the Switch OLED is:

  • Seven-inch OLED display multi-touch capacitive touchscreen

  • NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor

  • 64GB internal storage, with capacity for expansion

  • Built-in stereo speakers

  • 1080p resolution when in docked mode, up to 720p in handheld

  • Bluetooth 4.1 compatible

  • NFC (near field communication) for amiibo usage

  • 4.5- to nine-hour battery life

  • 3.5mm four-pole stereo headphone jack

  • Extended kickstand for remote play

It’s debatable if the seven-inch OLED display is worth the price to upgrade, but from critical consensus, if you have the money, it’s worth snagging. The wider kickstand and enhanced audio are excellent quality-of-life fixes, making the OLED a worthwhile option, whether this is your first Switch or not. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Model Photo source: Amazon.com

The Five Switch Games You Need To Play

Now that you know the differences between Switch models, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and talk about what you need to play.

Check out the following five must-play games on the Nintendo Switch. 

1. The Legend of  Zelda: Breath of the Wild

You knew this was coming; everyone did. Breath of the Wild strides the longstanding march of inevitability, taking over the gaming world year after year. It’s an open world (or “open air”) unlike any other. There’s only so much praise that does the game justice, so it’s appropriate to quote Director Eiji Aonuma:

“When I first created a Zelda that’s played with 3D in Ocarina of Time, what we put our attention on is: To cope with how we were still not familiar with 3D yet, we show ‘routes’ so that you could progress forward without getting lost in even broad worlds. At that time, I thought that was the right thing. However, as we stacked on the series, ‘not getting lost’ would produce feelings of blockages like ‘cannot do anything but that’ or ‘cannot run away,’ so more and more people felt dissatisfied with that. ‘Open Air’ are words that really liberates us from those ‘feelings of blockages.’ You can freely explore a vast world connected seamlessly, and you can progress to find out your own ‘answer.’ So I think if there are 100 people ‘experiencing’ it, there will be 100 ways [to progress].”

If you haven’t played it, do it now. Seriously. 

The Legend of  Zelda: Breath of the Wild

2. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey honors what makes a Mario game incredible, but it adds flair to the platforming sandbox that the plumbing aficionado hasn’t delved into yet. Like jazz, this experience is adaptive, improvised, and a whole hell of a lot of fun.

This just might be the greatest Mario game yet. 

3. Metroid Dread

The Metroidvania genre has new life in the 2D space with recent hits like Hollow Knight and its upcoming sequel Silksong. If Metroid Dread had anything to say in response, it would be: “Samus is back and better than ever.” Dread is a faithful continuation of the 2D Metroid games while adding its respective zest to the franchise stew, with performance and movement updates that draw in a modern audience while satisfying eager, lifelong fans. 

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Not a whole lot needs to be said — every fighter ever in a Smash game is here, plus new additions join the chaos like King K. Rool; Banjo and Kazooie; and the protagonist of Minecraft, Steve.

It’s a stupid amount of fun and worth every penny and second spent. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The COVID-19 Pandemic caused sales of Animal Crossing to surge. With all the decorating and cute animal friends you can make, New Horizons is an adorable and enjoyable experience that respects your time and is appropriate for all ages.

If you can, you should make friends with Roald the penguin, the best villager. 

Pick Your Switch and Enjoy

The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular consoles on the market and is totally worth considering. Now that you know all the differences between models and what games to grab, it’s all fun and controllable chaos from here!

Microsoft is 100 percent contemplating a Halo: The Master Chief Collection port. Wishful thinking? You say that now, but maybe one day…

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