Best Nintendo Switch console in 2024: Original, Lite, OLED?

Our guide to the best Nintendo Switch console compares the standard, Lite, and OLED models, helping you to decide which is right for you.

Best Nintendo Switch - image shows the OLED, Lite, and Standard Switch models side by side.

What’s the best Nintendo Switch console for you? This guide will recommend the best console for your budget and needs, based on hours of gameplay experience and hands-on testing.

The three current Nintendo Switch models – the Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED – all share similar (but not identical) designs, games, and software. What’s different is the price, size, controls, and screen. The most recent Switch OLED is the most expensive, with a 7-inch display and 65GB internal storage for games, while the Switch Lite is the cheapest, but limited to handheld games rather than TV docking. Whichever you ultimately choose, the Switch is still going strong with an ever-expanding library of new Switch games, and all three are among the best portable gaming consoles. It’s hard to make a bad choice!

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At Pocket Tactics, our experts spend days testing games, phones, tech, and services. We always share honest opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Nintendo Switch

The best Nintendo Switch for most

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Nintendo Switch specifications:
Memory capacity 32GB
Touch screen 6.2-inch LCD
Total ports 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 AC adapter port
Playable docked? Yes
Detachable Joy-Cons Two
Reasons to buy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Can be played handheld or docked
Reasons to avoid
  • No LAN port
  • Memory capacity on the smaller side

The original Nintendo Switch lets you play both on your TV and on the go. It’s on the big side, but that’s where Switch carry cases come in, and it’s still easy enough to carry around with you.

The Nintendo Switch comes with 32 GB of internal storage capacity, compared to 64 GB on the Switch OLED. If you plan on downloading all of the best new Switch games, you might find it filling up quite quickly. However, a microSD card will soon solve that problem.

With the packaged-in Joy-Cons, you and a friend can play on the same screen. While this is a very viable option, the larger, clearer screen of the Switch OLED might be preferential to you if this is going to be a major part of your Switch usage.

Many gamers fall into the category of either exclusively playing their Switch through the television, or exclusively playing it in handheld mode. The standard model is great at doing both of these things, isn’t overly expensive, and doesn’t have any major problems – that’s why we recommend it as the best Nintendo Switch overall.

Read our Nintendo Switch review.

Nintendo Switch Lite

The most affordable Nintendo Switch

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Nintendo Switch Lite specifications:
Memory capacity 32GB
Touch screen 5.5-inch
Total ports No dock, so no ports
Playable docked? No
Detachable Joy-Cons None
Reasons to buy
  • Cheapest Nintendo Switch you can get
  • Small and convenient for handheld play
Reasons to avoid
  • Cannot be played on a TV
  • No detachable Joy-Con controllers

This smaller model is specifically designed to be an affordable option for gaming on the go, making it ideal for children or anyone working with a tighter budget. If you’re someone who doesn’t foresee themselves playing their Switch on the TV, then you have very little to lose by going for the Switch Lite.

While it is not compatible with Switch docks and so can never be played on the big screen, its much smaller size makes it ideal for handheld gaming, as unlike other models, it could actually fit inside your pocket. While some gamers won’t care about this at all, the Switch Lite just looks a lot nicer than the standard and the OLED models. It comes in a number of bright, vibrant color schemes. It’ll look great in a gamer bedroom and is just generally a good-looking bit of gaming hardware.

Something for fans of Nintendo Switch multiplayer gamers to keep in mind is that the Switch Lite does not have detachable Joy-Cons for friends using one Joy-Con each. You can still play against friends online, but it’s not as well optimized for face-to-face sessions as the others.

Still, there’s a lot to admire about Switch Lite. When it first came out, early adopters who had bought the original Switch, but who only ever played handheld, lamented the fact that they hadn’t waited a little bit longer so that they could get the model better suited to them.

Read our Nintendo Switch Lite review.

Nintendo Switch OLED

The best Nintendo Switch screen

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Nintendo Switch OLED specifications:
Memory capacity 64GB
Touch screen 7-inch OLED
Total ports 2 USB ports, 1 Lan port, 1 HDMI port, 1 AC adapter port
Playable docked? Yes
Detachable Joy-Cons 2
Reasons to buy
  • Largest OLED screen of all Switch models
  • Best memory capacity
  • Improved dock with added LAN
Reasons to avoid
  • Few benefits for those who play docked
  • The most expensive option

Based on the specs alone, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the best version of the Switch. However, we didn’t feel we could give it the number one spot as it has a substantially bigger price tag, for upgrades that won’t appeal to all users. If you plan to play this at home on your TV exclusively, you’ll barely benefit from the improvements at all and will be better off with the standard version.

If you prefer playing in handheld mode, the best way to do so is through the Switch OLED. The 7-inch screen makes your games look better than ever before, and there’s even an option in the game’s settings to adjust the console screen colors to make them as vivid as possible. If this ever looks too saturated to you, you can just set it to appear as normal – you might want to adjust the color settings on a case-by-case basis.

The OLED Switch has 64GB memory – double the size of the standard model – although, you could buy a micro SD card for Switch and expand the capacity. Another benefit of the OLED is the LAN port, which allows you to use a wired internet connection for smoother online gaming.

There are also changes to the design of the dock. It’s a little more spacious than the earlier model, so it’s a bit easier to get cables plugged in. Still, there’s no denying the enhanced visual quality of playing the OLED in handheld mode.

Read our Nintendo Switch OLED review.

Best Nintendo Switch, the standard model, in a human hand.

How to choose the best Nintendo Switch

While the standard Nintendo Switch is going to be the right choice for the largest number of players, the Switch OLED and Lite each have some unique benefits. These are the things to think about when you’re shopping for a new Switch:

  • Play modes: The Nintendo Switch Lite only supports a handheld gaming mode. The Original and OLED offer Tabletop and TV modes, so you can play without having to hold them and plug them into a TV. They both come with a Nintendo Switch dock and HDMI cable.
  • Size: If you enjoy handheld gameplay, the dimensions of the Switch might be important. As the Switch Lite is the smallest, it’s best for young players and those with small hands. While all three models are 0.55 inches deep, both the OLED and original Switch are longer and higher. They’re best suited to docked gameplay or larger hands.
  • Price: Do you have a tight budget? If so, the Switch Lite is the cheapest, followed by the Original and then the OLED.
  • Battery: If you want to play predominantly while you’re traveling, battery life might be an important consideration. The Nintendo Switch Lite has a lower life of 3-7 hours, while both the Original and OLED give you around 4.5 – 9 hours. Of course, how much juice you actually get will vary between games.
  • Design: Do you want to show off your unique personality with a bold and bright Nintendo Switch? Maybe you’d rather have a sleek white version. The Switch Lite comes in a wider range of fun hues, including turquoise, yellow, and coral.

Read our how we test page to find out more about how we put these lists together. If you still have any questions, check out the FAQs below:

Which is the best version of the Nintendo Switch?

While the Lite and OLED both have some unique benefits, we still think that the standard version remains a decent middle-of-the-road option that’ll be the best choice for most people – especially anyone who wants to play a lot on their TV screen.

However, if you plan on using handheld mode more often and money is no option, get the OLED.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to save some money and don’t mind being limited to handheld only, the Lite is the best choice for you.

Is the Nintendo Switch or OLED better?

In terms of pure specs, the OLED is better, though not by much. On the inside, the two consoles are pretty much the same, but the OLED has a much better screen. The screen doesn’t make any difference for those who play exclusively on the TV, but if you’re a handheld player, you’ll see a huge step up in picture quality on the OLED.

Is Nintendo Switch worth it in 2024?

In our opinion yes, the Nintendo Switch is still worth it in 2024. Even if a new Nintendo console is on the horizon, there’s still an enormous library of games to play on the Switch. Knowing Nintendo, when the next console comes out, the Switch will still be the only way to play a lot of its most enjoyable exclusives, so it’s worth having if you’re a gaming fan – especially since its library is so big.

We hope that helps you decide which of these will be the right Switch for you. Soon you’ll be sitting down to enjoy all the best Switch games. Check out our best Nintendo Switch accessories guide for a selection of essential extras to get the most out of your Switch console. If you’re shopping for a young person, read our guide on the best Switch games for kids, which will give you some idea of what they might like to play.