Can't get a Nintendo Switch? These are the five best alternatives

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Despite the launch of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S, sales of the Nintendo Switch have showed no signs of slowing down, thanks in part to the catalog of great games available. Unfortunately, much like its console cousins, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite have become difficult to find.

If you haven't been lucky on your search for Nintendo's hybrid console, you don't have to take your toys and go home. In fact, you can fit right in with one of these Nintendo Switch alternatives while you wait for the Switch to be available on store shelves!

Nintendo Switch alternatives: Google Stadia

Google Stadia controller

Google Stadia controller (Image credit: Android Central)

The Google Stadia is Google's first foray into videogames, and the first significant push for videogame streaming. In essence, Google Stadia allows you to stream games on your phone, TV, and computer, so long as you have an internet connection. Pretty impressive, right?

Using your Google account, you can sign up for a Stadia account for free and get to playing right away. In addition to having many of this year's most popular games, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the service also ties in seamlessly with YouTube. Stream and upload clips to YouTube instantly, and make use of Crowd Play, a feature that invites viewers to join the streamer's game live.

While you don't need a Stadia-specific controller if you're playing on a computer, you will need one if you move to another device. The Stadia controller is standard in design, not unlike an Xbox controller, and features two unique buttons — a share button, which allows users to share gameplay straight to YouTube instantly, and a button that calls Google Assistant.

Just remember if you want to make full use of the Stadia, you'll need to have a stable internet connection. Google recommends you have speeds of 10 Mbps. This will enable you to play in 720p at 60 FPS with stereo audio. At 20 Mbps, things are amped up to 1080p, HDR, and 5.1 surround sound. It is possible to stream in 4k as well, but you'll need a Stadia Pro subscription.

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Nintendo Switch alternatives: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Review (Image credit: Android Central)

If you can't grab a Nintendo Switch, why not get the next best thing and secure a new Android tablet. While most will be more expensive than the Nintendo Switch, they also come with a lot more horsepower under the hood.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is one of the best tablets money can buy right now. Featuring a 120Hz display and a reliable battery, this Android tablet punches well above its weight class and is perfect for movie watching and game playing.

Speaking of games, mobile games have also come a long way from simple puzzle games and endless runners (though there are still plenty of those). There are plenty of excellent Android games you can play immediately, but the real draw to gaming on your Android tablet comes from Xbox Gamepass.

With Xbox Gamepass Ultimate, you can access Gamepass from your Android Device and stream tons of games, including first-party Xbox games, directly to your tablet. That means you can effectively game from your Android device without the use of a TV — sorta like the Switch, right? You can connect an Xbox controller if you're gaming on your tablet, or pick up one of the many great game controllers for your Android phone.

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Nintendo Switch alternatives: Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3ds Discontinued

Nintendo 3ds Discontinued (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

If you want some mobile Nintendo action, the New Nintendo 3DS XL is where it's at. While it has been officially discontinued by Nintendo, you can still find some great Nintendo 3DS exclusives for cheap, and can still access the Nintendo eShop to visit of some of your childhood favorites, like Pokémon Red or Blue and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Newer games feature local multiplayer options, so you can connect your 3DS with your friends and race, fight, or trade them all the live long day.

Also, you can find a 3DS for pretty cheap — just a fraction of what the Nintendo Switch cost. There are also a few different models to chose from. The Nintendo 2DS is great for those who don't care about the 3D, and the Nintendo 3DS XL, for gamers with bigger hands who need bigger screens. You can even grab one of the "New" Nintendo 3DS models for a little extra processing power.

No matter which model you settle on, it's a great budget gift that is sure to hold gamers over until they get the latest and greatest from Nintendo. You'll just have to take to eBay or another second hand source to find one. Happy hunting!

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Nintendo Switch alternatives: Apple TV

Apple TV

Apple TV (Image credit: iMore)

If you don't want to spend a lot of money, and you're not a heavy gamer in need of the most advanced gaming technology, you might want to consider the fourth-generation Apple TV. Now, I'm not trying to say that Apple TV is somehow comparable to the Switch. One is a dedicated gaming console and one is a set-top box that also has games. If you can't get your hands on a Switch by March 3 or shortly afterward, though, Apple TV is a decent option when it comes to price, content, and living room multiplayer playability.

There are hundreds of Apple TV compatible games, as well as Apple Arcade, and some of them are darn-near console-quality, like Leo's Fortune, Oceanhorn, and Dungeon Hunter 5. Some of the LEGO games are also available on Apple TV, which is part of the family-friendly console gaming universe.

Apple TV costs less than most console systems, and the games are a fraction of the price. Plus, you can watch TV shows and movies on it, too!

If you are jonesing for some solid living room family gaming while waiting for your Switch, but don't want to spend too much money on an alternative, Apple TV will satisfy your craving. Don't forget the best game controllers for Apple TV and Apple Arcade!

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Nintendo Switch alternatives: iPad


iPad (Image credit: iMore)

As an alternative to Nintendo's Switch just until you can actually pick one up, I'm only recommending an iPad to those who already own one. Here's why: LEGO. You can play pretty much ever LEGO game on iOS, and they are MFi compatible. Many of them you can download the first few levels of for free, plus, even at full price, they are still significantly less expensive than console cartridges (or discs).

In addition to access to the LEGO game franchise, there is also a bevy of fantastic platformer games, puzzle games, and action arcade games, right at your fingertips. If you have an MFi controller, you can really get a gaming experience out of your iPad. This tablet is pricey, in relation to gaming devices, I'm not suggesting you go out and buy one to stave off your desire to play Switch for a couple of weeks until you can get one. I'm just saying if you already have one, and if you're reading iMore, there is a pretty good chance you do, then pick it up, play some LEGO: Batman, and relax while everyone else is itching for their Switch.

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Nintendo Switch alternatives: What are your favorites?

These are just a few of the best Nintendo Switch alternatives out there. What is your favorite device to play games on? Let us know in the comments!

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).