Does the Nintendo Switch support HDR?

Nintendo Switch Console on blue background
Nintendo Switch Console on blue background (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Does the Nintendo Switch support HDR?

Best answer: No. While the hardware within the Nintendo Switch is fully capable of HDR, the Nintendo Switch uses an older HDMI standard, which doesn't allow for HDR output. On top of that, games and other software designed for the Switch don't support HDR, so there's no use modifying your console.

Why can't the Switch support HDR?

The Tegra X1 SoC within the Switch console has the power to support HDR. However, the Nintendo Switch dock only features an HDMI 1.4 port. Considering that HDMI 2.0a or higher is required for HDR output, the dock cannot support HDR.

On top of that, most (if not all) Switch games don't support HDR. It makes sense that developers wouldn't take the time to include HDR support in their games when the Switch console doesn't support it. This means that if you found a way to connect a more powerful HDMI output to the Switch, you most likely won't be able to enjoy HDR anyway.

What about the Switch Lite?

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

The Switch Lite is intended to be a handheld device only. As such, the smaller Switch doesn't have the necessary tech inside to allow for docking or connecting to a TV. Even if you did manage to mirror the Switch Lite's screen to a TV, the resolution only reaches 720p, which doesn't look good on a large screen.

OK, but the Switch OLED does HDR, right?

Nintendo Switch Oled Model Metroid Dread (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Actually, no. While the Switch OLED is fully capable with the necessary hardware to support HDR, the software does not. The same rules apply to the Switch Lite, too. The OLED model only does up to 1080p in docked mode, so HDR really won't make that much of a difference.

What exactly is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It means that your TV or display will display more gradients between lights and darks as well as better color accuracy. In a nutshell, HDR makes the colors pop and makes images look more life-like on a TV. You can see why this is something most people would want for the Nintendo Switch. There are so many beautiful colors and art styles in Switch games, and it would be nice to see them displayed at their best.

We can only hope that Nintendo will eventually release a more powerful console like the rumored Switch Pro that will feature higher resolution capabilities, HDR output, larger internal storage, so you don't have to rely as much on microSD cards, and faster loading times. If that happens, we'll be sure to cover it.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.