Hybrid king

Nintendo Switch V2

Nintendo Switch Console

The latest model

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

Nintendo Switch Oled Model Product Art

This hybrid console can be played traditionally on your TV or can be taken anywhere and played in handheld mode. The innovative controllers make it easy to jump into multiplayer games no matter where you are. It's not nearly as powerful as other consoles out there, but there is a massive library of popular games to enjoy solo or with friends.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Several exclusive games
  • Don't need the internet to play
  • Allows for handheld and portable play
  • Joy-Con are innovative controllers

Cons

  • Performance is behind the curve
  • Limited 32GB of internal memory

The latest Switch version doesn't provide any more powerful processing power, but it does include several improvements, including a larger OLED display, double the internal storage, a better kickstand, and a LAN port in the dock. It's basically the V2 with several smallish improvements. It also is the only Switch that comes in white.

$350 at Best Buy

Pros

  • All pros of a Switch
  • Larger OLED screen
  • Improved kickstand
  • LAN port in dock
  • Enhanced audio in Handheld mode

Cons

  • 64GBs of internal memory is still small
  • Same power as original Switch
  • Costs $50 more

So what exactly is the Switch V2? It's a fan-given name for the Switch revision that was quietly released in August 2019. For reference, the original Switch released in 2017. When you compare the Switch V2 to the original Switch, they look identical, but the V2's battery life is better by a few hours, making it the better system of the two. As with the original Switch, it can be used while docked to a TV or on the go in handheld mode.

The Switch OLED model, on the other hand, is getting a lot of fanfare since it's seen as the latest system rather than a system revision. It has the same battery life of the Switch V2. The Switch OLED's big upgrade centers around the titular 7-inch OLED screen, which is bigger and provides brighter and sharper imagery than ever before. It also has a smattering of other upgrades, including double the storage space of any previous Switch, a better kickstand, enhanced audio, and a LAN port within the dock. Most of these changes aren't super significant, so the real question is — is the OLED screen worth the $50 price difference from the Switch V2?

Switch V2 vs. Switch OLED: What's the difference?

Nintendo Switch Oled Model Vs Switch VSource: iMoreSwitch OLED left, Switch V2 right.

To help the new Switch OLED stand out, Nintendo released it in a new color option, the white dock and white Joy-Con. Let's look at the other similarities and differences between the Switch OLED and Switch V2 by comparing specs.

Switch V2 Switch OLED Model
Price $300 $350
CPU/GPU NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Resolution Up to 720p in handheld /up to 1080p docked Up to 720p in handheld /up to 1080p docked
Screen Capacitive touch screen / 6.2 inch LCD screen Multi-touch capacitive touch screen / 7.0 inch OLED screen
Internet required Only for online multiplayer (free-to-play games are an exception) Only for online multiplayer (free-to-play games are an exception)
Battery life 4.5 - 9 hours 4.5 - 9 hours
Removable Joy-Con Yes Yes
LAN Port No Yes (Dock)
Motion controls Yes Yes
Amiibo scanning Yes Yes
Rumble Yes Yes
Kickstand Flap that sticks out on back side Goes along back of console
Internal storage 32GB internal storage/microSD cards 64GB internal storage/microSD cards
Where to play TV/ handheld console TV/ handheld console
Weight Approx. .88 lbs with Joy-Con controllers Approx .93 lbs with Joy-Con controllers

Switch V2 vs. Switch OLED: Price

As you were probably quick to note, the OLED model is $50 more than the Switch V2. Considering that the new Switch has the larger OLED screen and a handful of other updates, this price is fitting. It's also worth noting that both Switch options cost a couple hundred dollars less than Nintendo's console competitors like the $500 Xbox Series X or the $500 PlayStation 5.

Unlike Microsoft and Sony's consoles, the Switch is behind the curve, technologically speaking. The processing power isn't nearly as powerful and the resolution still hasn't even reached 4K while the competition is pushing into 8K. In case you're wondering, there is no power upgrade between the Switch OLED model and the Switch V2. They offer the same processing abilities and the same resolution. It's just that the OLED screen makes game visuals look much better on the new model.

Do games run differently on the Switch V2 vs. Switch OLED? Games and subscriptions

The Switch OLED model and the Switch V2 play the exact same games. For anyone completely new to the Switch library, there is already a vast number of the best Nintendo Switch games on the market, including incredibly popular titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Players can either purchase physical copies or buy digital downloads of games from the Nintendo eShop, which is accessible from the Switch's main menu.

Additionally, if players pay for a Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) membership, they get access to online modes for various games. Not to mention, this subscription service lets you play select NES and SNES games, including Super Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Donkey Kong 3, and Super Mario Bros. 3.

Additionally, if players choose to pay for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack they gain access to classic N64 and Sega Genesis hits like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Ecco the Dolphin. Both the Switch OLED model and the Switch V2 can access this service.

Kingdom Hearts Riku Sora Kairi Mickey Donald GoofySource: Square Enix

Lastly, Nintendo Switch Cloud Streaming is a somewhat new service that allows you to play more graphically intensive games found on other consoles on the Switch. This is accomplished by streaming the games from a distant server via an internet connection rather than hosting the game locally on the Switch V2 or OLED model itself. Some of these games include Remedy Entertainment's Control, IO Interactive's Hitman 3, and Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts games.

Anything new with the controller? Joy-Con, Pro Controllers, and more

Nintendo Switch Online Nes GamesSource: Nintendo

Nintendo confirmed that Switch OLED model Joy-Con are the same as the ones used on the Switch V2, which in turn are both slight improvements from the original Switch Joy-Con. Both systems allow you to slide these versatile controllers on and off of the console. They can even be turned sideways and used individually. Just pass one to a friend for easy multiplayer wherever you are.

Unfortunately, since we know they use the same Joy-Con on either Switch, it means that both systems are susceptible to Joy-Con drift. This is an issue where your Switch receives a signal from the controllers even if no one is touching them. This can sometimes make it hard or at least annoying to play certain games since your character might move one direction on its own.

In addition to Joy-Con, many Switch owners prefer to use the Pro Controller. This more traditional gamepad is sold separately from either Switch console. Many players say it fits better in adult hands and gives better control over gameplay since it's easier to hold. Additionally, NSO members can order wireless N64 controllers and Sega Genesis controllers that are compatible with Switch to play classic games more easily. However, it's difficult to find them in stock.

Performance and storage space: Switch V2 vs. Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch Oled Model In DockSource: Nintendo

The Switch V2 and the OLED model have the same processing power and resolution capabilities being able to reach up to 720p when in handheld mode and up to 1080p when docked. Now, just because that's what the Switch can handle doesn't mean that's what every game reaches. Many games will be less than 1080p when docked. As far as power goes, most Switch games reach 60 frames per second (FPS).

This is where that OLED screen comes in handy, though. OLED displays produce brighter and crisper details than LCD screens. So even though the resolution isn't improved, the OLED model games will still look a lot better on the console.

Nintendo Switch Oled Model Next To Switch V2 Luigis Mansion 3 With King BooSource: Rebecca Spear / iMore

Lastly, there's the storage space. The Switch V2's 32GB and the OLED model's 64GB of internal storage are pretty small. In the case of the Switch V2, that means you can have about three big games before running out of room, while the OLED model can have about six large games worth of storage. Fortunately, this limited space can be improved upon by using microSD cards. Both Switch consoles can take memory cards up to 2T, but you really only need to get a 128GB to 256GB card, depending on how many games you end up playing. At any rate, we recommend every Switch owner at least get a 64GB card or higher.

Availability: Can I find a Switch in stock?

Nintendo Switch Console DockSource: Nintendo

In the last few years, video gaming has grown more popular than ever and the Nintendo Switch has been one of the very best selling consoles throughout this period. There was a stretch when it was almost impossible to find any Switch inventory at any of the usual stores. Things have calmed down a bit for the Switch V2, but the Switch OLED consistently sells out within minutes each time it becomes available. As such, you'll need to jump on an available Switch if you see it.

Just please be careful when buying your consoles. There are plenty of scammers out there eager to steal your money without giving the right thing or anything back in return. To keep yourself safe, purchase from trusted retailers and never buy any Switch V2 or Switch OLED model that is significantly lower than its MSRP. Those cheap options are definitely too good to be true.

If you're having difficulty finding a reliable seller with inventory, I suggest using Stock Informer. It can send you notifications when a trusted seller like Target, Walmart, or Amazon has Switch consoles available for purchase so you can jump on a purchase right away.

Parental controls: Is it safe and easy for my kid to use?

Whitelisting games on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

The Nintendo Switch has a reputation as being a kid-friendly and family-friendly console. That's not to say that it doesn't have mature games, but most of the main Nintendo titles are meant for everyone, and many of them can have multiple people playing at once from one Switch.

To keep things safer for your children, you can download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app from either the App Store or the Google Play Store. From your phone, you'll be able to determine how long your kid can play each day, make it so your kid cannot communicate with other players, put a password up for purchasing digital games, and much more. You can even check your child's play history to see what kind of games they've been playing and for how long.

Most Nintendo Switch games do not have voice chat features, so you usually don't have to worry about them talking with strangers online. However, the app will help make sure this isn't a problem.

Limits and safety

Nintendo Switch Parental Control App

Nintendo Switch Parental Control app

Limit what they can play

Place a password barrier on digital purchase, limit how long your kid can play for, and make it so they cannot access mature content. You can even see what games your kids have been playing.

Switch V2 vs. Switch OLED: Which should you buy?

Nintendo Switch Oled ModelSource: Nintendo

Both the Switch OLED model and the Switch V2 are excellent gaming consoles. However, unless you need that OLED display, the Switch V2 is all you need. It performs just as well as the OLED model and has the same versatile Joy-Con but will save you $50, which is almost the price of a new game. While the Switch OLED offers double the internal memory, both consoles still require a MicroSD card, so that basically nullifies that benefit.

Now, suppose you really are focused on how well games will look on the Switch. In that case, the OLED model will give you a significantly better viewing experience, but without actually raising the resolution capabilities found on previous Switch models.

Updated May 2022: Updated wording to reflect that the Switch OLED has been out for a while now.

Hybrid king

Nintendo Switch - Gaming Console

Play anywhere you want

Grab your Switch when you head out the door and place it in the dock whenever you want to play on TV. There is a long list of popular games on the Switch just waiting for you to play them.

The newest model

Nintendo Switch Oled Model Product Art Neon Red Blue

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

Crisper, brighter visuals

The OLED model has the same processing power as the Switch V2, but the OLED display allows game visuals to come through sharper and more vibrantly than ever before.

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