Xbox Series X vs Nintendo Switch: Which should you buy?

Xbox Seriex X Vs Nintendo Switch
Xbox Seriex X Vs Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

What's the difference?

The Xbox Series X and the Nintendo Switch are both extraordinary consoles that function very differently from each other. Microsoft's latest edition to the Xbox family is incredibly powerful and will have some of the most realistic visuals to date. To figure out which console you should buy, you should definitely consider what you want to get out of your gaming sessions.

Specs & comparisons

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Header Cell - Column 0 Xbox Series XNintendo Switch
GPU12.15 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPUNVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
CPU8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPUNVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Memory16 GB GDDR64 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM @ 1600 MHz
Storage1 TB Custom NVME SSD32GB Internal + MicroSD
Resolution4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS720p (Undocked) / 1080p (Docked)
USBUSB 3.0 (unknown), USB-C1 x USB-C (Console), 3 x USB 2.0 (Dock)
ControllerXbox Series X ControllerJoy-Cons / Pro Controller
Backward compatibilityYesNo
Game formatDiscs / digital downloadsCartridges / digital downloads
Weight9.8lbs0.66 lb (Console) / 0.72 lb (Dock)
Dimensions11.8 in x 5.9 in x 5.9 in4 in x 9.4 in x 0.55 in (Console) / 4.1 in x 6.8 in x 2.12 in (Dock)

What these differences mean for you

Alright, so you've seen the specs. Here's what these differences actually mean for you.

How you play Settler vs nomad

Xbox Series X Console

Xbox Series X Console (Image credit: iMore)

As you can see in the chart above, the Xbox Series X costs $200 more than the Nintendo Switch, but that's because it can operate at a much higher level. Loading times don't take very long, the frame rate can function a lot higher, and games can sport 4K or even 8K resolution. To use it, you must set up this console in a relatively permanent position with your TV. Since it's a rather chunky device, you'll need to find a good place to put it.

The Nintendo Switch on the other hand has been out since 2017, but it's made an impressive splash with its innovative design. When docked, you can play the best Nintendo Switch games on your TV. But if you need to get up to run errands, commute, or do anything else, you can pick up the console and continue to play in handheld mode. The dock and Switch don't take up a lot of space, so they're easier to put on your TV stand.

What kind of games you're looking for Processing power vs Unique playing experiences

Best Nintendo Switch Games

Best Nintendo Switch Games (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

This fast processing power of the Xbox Series X makes it a great option for competitive online multiplayers or simply for enjoying the graphics of current-gen titles. It's seriously the gaming system of the future and the perfect option for anyone looking to experience the abilities of modern gaming tech.

The Nintendo Switch on the other hand makes for the perfect traveling companion and also the perfect family console since there are dozens of family-friendly titles and split-screen multiplayer games to share with others. You can find some shooters and more adult games on this console, but many of the exclusives can be enjoyed by all ages.

Controllers Traditional vs Joy-Cons

Xbox Series X Controller (Image credit: Jez Corden/Windows Central)

How to fix controller drift Nintendo Switch (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Source: iMore and Rebecca Spear / iMore

The Xbox Series X Controller has a traditional design and looks a lot like previous iterations of the gamepad. The main difference from its predecessors is the gamepad on the left, which has been seriously updated. It operates using two AA batteries and the ergonomic shape makes it comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions.

The Joy-Con isn't your average controllers. They can slide on and off of the console for use in either handheld or TV mode. Additionally, you can hand one to a friend and turn them sideways to play multiplayer games without needing to purchase another controller. Thing is, these devices are small and do not have an ergonomic design, so while they are perfectly fine for kids, they can be rather uncomfortable for adults.spend at least $70 to get it.

Another thing to be aware of is that Nintendo's controllers often experience Joy-Con drift, which means that the joysticks give signals that make the console think that characters should move without anyone touching them. This can be a really frustrating thing to experience. Fortunately, Nintendo also offers a Pro Controller that has a more traditional design. But you have to be willing to

Storage Internal and external memory

The Xbox Series X is definitely the better console when it comes to storage, but that's not surprising given that the Nintendo Switch only has 32GB of internal memory. That means it can only hold two or three large games before getting full. You'll definitely need to purchase a microSD card if you plan on playing multiple Switch games.

In comparison, the Xbox Series X has 1TB of internal storage and if that isn't enough, you can hook up an external hard drive to it for more memory.

Online services Xbox Games Pass vs Nintendo Switch Online

Xbox Games Pass

Xbox Games Pass (Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo doesn't offer as many online services, but they are a lot cheaper. Players must purchase a Nintendo Switch Online susbcription if they want to take part in most online multiplayer aspects. The subscription also gives members access to a library of retro titles from NES and SNES for only $20 a year for an individual subscription or $35 a year for a family subscription.

Microsoft offers a lot more with their online services. To get access to online multiplayer you must pay $10 per month for the Xbox Live Gold. What really makes Microsoft's online services worth it is the Xbox Games Pass, which is a subscription service that gives members access to over 100 current and older Xbox titles for only $10 a month. This spans Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games. Subscribers can even get discounts on select games and DLC. So if you're the kind of person who loves checking out a bajillion titles in one year, this is really the service for you.

Console Exclusives Xbox Series X vs Nintendo Switch

Microsoft and Nintendo both have their share of exclusive titles that cannot be played on other consoles.

Xbox Series X exclusives

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite (Image credit: Microsoft)

Since Microsoft owns some of these titles, many will also appear on PC, but not on PS4 or PS5.

  • As Dusk Falls
  • Avowed
  • Call of the Sea
  • Everwild
  • Exomecha
  • Fable 4
  • Forza Motorsport
  • Halo Infinite
  • State of Decay 3
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
  • The Gunk
  • The Medium
  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
  • CrossfireX
  • Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2
  • Scorn

Nintendo Switch exclusives

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch (Image credit: Nintendo)
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Luigi's Mansion 3
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
  • Monster Hunter Rise
  • Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King
  • Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
  • Ring Fit Adventure
  • Super Mario Maker 2
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Super Mario Party
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Xbox Series X vs Nintendo Switch: Bottom Line

The Xbox Series X is a great option for multiplayers and intense first-person shooters. If you're more interested in having the latest tech with faster frame rates and more powerful processing power, this is the console to get. Plus, if you pay for the Xbox Games Pass, you'll be able to play hundreds of current and classic games.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch offers a hybrid gaming experience where you can play at home connected to your TV or take it anywhere you go in handheld made. There's a long list of Nintendo exclusives both single-player adventures and split-screen co-op multiplayers, making it a great family console. If you're looking for a kid-friendly console or something that lets you play with others in the same room, this is the one to go with.

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.