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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Best Nintendo Switch Bundle Deals—and Which Model to Pick

Outside of retail holidays like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, there aren't a ton of great discounts on Nintendo's consoles—the Switch, Switch OLED, and Switch Lite. That's partially due to their popularity, the ongoing global pandemic and its supply chain woes, as well as Nintendo's reluctance to discount its products often. 

But if you manage to find ’em on sale, which should you choose? We have advice that can help, as well as the best ways to pick one up. Below are all of the best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles we've found. We've also rounded up the best Switch games to get you started, as well as accessories you might want. Read our Switch Tips and Tricks to get the most out of your console. 

Updated October 2021: We've added the Switch OLED, broke down the differences between all three models, and refreshed the rest of the guide.

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Which Switch Should You Buy?

When the Switch came out, in 2017, there was just one model. Now there are three, and choosing the right one can be confusing if you're not up to speed on how they are all different. Let's sort through each one.

Nintendo Switch Lite for $200

This is the cheapest Switch (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but it's also significantly limited in its capabilities. It's one unit, so the controllers are not detachable. It cannot be docked to a TV, which means you're able to play it only in handheld mode. It's the smallest and lightest of the three models, which makes it great for travel, but that means it has the smallest touchscreen: 5.5 inches. If none of that is an issue for you, then the $100 you'll save is worthwhile. You will not be able to play certain games that require motion controls, like Super Mario Party, unless you decide to buy Joy-Con controllers and pair them with the system (you'll also need some type of kickstand). To see if a game works well on the Switch Lite, look for a “handheld mode” icon on the eShop or the back of the physical game box.

Nintendo Switch ($300)

The next step up is the standard Switch (7/10, WIRED Recommends) that's been selling like hotcakes since 2017. Technically, Nintendo refreshed the Switch in 2019 with slightly better battery life, but otherwise the system is pretty much the same. It has a built-in kickstand on the back of the LCD display to prop it up, Joy-Con controllers you can detach, and a dock you can hook up to your TV to seamlessly transition from handheld to the big screen. 

Nintendo Switch OLED ($350)

The new Switch OLED (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is very similar to the original Switch, but its upgrades easily make it worth the extra $50. The most notable is, naturally, the screen. Unlike the LCD screens in the other two models, the OLED panel has pixels that individually light up and turn off, allowing for truer blacks and better color contrast. Your games will look a whole lot nicer. The display is also larger–7 inches versus the standard Switch's 6.62 inches–but smaller borders around the screen mean the two are nearly identical in size. 

If OLED hasn't sold you, the kickstand will. The original Switch's kickstand is flimsy, tough to open, and doesn't really balance the display all that well. On the OLED, the kickstand spans the entire length of the console. You can even adjust it so the screen sits at various angles. It's much more stable and versatile. Additional improvements include 64 GB of storage instead of the paltry 32 GB in the original, slightly better audio quality, and an Ethernet port in the dock, so you can hook it up to your router for faster internet speeds without needing to use a separate dongle like on the original Switch. 

For Nintendo newbies, go for the Switch OLED. For anyone with the OG Switch, upgrading to the OLED is a tougher choice, especially since there are no performance improvements. You're still playing at 720p in handheld (1080p and 60 frames per second when docked). If you exclusively play in docked mode, then the upgrade doesn't make sense. But if your aging model has seen heavy handheld use and is suffering from poor battery life, then it might be worthwhile. 

Best Prices for Switch Right Now

The original Switch is normally $299, and most top-tier games cost $60, whether you buy a physical cartridge or a digital copy. Some people have been experiencing issues with Joy-Con controllers “drifting,” which is when characters on the screen move without you touching the joystick. Should you encounter this, Nintendo will remedy the issue.

Make sure you buy the 2019 Nintendo Switch (model number HAC-001(-01)) with improved battery life. Its box is entirely red on the front except for a white Switch logo and the console. The old box has a white background, and you should avoid it. 

  • Nintendo Switch for $300: Amazon's shipping is delayed, but this console isn't price-gouged. It is set to ship in late November or as soon as more stock is available. If you don't have an extra MicroSD card around, we recommend going for this bundle, which includes 128 GB of external storage. If you plan to get several digital games, you will quickly run out of space, so a MicroSD card is essential.
  • Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing Edition for $300: This special-edition console has been tough to find in stock at a reasonable price since it was unveiled. Best Buy has it for the right price, and so does GameStop. Confusingly, the bundle doesn't include a copy of the game, but you can find it at Amazon, Target, GameStop, and Best Buy, among other retailers.
  • Select Nintendo Switch Games for Up to $20 off: Since most bundles don't come with games, this is a nice way to fill up your library at a discount. Most Nintendo games tend to stay at their original $60 price, but here you can find select games that are sometimes up to $20 off, which is often the best deal you can get for first-party titles.

Best Prices for Switch OLED Right Now

The Switch OLED has just come out, and its starting price is $349, just $50 more than the original Switch. Like the OG model, you can get it with red and blue Joy-Cons, or you can get it exclusively in black and white. The white model is selling out faster, so if you don't care about appearance, the red/blue one will be easier to find. If you're having trouble finding either, you can use a service like Zoolert to get notifications when it's back in stock.

At the time of publication, the Switch OLED is out of stock at most retailers, but shipments are coming in occasionally. You might have better luck at brick-and-mortar stores, as some retailers seem to be prioritizing in-person sales over online orders (even if you preordered months ago). If you see a preorder option, do it as soon as you can because shipping delays mean you might not get the system until November or December.

  • Nintendo Switch OLED Model for $350: Retailers like Amazon, Target, and Best Buy are the best places to look for the console at the moment. These are basic packages with no extra games or accessories, and it's likely to stay that way since this model is so new.
  • Pre-Owned Nintendo Switch OLED Model (White) for $330: They're somewhat rare, but GameStop occasionally gets units when customers change their minds. Pre-owned units are unlikely to have seen much use, since the Switch OLED is so new, and buying pre-owned will be one of the few ways to save a little bit of money for a while.

Best Prices for Switch Lite Right Now

The Nintendo Switch Lite typically costs $199, but it plays mostly the same games. Look for the “Handheld mode” sign on games to see if they're playable on the system (most are). It comes in turquoise, yellow, or gray. We break down the differences here

Retailers that Carry the Switch

These links lead to retailer pages where you can find the Nintendo Switch, in case you're hunting for something more specific or can't find it in stock. You can also often find secondhand units on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. We have a guide to shopping safely on eBay you should check out before purchasing from a private seller.

Refurbished Switches From Nintendo

We don't always recommend refurbished units, but Nintendo has a good track record, and a couple of us on the WIRED team have purchased refurbished consoles. These all come with a 1-year warranty, just like you'd get with a new Switch. It's not a huge discount, but you can save a few bucks. Some of these are currently sold out, but you can provide your email address to be notified when inventory is replenished.

Switch Essentials You'll Need

All of these are in our Best Nintendo Switch Accessories guide, but to get you started, here are some items you really should get. A big MicroSD card storage capacity means you can store a ton of games, and a screen protector is always a good idea. On the Switch OLED, Nintendo has a film protecting the glass over the display—you should not remove it

Gaming Headsets Worth a Look

Using a gaming headset on the Switch is more complicated than it should be. Nintendo's online service requires you to use a smartphone to chat in games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A recent software update has finally enabled Bluetooth audio, meaning you can easily connect your wireless earbuds and headphones to any Switch system just like you would with your phone. That will only work for in-game audio, so you'll still need your smartphone for teammate voice chat. To make matters more confusing, Fortnite and some other games do not use the smartphone app. 

Here are a few recommendations, but our Best Gaming Headsets and Best Wireless Gaming Headsets guides have more. 

Must-Have Switch Games

There are a lot of fantastic Nintendo Switch games, but we've highlighted a few of our favorites. For even more suggestions, read our Best Nintendo Switch Games guide.

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