The Nintendo Switch launched almost 7 years ago now, but it's still a super-popular system – despite umpteen rumours of a Nintendo Switch 2 being on the horizon for this year or next. I wouldn't worry about the Switch sequel, though, as there's still plenty of life in the original console.
By late last year the Nintendo Switch had sold an astonishing 132 million units total worldwide. Indeed, Nintendo's console has outsold the combined Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X sales (and then some) – but, of course, it has had much longer to do so. That it still sells in significant numbers is testament to how much love there is for this innovative console. And with good reason!
But, hold up, despite its longevity there are still umpteen mistakes people make with their Nintendo Switch – or errors that first-time buyers may fall into. So whether you're a newcomer or a long-time Switch user, avoid these pitfalls and take note of these tips, as you'll get even more joy(con) from your Nintendo Switch as a result.
1. Don't forget the OLED model
If you're yet to buy a Nintendo Switch then I thoroughly recommend the Nintendo Switch OLED. It's like the original in terms of scale, but it has less screen bezel, so you get a larger screen as a result, while the OLED panel just looks better to my eyes.
Personally I'd avoid the Nintendo Switch Lite, which is a smaller-scale console and is only usable handheld – the original Switch and Switch OLED both also work with your TV, which for me is my preferred way to use those consoles overall, with handheld gaming a great-to-have option too.
Any downsides? Well, the OLED model is typically the priciest of the lot. I think it's worth it though. Indeed, I own both the original and the upgraded model, as having two units means easier charging rotation and more Joy-Con controllers on hand too. Double win!
2. Play the right games
So this might seem kind of obvious: but the key reason to buy a Nintendo Switch is for all the great games available that you can't play anywhere else. That's what sets Nintendo apart and why it's still such a relevant company more than 40 years after its first home console was released in the 1980s.
There are boatloads of AAA first-party titles for the Switch to sink your teeth into (they work the same whether you have the original, OLED or Lite): from Super Mario Odyssey, to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or the more recent Super Mario Wonder, and plenty more besides. These are all 5-star titles not to be missed.
But the bigger mistake to make would be to invest too much in AAA titles that aren't Nintendo exclusives. That's because, while Nintendo does get ports of some classics, such as FIFA, the console's lower graphical capability often means they're so-so ports. There was uproar about Mortal Kombat 1 appearing on Nintendo's console in a terrible state. My advice? Have multiple hardware options. There's a reason to save under-the-TV space for a PS5 or Xbox too, y'know?
3. Don't forget Bluetooth
Believe it or not, when the Switch first launched all those years back it had headphones support via 3.5mm jack, but you'd have to use a cable. And with so many of us now using the best wireless earphones instead, that wasn't going to cut it for many people.
Fortunately for us all, Nintendo quietly rolled out Bluetooth audio support in an update for the Switch back in late 2021. That means you can now also pair Bluetooth headphones to the device – simply head to the System Settings menu, select Bluetooth Audio and then Pair Device. Nice and easy!
The only downside here is that Bluetooth will further the Switch's battery drain if you're using the console handheld, and while its impact isn't gigantic, it's something to consider. Using a pair of the best wired headphones isn't always the end of the world – indeed, some people will still prefer that method.
4. Buy extra Joy-Cons
When you buy a Nintendo Switch or Switch OLED it comes with a pair of detachable Joy-Con controllers attached (the Switch Lite is an exception, it doesn't, it's a single-piece unit with controls embedded). These Joy-Cons are great for using attached to the console, removed and clipped into the provided cradle to create a separate controller, or split and shared as two individual controllers for multiplayer games.
But the Joy-Cons are slow to charge (around 3.5hrs), need to be plugged into a Switch console to do so (if you have no other relevant accessory for the job anyway), and I'd recommend picking up an additional pair and even a third-party charging dock.
That way you'll have four Joy-Cons total, which is ideal for in-person multi-player games, such as Super Mario Party (seriously, it's better than most board games and great family fun around the festive holiday periods), and when you're not all at it you can charge one pair ready to replace the depleted batteries of your others.
5. Expand the on-board storage cheaply
I've already written about the best microSD cards for the Nintendo Switch elsewhere, which is a feature to not overlook! That's because the original Switch only offers 32GB on-board storage, while the newer OLED model doubles that to 64GB. Still, that's not enough!
With an average game download netting around 8GB of space, with some as high or beyond 30GB, if you're using Nintendo's e-Store for any downloads or add-ons then you're going to want a whole lot more space than that. And microSD cards are typically cheap to double the storage available.
There is a word of warning about the Nintendo eShop too: sure, it offers convenience, but its pricing structure is often much steeper for games than buying the physical cartridge options instead (which you can onward sell after you're done, if you want to make a little cash back). Sometimes you'll find some good Nintendo Switch deals online, though, including games on the eShop!
6. Get the Pro Controller for best solo sessions
Much as I've bigged-up the Joy-Cons and would suggest getting ahold of more than just the one supplied pair, I've got to say that the top-tier official Nintendo Pro Controller for Switch is a must-buy if you're particularly into solo sessions over longer periods of play. I'm fine giving Zelda a go on a Joy-Con, but some hours in I much prefer having a meatier controller to handle the action.
Sure, the Pro Controller isn't exactly cheap, commanding an asking price close to that of a brand new game, but for the additional comfort and control it's a real step up. Besides, with Sony and Microsoft charging triple figures for their pro controller equivalents, the Switch version seems like a bargain by comparison. One that I don't think you'll regret investing in.
7. Don't forget Online Expansion Pack
When it comes to online the Nintendo Switch has Nintendo eShop for purchases, Nintendo Online for playing compatible multiplayer games online, but there's also Nintendo Online + Expansion Pack. It's the last of these which I think is a must because it opens up a whole other world of gaming.
In recent years Nintendo has been releasing classic Nintendo titles from the NES to SNES to Gameboy Color to N64 and even some Sega Megadrive games too. You have to have the 'Expansion' zone online for access though, which is worth its cover charge for so many great extras. Super Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Banjo-Kazooie, F-Zero X and many, many more are all headliners worth exploring.