Nintendo’s current-generation game console—the Switch—is no exaggeration a game-changer for the company. It made quite a splash when it debuted as a hybrid TV game console and portable console in one that somewhat justifies how underpowered it is compared to the PS5 and Xbox X/S-series.
Connecting Nintendo Switch to a laptop and why you’d even want to do that, then keep on reading to find out.
How to Connect Nintendo Switch to Laptop
The Nintendo Switch isn’t supposed to connect to a laptop. However, there are workarounds you can use to make it all possible. To connect the device to your laptop, you can’t use the HDMI—both the Switch and the laptop possess HDMI-Out or output ports for display devices.
You therefore need something that has an HDMI-In or input port that can transform the Switch dock into something with a USB output (something that the laptop can accept as opposed to an HDMI-Out). For media players it’s an HDMI video capture device and for game consoles it’s a game capture card.
Procedures to Connect the Nintendo Switch to Your Laptop
First off, connect the Switch to your Switch Dock through the Type-C connector. Remove the HDMI cable connecting the dock to your TV or monitor. Now do the following:
- Connect the Dock to the Game Capture Card: Connect the dock with its HDMI cable to the game capture card or device’s “HDMI-In” or input port that’s similar to what you’d find on your TV. Now open the capture software on your laptop.
- Turn on the Switch Then Connect to Laptop: Turn on or wake up your Nintendo Switch while it’s docked unto the Switch Dock. Take the USB cable and connect the game capture card to one of your laptop’s multiple (preferably) USB 3.0 ports.
- Wait for a Window with Your Home Screen: If you’ve done everything right, the capture software should then display the Nintendo Switch’s home screen right on your laptop like some sort of emulator (but it’s not an emulator). Now you can play propriety Nintendo games.
- Remove Joy-Cons to Use as Control Pads: Remove the Joy-Cons from your Switch to use them as your controllers for your Switch displayed unto your laptop. You can even click to put the window to full screen mode if you so choose.
- Stream Live or Get the Immersive Big Screen Experience: The laptop can serve as your middleman device to allow you to display the Switch on a computer monitor or even a projector. You can even stream live with your Switch via computer if you wish.
- Record Gameplay, Do Back Recording, or Even Chat: Depending on how advanced your capture software is, you could even record your gameplay, enjoy the back recording feature, or do live commentary and chat like a regular YouTube Let’s Player.
You can enjoy the best of both worlds by taking advantage of laptop or notebook PC gaming while playing with your Switch as an extra game peripheral. Depending on how high-specs your laptop is, you can end up with better graphical fidelity there than playing with the Switch alone.
To Be Honest It’s Not Supposed to Connect
Without the video capture card or device, you won’t be able to connect the Switch to the laptop naturally. They’re both HDMI-Out media player devices that you should connect to HDMI-IN display devices. Connecting them is as silly as connecting your DVD player to your VHS player.
- Nintendo Dock and Video Capture Card: The Switch should connect first to the dock to give you access to the HDMI-Out or output port for your HDMI cable. This should allow you to connect to either your HDTV or your video capture card.
- Don’t Use the Laptop’s HDMI-Out Port: Your laptop’s HDMI port is an output port like the one found on your Nintendo Switch Dock. They’re both for displays and not for media players. You can connect the laptop to the dock via video capture card’s USB 3.0 port and cable.
- The Advantage of a Dedicated Game Console: While PC or laptop gaming has its perks, having a dedicated game console handle your gaming ensures that the games made for it run smoothly without having to download this app or install that video card.
What Does the Nintendo Switch Bring to the Table?
The Nintendo Switch sold a record 103.54 million units at the time of this writing. Knowing it can’t compete with the arm’s race in graphical fidelity and technical advancements that both Sony and Microsoft have engaged in, Nintendo instead bet on their tried-and-true portable console formula.
- A Handheld and TV Console in One: The previous generation Wii-U sold poorly because casual gamers or non-gamers viewed it as just another Nintendo Wii with a tablet gimmick. Nintendo made a better gimmick this time by having portable console double as a TV console.
- Underpowered Yet High Game Quality: Non-gamers and gamers alike fell in love with the underpowered console that can do 720p HD on portable mode and 1080p Full HD on TV console mode because of its first-party titles and better third-party game quality control.
- Mario, Smash Bros., and Zelda: People gathered to the Switch to play the newest Legend of Zelda installment “Breath of the Wild” on top of “Super Mario Odyssey” and “Smash Bros. Ultimate”, making it a killer console during the dying days of the Xbox One and PS4.
Can you connect a Nintendo Switch to a laptop with HDMI?
The Nintendo Switch is a popular video game console that is known for its portability. One of the features that makes the Switch so unique is that it has an HDMI-out port, which allows it to be connected to a TV or monitor. However, many people wonder if it is possible to connect the Switch to a laptop using HDMI.
The answer is no, you cannot connect the Nintendo Switch to a laptop using HDMI. The reason for this is that the Switch only has an HDMI-out port, which means that it can only output video signals and cannot receive any input.
While it is possible to connect the Switch to a laptop without a capture card via an HDMI-in port, this is much more expensive and difficult to find than a capture card. Therefore, if you want to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop, you will need to use a capture card.
What You Need to Know
After all is said and done, you should be able to play games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Smash Bros. Ultimate, or the latest Mario Kart on a cinematic scale by connecting the Switch to a projector. The first-party games of Nintendo are among the industry’s best and brightest.
However, we have to be honest and say that forcing the Switch to play on your laptop is kind of redundant since you can always hook the Switch up to a PC monitor or projector anyway. You don’t even need a video capture card to do this.
- “How To Connect Nintendo Switch To Laptop“, Salisonline.org, November 25, 2020
- “How to Use a Laptop as Monitor for Nintendo Switch“, PC Webopaedia, Retrieved April 26, 2022