A Nintendo Switch is great for gaming on the go, but the quality of Switch games might sometimes make you want to play them on a bigger screen. The most common way to do this would be to connect your Switch to a TV through an HDMI cable, but what if you don’t have a TV? Chances are that you own a laptop, and it can be the next best thing because of its relatively large screen. Even smaller laptops have 12 to 14 inch screens, and they can help make your Switch gaming a much more immersive experience.
However, connecting your Nintendo Switch to a laptop won’t be as easy as it would be with a TV. That’s because laptops only have HDMI output ports. The vast majority of laptops don’t come with HDMI input ports, mostly because there isn’t much demand for them. Unless you have an Alienware laptop or some other monstrously expensive model, you will need some help if you want to connect your Switch with an HDMI cable. The main problem here is the lack of an input port, but that’s a problem that you can solve quite easily by following our guidance.
A Solution to the Input Port Problem
If you want to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop, you need something that can provide an input port. The most useful tool here would be a Game Capture Card, and the ones provided by Elgato are the most popular among gamers for a number of reasons. The main purpose of a game capture card is to allow you to stream console games on a PC, and it comes with a number of ports that can help you do that.
One of the ports is an HDMI input port, and you can use this to connect your Switch to your laptop as well. The latest cards only use USB Type-C, so make sure your laptop is compatible before making a purchase. If your laptop doesn’t support USB Type-C, try buying an older model.
You will also need a Nintendo Dock. It is a device that acts as an interface between your Switch and whatever you want to connect it to. You don’t have to worry about buying it, though, because it comes part and parcel with the Nintendo Switch itself.
A Step By Step Guide to Connecting Your Nintendo Switch to Your Laptop
- Find the Port: Game capture cards come with four ports. You get two each for input and output. Two of the ports are HDMI, one for input and one for output, and the other two comprise of a USB port and an old school A/V port. You need to locate the HDMI input port, because this is what you will connect your Nintendo Switch to.
- Dock Your Switch: Your Nintendo Switch must be placed in its dock before you connect it to the game capture card. Once it is in place, proceed to the next step.
- Make the Connection: Connect one end of the HDMI cable to your Nintendo Dock’s output port. Attach the other end to the HDMI input on your game capture card. Take care to connect the cable to the correct ports. HDMI inputs and outputs look quite similar, and the process won’t work if you get them mixed up.
- Activate the Software: You can’t just turn your laptop on and expect your Nintendo Switch’s screen to be displayed. Rather, you need to download a special software called Game Capture HD. Luckily, it’ll be available for free download on your card manufacturer’s website. Open the software once it’s downloaded.
- Turn Your Switch On: Press the home button on your controller to turn your Nintendo Switch on. Make sure that it’s docked before doing so, otherwise the connection would be incomplete. If you accidentally turn your Switch on before placing it in the dock, turn it off and place it before turning it on again.
- The Final Step: Now all you need to do is connect your game capture card to your laptop. Remember, you can’t do this with an HDMI cable. You need to connect your laptop to the game capture card via USB cable. Once the connection is made, you should see your Nintendo Switch’s home screen displayed on the game capture software. It takes a few seconds for the software to recognize your Nintendo Switch, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen immediately.
These simple steps can help you witness your favorite Switch games on your high-definition laptop screen! One final tip that we would like to give you is that you should avoid touching your touchpad or keyboard because this might accidentally minimize the game capture software.
Why Should I Connect My Nintendo Switch to My Laptop?
The Nintendo Switch has a relatively small screen. While it works great for portable gaming, you would need to connect it to a bigger screen if you want to truly enjoy the visuals of your game. A laptop has a much larger screen than a Switch, so connecting the two devices can boost your enjoyment of the game.
Do I Need a Game Capture Card to Connect My Switch?
Unfortunately, there is no way to connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop without a game capture card. That’s because laptops only come with HDMI output ports, and you need an input port to receive the video signal coming from your Switch. That said, if you have a gaming laptop chances are that it has an HDMI input port. You won’t need a game capture card in that case.
Are There Any Alternatives to Game Capture Cards?
While it’s impossible to connect your Switch and laptop without a game capture card, you can still play your favorite Nintendo Switch games on your computer. Many of these games are available on the Windows Store too, so you can download them to get a comparable experience. You can also try using an emulator, although bear in mind that gameplay on emulators can be very glitchy at times.
Are Game Capture Cards Expensive?
Most game capture cards are surprisingly affordable. Elgato’s products tend to be a little over $100, which is on the pricier side of the spectrum. $100 seems to be a reasonable amount to pay for such a useful device, especially given the numerous functions it can perform. There are cheaper models available as well. Older game capture cards tend to be a lot more affordable.
Is the Elgato Game Capture Card the Only Option?
We have referenced Elgato’s game capture cards because they are currently the best products on the market. However, they are by no means the only options you can look into. Plenty of other brands create very respectable game capture cards as well, such as TreasLin and AVerMedia. Game capture cards made by Elgato’s competitors tend to be less expensive too, although they are also slightly lower in quality in our opinion.