Officially unveiled last October 2016 and released less than five months later, the Nintendo Switch is a home console that also functions as a handheld console. The console itself is like a thinner and more tablet-like Wii U gamepad, which can be inserted into a dock that connects to a TV at home. It has two detachable controllers, called the Joy-Cons, which can be used separately for multiplayer. Once you grasp its functionality, the Switch is an overall great gaming system for those who like to play games both at home and on-the-go.
However, for gamers who mainly use a gaming headset instead of speakers or a loud home theater system, the Switch has one teeny, tiny problem: it doesn’t support Bluetooth-powered wireless headsets, whether it’s docked or in handheld mode.
You can still use a wired headset when the Switch is docked. But the cable will be prone to accidental yanking, which could result in:
A) The Switch nose-diving toward your floor (This actually happened to the owner of this site).
B) Your headset getting yanked off your head and violently dropping to the floor.
C) Both the Switch and your headset go crashing to the floor.
So, does this mean you’ll be forced to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with your face uncomfortably close to your large-screen TV when the Switch is docked? Fortunately there are some solutions on how to use a Bluetooth wireless headset with Nintendo Switch.
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How do I use a Bluetooth wireless headset with Nintendo Switch?
If you were lucky enough to buy a Nintendo Switch before they were sold out, you’re probably on this page because you’ve realized the Switch has a headset compatibility problem. Thankfully, there’s a workaround to not being able to use a Bluetooth headset with Nintendo Switch. And just like investing in Nintendo Switch accessories to better your overall gaming experience, the solutions will require you to cough up additional money.
Okay. My wallet’s open. What’s the workaround?
The first solution to using a Bluetooth wireless headset with Nintendo Switch is to buy a third-party Bluetooth transmitter. You can easily buy one on Amazon for less than 50 bucks. If you’re skeptical about Amazon and other online stores, you can also go to the nearest electronics store in your area to see if they have one. A Bluetooth transmitter is a small device that’s about the size of a common lighter. It allows you to hook up two devices using a small network.
Once you have your Bluetooth transmitter, it’s pretty much a plug-and-play setup. Just pop the Bluetooth transmitter into the Nintendo Switch via the latter’s 3.5mm jack (it’s at the top of the console), turn on both devices, and then sync your wireless headset. That’s it. You’re good to go.
The problem with this setup is that the Bluetooth transmitter will be dangling at the top of the Switch, which looks comically out of place. So how can you make things neater? Well, the totally not recommended thing to do is to use adhesive tapes or super glue on the Bluetooth transmitter to make it stick to the Switch. That’ll make things uglier to look at. The least messy option is to use Velcro.
Just put one-half on the Bluetooth transmitter and the other half in the area near the Switch’s 3.5mm jack. With this setup, the Bluetooth transmitter also won’t get in the way of your hands when you’re gaming on-the-go.
However, you have to remove it when the Switch is docked. The console won’t fit into its dock if it has a bulky thingy attached to its back like a leech. That’s the only time that you have to bring the Bluetooth transmitter back to its dangling status. Don’t worry; with the Switch docked and firmly in place, there’s practically no chance of the Bluetooth transmitter falling off due to movement.
If you think this idea is questionable, Reddit user paradeigmas has shown that it actually works. They’re the one who came up with the idea – including the Velcro part. You can check out their work on this Reddit post. Also, don’t spend too much time thinking that you could have used the Bluetooth transmitter money on a new game instead. Other must-buy triple-A Switch games have yet to arrive. Besides, you’ve probably still not finished with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, arguably the best Zelda game of all time.
Hmm… I’ll think about it. What’s the other solution?
The second is way pricier than the first: Buy a new wireless headset that comes with an individual Bluetooth transmitter. There’s not many of them around, though. The best one available in the market is the SteelSeries Siberia 840. It’s an excellent piece of hardware that’s great for gaming, watching movies, and listening to music. It comes with a transmitter that can be plugged into the Switch’s 3.5mm jack, allowing the headset to sync with the console.
The drawback? You can buy another Switch unit with the Siberia 840’s price tag. It’s that expensive. But if you’re also looking for a long-term headset that you can use for all your media needs, then the headset is a great investment. It’s a two-for-one deal, so to speak.
The second solution is expensive. Is there a third, possibly cheaper solution?
If the Siberia 840 is too pricey for your wallet, you can go with the SteelSeries Arctis 7 instead, which comes at half the price of the Siberia 840. Like its pricier big brother, the Arctis 7 has its own transmitter that can work with the Switch. But you will need to separately buy a male-to-male 3-pole 3.5mm cable for the connection. The Arctis 7 comes with a 4-pole variant by default. This headset is also a pretty good long-term investment if you’re also in the market for high-quality headsets.
That’s STILL too expensive for me. Please tell me there’s a fourth solution.
The fourth is to—Okay, we don’t have anything else. Those three are your only options until Nintendo decides to allow the Switch to connect to Bluetooth wireless headsets. If you really want to use a headset while gaming on a docked Switch, your best bet is to use a wired headset with an extremely long cable.
Unlike headsets that come with Bluetooth transmitters, there are a lot of cheap wireless headsets with long cables available in the market. Some of them can be had for less than $50. However, if you already have a headset but it’s lacking in cable length, you can simply buy a longer one. Just make sure the cable is neatly arranged on the floor to avoid having someone trip over them.
What’s the deal with the Switch, though? Doesn’t it come with Bluetooth tech?
Yes, the Nintendo Switch also uses Bluetooth technology. But it’s only used for the Joy-Con controllers and the optional Pro Controller. If you go to the Switch settings and try to connect your wireless headset, you won’t find any related option.
Your only options are switching the audio between mono and stereo, and changing the source to either the Switch internal speakers or the TV speakers. Nintendo has yet to enlighten us for this rather peculiar decision to give wireless headsets the cold shoulder.
Speaking of the Switch Pro Controller, can I connect a wired headset to its 3.5mm jack?
No. Simply because the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – an optional controller for those who find the Joy-Con controllers too tiny – doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack like the Xbox One and PS4 controllers. This really puts a limit on the Switch’s audio options. The Joy-Con controllers also don’t come with 3.5mm jacks, although connecting a headset to them would have been awkward to look at due to their sizes. The Wii U gamepad has a 3.5mm jack, so it’s really eyebrow-raising that Nintendo opted to not include one on the Pro Controller.
Does Nintendo have plans to support Bluetooth wireless headsets?
We don’t know yet. Nintendo could fix the problem via a software update or something in the future. Hopefully, they don’t suddenly roll out a line of Nintendo-branded wireless headsets that come with exclusive rights to pair with the Switch. That would have been downright evil, especially for Nintendo.
The Switch is just a little over a month old, so Nintendo is probably still too busy with other issues – like replenishing their Switch stocks worldwide – to attend to this connectivity problem with wireless headsets. Let’s wait until the Switch is around six months old before we bring out the torches and pitchforks.
Did Nintendo blindside us with this?
No. Before the Switch was released, Nintendo said in an interview that Bluetooth wireless headsets won’t be compatible with the console. Polygon also showed proof of this in a report the day before the Switch launched worldwide. But of course, it’s entirely possible to miss out on those reports, especially those who were hypnotized by Breath of the Wild to immediately buy the console without a second thought.
Also: Since the PS4 and Xbox One both support wireless headsets, you can’t really blame those who assumed the Switch also comes with the same connectivity freedom. After all, those two consoles are the Switch’s chief rivals, even though Nintendo isn’t really looking to compete with them.
But is the Switch’s inability to hook up with wireless headsets really a big deal?
For PC gamers, choosing between a wired or a wireless headset is just a matter of preference. Console gamers, on the other hand, usually sit on a couch a few feet away from the TV, which means wireless headsets are the better option when gaming on PS4, Xbox One, and on a docked Switch. Wireless headsets offer zero chances of cables getting accidentally yanked or tripped on by someone.
Yes, using a wired headset while the Switch is on handheld mode lessens the chances of cable-related mishaps. But we all know how messy those cables can be. Just take your eyes off them for five minutes and they become a puzzle. Wireless is definitely well-suited for console gaming.
Okay, I chose to use a wired headset…but yanked the Switch off its dock 10 minutes into Breath of the Wild. Am I screwed?
Don’t worry; it’s not the end of the world. The Switch is surprisingly durable, despite looking like a tablet that can be easily broken in half. Some people even tried to carve holes on it using a powerful waterjet, and it more than held its own for a while before finally shutting down for good.
Others deliberately threw the Switch around like a hot potato, amazingly surviving despite all its bruises. So, yeah, it can take some punishment. But that doesn’t mean you should throw caution out the window. One ill-fated fall could easily mean the death of your Switch despite surviving its previous 100 crashes to the floor.
What if I don’t use gaming headsets? Am I missing out on something?
Depends on how you like your audio while gaming. For those who enjoy listening to the game soundtrack, especially one as beautiful as Breath of the Wild’s, using a headset is the better choice. Headsets allow you to fully experience the sound, courtesy of noise canceling (active or passive). Though that’s assuming you pick a headset capable of delivering high-quality sound.
If shopping for headsets is foreign to you, we can help you in picking the best cheap headset available in the market. Those who only care about the gameplay and visuals can just stick to using earphones or portable speakers for audio. There’s no harm in that.
It’s baffling that Nintendo gave us limited audio options when using the Switch, docked or in handheld mode. With the popularity of Bluetooth wireless headsets rising over the last few years, you would have thought the Switch supported them by default. And what’s up with that Pro Controller not having a 3.5mm jack? Maybe the designers at Nintendo HQ tried a bit too hard in separating the Switch from PS4 and Xbox One controllers.
As mentioned, wireless headsets are an excellent fit for console gaming. The lack of cables means gamers won’t have to deal with cables that get tangled every 15 minutes or so. Hopefully, Nintendo will realize this soon, so people won’t have to spend any additional money on Bluetooth transmitters and/or wireless headsets that come with their own transmitters.
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