Help Me, Laptop: Can I Connect Nintendo Switch to My Laptop?

You typically can't upgrade from 720p to 1080p resolution on the Nintendo Switch without having anything to plug the dock into, but there might be a way around that. This week on the Tom's Guide forums, one user asked if it's possible to run their Nintendo Switch on their laptop without a capture card—a device to record footage from a video source onto a computer.

I have a nintendo switch and an alienware r3 15. It has usb 3.0, usb 2.0 and hdmi OUT. I want to play my switch on my laptop monitor. Is there any way to do this without buying a capture card? I don't know my cords that well. Can I directly use a hdmi (switch dock) to usb 3.0 (laptop) cord to make it work or do you need a capture card to do that?

The forum user, 0tter, asked if their Nintendo Switch can run on an Alienware 15 R3 with an HDMI-out 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port and a Thunderbolt 3 port.

The short answer is no. You cannot feed the Nintendo Switch's HDMI cable to your laptop because it has only an HDMI-out port. It's possible to do it without a capture card via an HDMI-in port, but that's harder to find, and more expensive, than you might think. The only reason a laptop would have an HDMI-in port is if it had a capture card already built inside. You'd have to use the same app that a capture card would use, and since you wouldn’t be using an external capture, it’s just cutting out the middleman.

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If you're traveling, the simplest solution is to purchase a capture card such as the Elgato Game Capture HD. If not, you might as well buy a 1080p monitor, since it costs less than a capture card.

How to set up a capture card for your laptop

If you can afford a decent capture card with USB 3.0 Type-C support, check out the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S. It costs $160 and lets you play your Nintendo Switch on your laptop without experiencing any lag whatsoever. The HDMI cable runs from the Switch's dock to the Elgato, and the USB 3.0 connector runs from there to your laptop. Simply download the Game Capture HD program from Elgato's website, and you're in. It's perfect for anyone who is traveling and can't lug around a monitor everywhere they go.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.