SXOS by Team Xecuter and Atmosphere are the two biggest custom firmwares for the Nintendo Switch. I’m going to be comparing them to the two biggest mobile operating systems, iOS and Android.
SXOS is like iOS. It just works. It’s simple. You put 2 files on the SD card, and you’re done. You can play install homebrew, play your backups, mount virtual game carts, and it’s even got a built in FTP server, cheat engine, incognito mode, and online play. If you buy the pro kit, it comes with a jig and a dongle that you just plug in to boot the CFW. But, you can run into trouble if you want to dig deeper into what CFW is capable of.
There are some features it should have that it doesn’t. Sysmodules is one example. It’s usually slower to get new features, like reboot to CFW and newer firmware version support. Being proprietary, it uses some of the open source code available (like the ftp, online gaming, and cheat engine) but you can’t update those modules when a new version comes out, you’ve got to wait for a whole new SXOS.
Atmosphere on the other hand is more like Android. It’s open source. There’s more freedom. If you don’t want a cheat engine, don’t install one. If you do want one, then you can update it as soon as a new release is out, you don’t have to wait for a new version of Atmosphere to be released with it. You can add extra sysmodules as well. Overclocking, blue light reduction, even on-screen overlays are all possible. And if there’s something it won’t do that you want it to, just fork the repo and build your own branch. The possibilities are endless.
But, like Android, there’s some fragmentation. Do you use vanilla Atmosphere, or another Atmosphere based CFW such as Kosmos or Reinix? When you first boot up you can’t do anything but run homebrew. If you choose to use EmuNAND, you can’t even play your Eshop downloaded games without some extra work or redownloading them.
In short, if you want something that just works, has some great extra features baked in, and you’re ok with waiting a little longer for updates and new features, SXOS is a great choice. I’ve used it for a year and a half and it has been great, and easy. But if you want to be on the cutting edge, have access to all the latest features and updates, and don’t mind a little extra work to get it just right, Atmosphere is a great choice. I’m starting to dig into it for this channel, and I’m really excited for the possibilities. Once I finish the next few SXOS tutorials I’ve already got several Atmosphere ones lined up and planed out, so stay tuned!