Nintendo announced that the Switch would be getting a new, smaller companion this fall: the Nintendo Switch Lite. While the modified version of the popular system is trendy and portable, there are a few features that make this console a little less exciting than its predecessor. We're here to look at the good and the bad, the upgrades and the steps back.
The Nintendo Switch Lite will be available September 20. Read on to determine for yourself whether the new system is a level-up or a game over.
10 Love: Designed For Handheld Play
The Nintendo Switch Lite is perfect for players on the go. While the original Switch had a handheld play mode, it’s design was a little clunky due to the Joy-Cons sticking out on the sides. Now, this problem is no more.
With all the controls built into the system, the new Switch Lite is sturdier, thinner, and more compact than ever, making it the ideal travel-sized system. It is also around a quarter-pound lighter (.61lbs compared to .88lbs), meaning while it weighs more than the original Nintendo 3DS, it weighs less than the Nintendo 3DS XL.
9 Worried: Won’t Connect To TV
The Switch Lite’s handheld play focus comes with a major downside: you won’t be able to connect it to the TV. While this is fine for players who don’t feel like planting themselves in front of a giant screen, it does mean they'll have to enjoy games on a much smaller screen.
Switch titles will still be playable in all their beautiful graphic glory, but the screen you can play them on is actually smaller than the handheld screen on the original Nintendo Switch. While the Switch provides players with a 6.2” touch screen, the Switch Lite’s screen is only 5.5”.
8 Love: New Colors
While the Joy-Cons for the original Nintendo Switch came in all sorts of colors, the console itself had limited options. The Nintendo Switch Lite, on the other hand, can be bought in three all-new hues.
Upon release in September, the Switch Lite will be available in yellow, grey, and turquoise. If you’re able to hold off a few weeks until Nov. 8, you’ll also have the option of buying a special edition Pokémon Sword and Shield Zacian and Zamazenta Switch Lite. This console has a design on the back and features a light grey base with blue and magenta controls.
7 Worried: Limited Game Compatibility
Being that the Switch Lite can’t be played on your TV, you’re going to face another problem that has nothing to do with the visuals and everything to do with the games you can actually play. Not every Nintendo Switch game is designed for handheld play.
This means that some Switch titles are going to be exclusive to the original system. Don’t stress too much: there are over 2,000 games that will be compatible with the new system, and there is a symbol on the back of games letting players know if it is designed for handheld play. That being said, it poses a unique problem that Switch Lite owners will have to take into consideration.
6 Love: More Affordable Price
The Nintendo Switch retails for $300. Its new smaller companion costs only $200. Of course, this doesn’t change the price of the games, and they do add up, but those new to the Switch won’t have to dish out as much upfront.
Additionally, because the Switch Lite is designed for a single person, players probably won’t be spending as much on additional controllers either. Joy-Cons can cost up to $70, so just imagine how much you can save by not stocking up on them.
5 Worried: No Rumble Or IR Motion Camera
There are certain games such as Mario Kart, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that just feel right when paired with the Joy-Cons rumble feature. Unfortunately for Switch Lite users, this excitement won’t be a reality.
The stripped-down Switch doesn’t contain a rumble feature. While you can pair it with a controller that has rumble capabilities built-in, this doesn’t seem very practical for such a small screen. The Switch Lite is also lacking the IR Motion Camera, which means certain features (like Nintendo Labo) will not be compatible with it.
4 Love: Multiplayer Capabilities
Although the Nintendo Switch Lite is a single-person device, it was not designed to be played alone. The Switch Lite features local wireless play and can be linked into a group of up to eight consoles. Yes, any of these devices can be the original Nintendo Switch.
The Switch Lite also features the same online play capabilities of the original Nintendo Switch with the purchase of a membership, meaning as long as your friends have a Switch, you’ll be able to play with them.
3 Worried: No Tabletop Mode
Tabletop mode was definitely not a highlight of the Nintendo Switch, but it was still nice to know it was an option. Tabletop mode allowed Switch users to play with friends using the console’s screen in place of a TV. But being that the new system lacks Joy-Cons and that flimsy kickstand behind it, this won’t be possible.
Tabletop mode, Joy-Cons, and couch co-op were all part of what made the Switch the Switch. When you take that all away and just leave the software, is the original system's charm still there?
2 Love: Longer Battery Life
The Nintendo Switch Lite’s battery life has a slight edge on its predecessor. While the original Switch could be played uninterrupted for between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, the new console can be played for between 3 and 7. The exact amount of time the system lasts depends on the game.
Nintendo gave The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as an example. Playing handheld on the Switch, it would last for 3 hours. On the Switch Lite, it would last for 4. The is due to the more power-efficient chip layout and the lack of batteries in the built-in controller.
1 Worried: It’s An Overall Downgrade
While the Nintendo Switch Lite might be a great system for players who don’t already own a Switch, there is no reason for current Switch owners to rush out and buy one. Sure, they’re definitely cool. And yes, if you’re a serious system collector, it might be worth it. But the majority of the casual gaming audience Nintendo has developed won’t benefit from buying the new system.
It’s called the Switch Lite for a reason: it has fewer features. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it might be more convenient for non-hardcore players. That being said, the Switch Lite seems like it was designed to introduce new players to the system rather than enhance the gaming experience for current Switch owners.