The Nintendo Switch Lite ($200) is a smaller, lighter, cheaper and handheld-only version of the original Nintendo Switch. It costs $200, which is $100 less than the Switch, and it’s available right now.
If you already have a Nintendo Switch, then the arrival of the Nintendo Switch Lite probably won’t make you feel too jealous. The two consoles play (mostly) the same games, have the same graphics and resolution (720p), and are compatible with each other — if you have a Nintendo Switch and your friend has a Nintendo Switch Lite, you can sync the two consoles and compete with or against each other. Neither of the two consoles supports Bluetooth audio, so you still won’t be able to use wireless headphones with the Switch Lite (unless you buy a Bluetooth receiver).
If you buy the Nintendo Switch Lite, there are some definite tradeoffs. The new console can’t connect to your TV, so you won’t be able to play games on a bigger screen. Because the Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller than the original console (5.5-inch display vs the 6.2-inch of the Switch), it also won’t work with or charge in the TV dock — in case your friend has one.
The other big difference is that the Joy-Con controllers are built right into the Nintendo Switch Lite. This means that there’s really no way of playing multiplayer games with a friend if the two of you don’t have a Switch or Switch Lite; with the detachable controllers of the original Switch, you could just hand a controller to a friend and play on the same console.
Since the controllers are built into the Nintendo Switch Lite, this creates an issue for some games. For example, Pokémon Let’s Go and even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild rely on the motion sensors in the detachable controllers to perform various maneuvers, like throwing a Pokéball or a boomerang. This means that some games will be slightly different experiences on the Switch Lite and the Switch. Also, for this reason, there will be some future Switch games that rely on using the detachable Joy-Con controllers that won’t be playable on the Switch Lite.
Also, because the Switch Lite doesn’t have detachable controllers, there’s no need for it to have a kickstand — so it doesn’t.
The two consoles are very similar and for anybody that doesn’t plan on hooking up their Nintendo Switch to their home’s TV, meaning they’re using it strictly as a handheld device, then the Nintendo Switch Lite is undeniably a more affordable and arguably better option.
However, there’s a different way of looking at it — the arrival of the Switch Lite could actually make a stronger case for you to buy the original Switch. For just an extra $100, you get a console with a bigger screen, that’s easier to play with friends, that has the ability to play every Nintendo Switch game (now and future) and you can play it on your big-screen TV. That seems like a pretty compelling argument to me.
Early Reviews of the Nintendo Switch Lite
• “I thought I would hate the new handheld console. I was wrong.” – Cameron Sherrill, Esquire
• “As I began, it’s one of the finest handheld gaming devices I’ve ever used. It’s larger, and feels more mainstream, than the quirky 3DS. It’s more rugged and earthy than Sony’s precious-looking Vita. It’s the sort of gaming hardware I wouldn’t feel bad just tossing in a bag unprotected. It’s console gaming in the palm of your hand, and you can pull it out during a rooftop party without feeling obligated to share.” – Mike Fahey, Kotaku
• “The Switch Lite offers a different take on a console I love. It’s beautifully put together in a way that makes the original seem downright clunky and is $100 cheaper to boot, but at the same time it’s missing an assortment of useful features and there are a handful of games it can’t effectively play. But if size and price are more important to you than flexibility and a bigger screen (or if you’re just trying to replace your 3DS) then the Lite is a wonderful way to get your hands on an awesome system.” – Tom Marks, IGN
The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in several colors that are different from the original Switch, including yellow, grey, and turquoise.
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