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Nintendo Switch Lite: Who Should Get It?

If you’re looking for a pure portable device you should consider the Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch launched to rave reviews last year and this year they’ve teased two additional consoles, the Switch Lite and the Switch Pro. The Nintendo Switch Lite released last Friday on September 20th and as the name suggests is a lighter version of the Switch. We’ll go into the main differences later on in the article but just note that while it is physically smaller, there are some trade-offs on functionality.

So why did they manufacture this Lite console? Well, if you ask anyone what was the best Nintendo handheld, the answer you’re going to get is the Nintendo DS Lite. A small, sturdy, pocket-sized revision of the chunky DS. The Nintendo Switch Lite is hoping to play upon that market with their backpack-ready version of the popular Switch console. The lighter price point also helps.


The Major Differences

Image Credit: CNet

Let’s get into the pricing first – the Nintendo Switch Lite comes up to USD$199.99 a hundred dollars cheaper than the full Nintendo Switch version. It’s going for about RM1,000 here in Malaysia, which isn’t that big a difference of RM1,200 of the original Switch model.

The major difference between the Nintendo Switch Lite and the original Switch is that the Lite will be unable to be plugged into the TV. If you use the Switch mostly for big groups or you simply like the flexibility of docking versus handheld, then the Lite is not for you.

Next up is battery life. The Nintendo Switch Lite has essentially the same performance as the Switch, except that the Lite has a slightly longer battery life of 3-7 hours, about 30 minutes more than the original Switch, and 1-2 hours less than the upgraded Switch model entering stores (although Nintendo warns that this depends on the games you play).


Dimensions Of The Switch vs The Lite

Image Credit: IGN

The Switch Lite measures 91.1mm x 208mm x 13.9mm and weighs 275g, compared to the 102mm x 239mm x 13.9mm dimensions and 297g weight of the original Switch. This means the device comes with a smaller LCD touch screen too, measuring just 5.5 inches but still providing 1280 x 720 pixels.

In other words, it’s a smaller screen than the original Switch’s 6.2 inches, but with the same resolution – so you’re not losing anything in terms of picture quality. In fact, this gives the Switch Lite a pixel density of 267 pixels per inch (ppi), a bit sharper than the original Switch‘s 236 ppi. However, the trade-off is that it can sometimes be difficult to read small in-game writing on the smaller screen.

But where the Switch Lite truly shines is that it feels more comfortable as a handheld device. Due to its smaller size, it’s more portable and convenient to use on-the-go than the original Switch: you need less elbow room, and it could probably fit in quite a large pocket.


Handheld Games Only

Image Credit: Polygon

The Switch Lite does not come with HD Rumble or an IR Motion Camera. The device is made to solely play handheld games, and will therefore only play Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode. Despite missing these two features, the Switch Lite still has an accelerometer, gyroscope, and brightness sensor. That means that you can still use gyro controls in games like Breath of the Wild – tilting the console to aim the bow for instance – and the screen’s brightness adjusts depending on your surrounding. You will still have wireless connectivity, Bluetooth and the use of a MicroSD card.

Additionally, while you can still connect separate Joy-Cons wirelessly, the Switch Lite will be coming with its own integrated controls. Although I can’t imagine playing with a full Super Smash team on the Switch Lite. The size of the Lite‘s screen doesn’t make party games exactly practical. Make use of the Lite‘s wireless connection to play online instead.


Who Should Get It?

If you already own a Switch and love it, the Lite isn’t a necessary upgrade. The improvements are welcome, but not drastic enough to warrant getting a whole new device.

If you’re thinking about getting one and don’t game with a TV then consider getting the Nintendo Switch Lite. The compact and lighter device feels considerably better than its predecessor and is much less clunky. When it comes to portable gaming, the Switch Lite is easier to transport, takes up less elbow space on commutes and fits in your hands much more snugly. It’s not quite as comfortable as the 3DS, but packing in the same performance as the Switch means we can let that slide.

However, anyone thinking about picking up the Switch Lite needs to focus on the fact that it is intended to focus on solo, portable play and the number of games which are compatible with the device is slightly less than the original Switch. It is not simply a smaller Switch model.