For the last month, we’ve been hearing rumors about the Nintendo Switch Lite, and now Nintendo has made it official! Releasing September 20th and costing $199 – a full hundred dollars less than the current price of the original Switch – the Switch Lite is the handheld-only gaming system fans have been clamoring for since the release of the Switch!
Here is the press release from Nintendo:
Nintendo introduced Nintendo Switch Lite, a device designed specifically to play Nintendo Switch games in handheld mode. The Nintendo Switch Lite system launches Sept. 20 at a suggested retail price of $199.99 and will be available in three different colors: yellow, gray and turquoise. A carrying case and screen protector set for Nintendo Switch Lite will also be available.
“Adding Nintendo Switch Lite to the lineup gives gamers more color and price point options,” said Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. “Now consumers can choose the system that best suits how they like to play their favorite Nintendo Switch games.”
The flagship Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and offers three different play modes: playing in TV mode by placing the system into a Nintendo Switch dock, playing cooperatively or competitively in tabletop mode by sharing Joy-Con controllers and playing in handheld mode. The system comes with either Gray Joy-Con controllers or Neon Red and Neon Blue Joy-Con controllers.
Nintendo Switch Lite has integrated controls and is smaller than the flagship version of Nintendo Switch. It has no kickstand and, as a dedicated handheld gaming device, does not support video output to a TV. Therefore, it does not come with a dock or HDMI cable. For a full list of the differences between Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/compare.
The new device can play all games in the robust Nintendo Switch library that support handheld mode*, although some games will have restrictions. Compatible game modes will be listed on the back of game packaging and in Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite owners can get together to enjoy compatible multiplayer titles like Super Mario Maker 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate together via Nintendo Switch Online** or local wireless multiplayer***.
As someone who only recently started playing games on the Switch, I am quite excited – the ability of the system to ‘switch’ between handheld and console is better than I expected and I can certainly understand the incredible popularity of the device. Yet, to be honest, I have spent 99%+ of my time on the Switch using it as a handheld gaming system – and in that mode, it is by far the best handheld game system I have ever owned, and I’ve had pretty much everything since the GameBoy came along thirty years ago!
Two of the initial questions I had were “will my games all work?” and “how does this compare with my current Switch?” and fortunately Nintendo has provided a comprehensive look at the two systems so we can check out what is similar and what is different. In terms of game compatibility, the Switch Lite will play all games with a handheld mode, which only excludes games that require detached Joy-Cons. However, it has been confirmed that you can pair a set of Joy-Cons to the Switch Lite and still play those games as well!
Looking at the side-by-side images a couple of things seemed clear: the Switch Lite has a D-pad on the left controller, something not possible for the original Switch due to the independent-controller design. Also, the system looks smaller, with thinner bezels around a slightly smaller screen.
All of that is true as shown below, but what is also true is that for people who mostly use the Switch as a handheld thing will actually improve! You get the smaller and lighter all-in-one chassis which is reported to feel sturdy but maintains the same excellent visuals. The battery life is a bit longer – again great in a smaller package. You lose the ability to output video over USB-C, but that is why the original Switch will continue to exist!
|Switch Lite||Switch (2017)|
|Dimensions||3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches (91.1 x 208 x 13.9 mm)||4 x 9.4 x 0.55 inches (102 x 239 x 13.9 mm)|
|Weight||0.61 pounds (398 g)||0.88 pounds (297 g)|
|Display size||5.5 inches||6.2 inches|
|Output resolution||1,280 x 720||1,280 x 720 (handheld)
1,080 x 1,920 (docked)
|SoC||Tegra X1||Tegra X1|
|CPU||Quad-core Cortex-A57 + quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.02 GHz||Quad-core Cortex-A57 + quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.02 GHz|
|RAM||4 GB||4 GB|
|Internal storage||32 GB||32 GB|
|Games||Titles with handheld mode only||All titles|
|Wired network||None||LAN adapter available separately|
|Video output||None||Dock uses HDMI to connect to TV|
|Battery life (max)||7 hours||6.5 hours|
|Controllers||Non-detachable controls with cross d-pad||Joy-Cons with button d-pad, infrared sensors and rumble|
Are you excited? Plan to get one? Share your thoughts in the comments!