Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch: The smaller the better?

The existence of Nintendo Switch Lite has finally been confirmed. As the name suggests, this is not a successor to the Nintendo Switch, but instead a cheaper, smaller alternative. So which console should you consider buying? We’re here to help! 

As with any cheaper model, you’ll have to make compromises if you opt for the Nintendo Switch Lite, with the new handheld device unable to be hooked up to your TV. The Lite edition is also rocking a smaller screen, features integrated Joy-Cons and lacks HD rumble. 

On the bright side, the Nintendo Switch Lite hasn’t been forced to make sacrifices on the display and performance side, so the significant price drop looks very tempting along a battery life improvement of 30%. 

Trusted Reviews has rounded up everything you need to know about both the standard Switch and the Lite Switch so you know which is the best gaming device for you. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Design

The most drastic changes between the two devices is, of course, the design. The original Nintendo Switch essentially just looks like a tablet which you can attach Joy-Con controllers onto either side. Every Nintendo Switch console (other than special editions) have a grey bezel and black posterior, with colour being introduced via the Joy-Cons. 

Related: Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite, meanwhile, is available in three different colours: yellow, grey and turquoise. Since the Joy-Cons are integrated into the device, they cannot be removed. This means the entire console has been doused in colour rather than just the sandwiching controllers. 

Nintendo has also swapped out the directional buttons for traditional d-pad. This lends itself better to platformers such as Super Mario and Celeste, as the original Switch’s directional buttons have been accused of being a little flimsy and imprecise. Every other button remains the same though, with the shoulder buttons still present and the right analogue stick once again boasting NFC functionality for amiibo support. 

Nintendo Switch Lite Nintendo Switch
(Joy-Cons attached)
Screen size 5.5 inch 6.2 inch
Dimensions 91.1 x 208 x 13.9 mm 102 x 239 x 13.9 mm
Weight 275g 297g

For the nitty-gritty dimensions, Nintendo Switch Lite is slightly thinner (208mm) and shorter (91.1mm) than the standard model, which measures up to be 239mm wide and 102mm tall. Interestingly, the Lite version is just as thick as the standard with a measurement of 13.9mm, which should mean you’ll be able to use the same Switch accessory cases. 

Unsurprisingly, the smaller Lite version also weighs in less than the regular Switch at 275g opposed to 297g (with Joy-con controllers attached). Saving you 22g of heft is hardly a game changer, but it’s still a welcome modification when you’re holding the device for hours on end. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Screen

The Nintendo Switch Lite has seen the LCD screen shrink down from 6.2 inches to 5.5 inches, making the display size more comparable to a modern smartphone. That’s an inevitable disappointment, but the good news is the display quality hasn’t been affected. 

Related: Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch

Both the Switch and Switch Lite have a resolution of 1280×720, narrowly missing out on Full HD. Bizarrely, the Lite version could actually look slightly superior, since the same number of pixels are packed into a smaller screen to theoretically result in better clarity. 

The Lite also maintains the luxury of a capacitive touch screen, which is essential for titles such as Super Mario Maker 2. You’ll be able to use any Switch-compatible stylus with the Lite device. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Release date

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch worldwide on 20 September 2019, while a Pokemon Sword and Shield special edition of the handheld console will be available from 8 November 2019. 

If you can’t wait to buy a Switch, then you can grab the standard edition right now, which is already available with all sorts of game bundles to save you a few quid. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Specs and features

While the Switch has been squashed down in size for the Lite edition, Nintendo has somehow managed to maintain all the internal specs with no compromise to performance.

The Switch Lite shares the same Nvidia custom Tegra processor as the standard Switch, meaning the handheld Nintendo console should offer the same CPU and GPU performance as its larger sibling. 

There’s also the same amount of internal storage here at 32GB, which is no surprise but still disappointing since that space can quickly be taken up by a handful of game downloads. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes up 13.4GB alone, for example. Fortunately, the Lite still features a microSD card slot, so you can increase the storage space easily. 

The Switch Lite also features all the same connections and ports as the standard Switch. There’s a headphone jack and a USB Type-C connector so it will be compatible with the exact same charger. On the subject of battery life, the original Nintendo Switch’s battery life is listed as 2.5 to 6.5 hours, while the Nintendo Switch Lite will give you 3 to 7.

Sadly, the Switch Lite does miss out on a number of Joy-Con features including HD rumble, IR Motion Camera and Joy-Con motion controllers. External Joy-Con controllers bought separately will work with the Switch Lite though, but you’ll be unable to clip onto the sides of the console. Still, such a purchase would be useful for the likes of Arms, 1-2-Switch and Just Dance that lean heavily on features such as motion control. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Games

The Nintendo Switch Lite will be able to run any future and present Switch game on the market, using the game card slot as the original Switch.

However, as said before, titles that make use of motion control and the IR Motion Camera will require the purchase of external Joy-Cons. 

Related: Best Nintendo Switch Games

Best Nintendo Switch Games

To avoid accidentally buying one of these games, there will be a symbol on the back of every game case to tell you whether it supports handheld mode. Excellent titles such as Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be playable on the Nintendo Switch Lite, so missing out on such technology isn’t a major issue. 

Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch – Price

Nintendo has confirmed the official price for the Nintendo Switch Lite is $199. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but Amazon listing for the games console suggests it will cost £199.99.

For comparison, the standard Nintendo Switch costs £280 in the UK and $299 over in America. Whether the £80 price cut is worth sacrificing features such as being able to hook it up to a TV is hard to say, but at least it’s at a more appealing price point for parents ahead of Christmas. 

Verdict

We can’t really dish out a final verdict on this contest, as we’re yet to test the Nintendo Switch Lite. Judging from the specs and features though, we think the original Switch represents better value. That said, the Lite edition is still a good option if you’ve absolutely no interest in playing on a big screen. 

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