Back in 2017 while the console wars between Play Station 4 and Xbox One fans raged on, Nintendo released the Switch. It was a different take on the console experience as it offered gameplay on a TV and on the go. Nintendo has shrunk the experience down a bit more with the new Nintendo Switch Lite.
Instead of looking at the Switch Lite in an “It’s a stripped-down version with fewer features” light, the focus will be on what it represents; a cheaper, handheld, gaming experience. And yes, Nintendo does make the 3DS/2DS line, but that’s another gaming category. The Switch Lite offers Nintendo’s console-quality games… but only if they’re available in handheld mode.
Let’s get the negatives out the way. Because the Switch Lite is a smaller, handheld console experience, it inevitably lacks some of the features of its bigger sibling.
There’s no support for TV output. The larger Switch came with a dock so it could be hooked up to a TV for a big-screen experience. The Lite was created with greater portability in mind and lacks the hardware to expand the games to a bigger screen.
That also means there’s no kickstand for “Table Top Mode”, included Joy-Con controllers or HD Rumble. That’s pretty much it for the negatives.
Now to the good stuff. The Lite has a 5.5-inch, 720p, touch screen, down from the 6.2-inches on the larger model. That may seem like a bad thing, however, both consoles have the same resolution, so games may appear sharper on the smaller display.
There’s an actual D-Pad on the left side of the Switch Lite. Dissimilar to the four, directional circles that adorned the larger Switch. This will improve gameplay as sliding your thumb over a four-way directional control feels natural compared to separated buttons.
The smaller form factor makes the device more pocketable. Though the original Switch could be used handheld, it only felt compact compared to the much larger Sony and Microsoft devices that it competes with. The Switch Lite brings that experience down to a device you “might” choose to put in your pocket, and makes the larger Switch feel big and chunky.
The device supports all Nintendo Switch games… that support handheld mode. You’ll have to look for a handheld compatibility icon when buying games.
The original Nintendo Switch was a gamechanger device. It offered multiple ways to play. The Switch Lite offers a more focussed design, dedicated solely to quality handheld gaming. It’s not a step-down, it’s a more compact way to play.
The Switch Lite costs US$200 and is available right now.
— Written by Renor C.