Nintendo has finally announced the heavily rumored, handheld version of its latest console, the Nintendo Switch Lite. If you’re trying to decide if this the right fit for you, you’re in the right place. We’ve got all the pros and cons of tried and true Switch compared to its just announced version, the Switch Lite.
Essentially, it’s a bare bones version of its older sibling, designed to be portable and cost-effective. Although that means many of the Switch’s defining characteristics didn’t make the cut, the Lite has more than a few things going for it, especially if you’re into pretty colors and don’t need the pricier aspects of the Switch.
In the interest of cutting down the $300 price tag of the standard version, the Switch Lite will not be able to connect to a TV. As Nintendo advertises, this is a system meant exclusively for handheld play. There are a few games that are only playable in TV mode, so the Lite’s library will be just a hair smaller. That in mind though, the Lite also doesn’t come packaged with a dock or HMDI cord, since players won’t be needing either to enjoy full functionality.
The Switch Lite also does not include Joy-Cons – the buttons on either side of the screen are physically attached, making it one piece of hardware rather than three. That being said, players can connect Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller to the Switch Lite if they want to play in table-top mode or with a pal. But that opens a small set of hurdles.
Since the Switch Lite’s controls are connected to the system, there’s no way to charge Joy-Cons without hooking them up to a charging dock (sold separately) or the standard version of the Switch. The Lite also does not have a kickstand, so playing in table-top mode means either buying a stand or propping the system up against a nearby pile of books.
The Lite also lacks the Switch’s HD rumble and IR motion camera capabilities.
This may seem like a big loss, but there are some notable strengths to this new challenger, too. Keeping a younger audience, the Lite’s choice to not include parts like detachable controllers or a kickstand means less moving parts – and less to break or lose. The Nintendo Switch Lite is also $100 cheaper, coasting at a $200 price tag.
Being an exclusively handheld device, the Switch Lite is smaller and lighter, but still manages to beat the Switch’s expected battery life by about an hour.
You’ll notice that the feature fans have been clambering for on the Switch is also standard on the handheld. The Switch Lite comes with a d-pad rather than four circle buttons, making those tricky platformers that much easier to navigate.
There’s also a bit more customization with this new system. The Switch Lite is available in yellow, grey, blue and Pokémon variants. Lining up with the release of its upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield, Nintendo has announced a themed version of the Lite featuring Zacian and Zamazenta, the games’ title Pokémon.
The Nintendo Switch Lite hits retailers on September 20, while the special Zacian and Zamazenta version arrives on November 8, both for $199.99.