It finally happened, Nintendo has officially unveiled the Nintendo Switch Lite. Now, usually, when Nintendo has used the moniker of lite, they’re referring to a smaller, trimmed down version of the system. An excellent example of this would be the DS. But, in the case of the Switch, it’s more of a side version, it’s something that’s an alternative option. But there are still reasons to own a regular Switch instead if you prefer.
Main Differences between Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch
So, what makes the Nintendo Switch Lite different? Well, the first, big, obvious thing is the fact that, as we thought before, it is one, self-contained unit that is overall smaller than the size of a regular Nintendo Switch. It doesn’t have removable Joy-Cons, it doesn’t have any parts that come off, it is a solid unit that’s put together simultaneously. Based on the images and trailers that Nintendo has put out, a lot of the buttons, ports, and sensors are in the same place that they were on the regular Switch.
Other notable changes
The significant changes notable is that the buttons on the left side of the controls are now an actual D-pad. The D-pad was something that a lot of people have wanted. I’m delighted they made that change for the specific model. Nintendo has removed kickstand on the back of the Switch since tabletop mode doesn’t make sense for this. Honestly, that’s just the right call, because the regular kickstand is awful anyways. Since this is a smaller system, the screen size is also lesser. The regular Switch has a 6.2-inch screen. The Switch Lite is going to have a 5.5-inch, which is notably smaller, but still large enough for most games to again look pretty clear and pleasant. Now, those are just the apparent changes you can see by looking at the system, but there are a lot of internal changes, as well.
Joy-Cons on Switch Lite
So, because the Joy-Cons are now a part of the system, a couple of features have been removed. You don’t have the IR sensor anymore, which is a loss. The more significant thing for me, though, is there is no HD rumble in these. Which, honestly, I think changes a lot of the experience for some games. I think a lot of the games really rely on HD rumble even in handheld mode, and so, not having it at all, I’m a little sad to see it go. I get it, but I wish it were still there. It’s worth noting that one feature that is still intact in the Joy-Cons, however, is there still an NFC reader. So, if you like using Amiibo for specific games, you’re not going to lose that functionality.
Nintendo Switch Lite’s less powerful hardware and no Dock Mode
Ever since people have theorized about some new Switch revision, one of the big questions was, “Is it going to support dock mode?” And, the answer we now officially have is no, it will not. The Switch Lite is purely a handheld system. It is designed to play games in handheld mode, nothing more. You cannot connect it to a TV; it does come with a dock. There is no support for that whatsoever. So, the main goal here is to make a purely portable-focused system.
Look, the main goal of the Switch Lite is to make it a cheaper, more affordable Switch that’s aiming mainly at kids, and part of the way Nintendo can achieve that is that making the system more economical to produce. So, one of the easiest ways to do this is to make it a weaker system.
Thus, compared to a regular Switch, the Switch Mini is going to have less-powerful tech inside of it that allows achieving the same kind of performance it has in handheld mode, which usually is a handicapped setting on the regular Switch, but it won’t be capable of the same level of power that allowed for the dock mode, which gave us things like 1080p resolution, faster frame rates for some games, so on and so forth. I know, there are a lot of people that wanted a more powerful version sooner, which is something that Nintendo is still hinting at. A Switch Pro is something in the farther future, but really, a Switch Lite makes a lot of sense. The Switch has been selling exceptionally well.
Is Nintendo Switch Lite for kids?
One additional market that Nintendo can try to get that extra boost in sales in is kids. There are a lot of parents out there that don’t necessarily dish out $300 for one system. If they have multiple kids, there is the issue of, “Well, do I need to buy a system for each one? “Are they going to fight over it? “Sure, they can play in docked, but one’s going to be angry “when it’s in handheld mode.” It’s all a mess.
So, when you have something like the Switch Lite that is smaller and cheaper, it’s a lot easier to buy multiple of them. And, there’s more that plays into this concept, as well. Because it is one single system, it doesn’t have things like removable Joy-Cons, the system is presumably a lot sturdier than the regular Switch is, and based on reports from some news outlets that have gotten new Switches, that appears to be the case.
Color variants, special editions, and battery life?
There’s also the fact that, unlike the regular Switch, which comes in a single everyday black option, this one’s being marketed a lot more like their DS line of systems, where there are multiple colors right away. We have three confirmed at launch, which is going to be yellow, gray, and turquoise. And, there’s already a special edition approved for coming out later, which is Pokemon-themed one. I must admit. I’m not a massive fan of the set of color choices. I think, individually, a lot of them are fresh, I think that only maybe one or two other options are missing. They went for a massive pastel push, which the gray kind of stands out like a sore thumb in that case. I’m surprised. Honestly, they didn’t go for a red design since that is the color that Nintendo’s been slowly pushing like the one associated with their brand.
It’s also reported that the Switch Lite is going to have better battery life than the regular Switch. We don’t have any super hard numbers just yet, but thanks to more efficient internal specs, a lot of people are saying it’s somewhere around 20 to 30 percent longer battery life than what you would generally get on a regular Switch.
Is it worth buying if you own a regular Switch?
All this together shapes up for what I think is honestly a really cool, affordable spin-off version of the Switch, one that is not only going to be a good option for people to buy for first timers that want to save some money, but might even be something that’s tempting to people that already own Switches that like the idea of having multiple.
There’s an interesting concept here of using the original Switch as a dock-dedicated version when you want to do things like local multiplayer, or you want to play games in dock mode, for those better visuals, but have a Switch Lite on the go, and while there hasn’t been any official news just yet, Doug Bowser has made the statement that they are working on something that’s going to allow for the seamless switching of games between a regular Switch and a Switch Lite for those people that want to use both systems.
Things about Nintendo Switch not clear yet
There is one aspect of the Switch Lite that’s a little unclear to me right now, and that’s whether or not you can do local multiplayer on the Switch Lite screen itself, because Nintendo has mentioned that you are able to use wireless controllers, that you can connect Joy-Cons and pro controllers, and all that kind of stuff to the Switch Lite still, so that way, you can do things like motion control for specific games, but, at the same time, it’s not really clear if, in this smaller, handheld version, you’re going to be able to do things like, say, play Smash Bros in handheld mode, and have someone else with a wireless controller play at the same time. There’s not any reason why it can’t do that, other than it’s not the most efficient way to do it, but it would still be a nice feature to have.
While I know, it’s not the exact revision that a lot of people are hoping for. I’m honestly super excited of the idea of a Lite. I like the idea of using that as my primary portable handheld. As I’ve said many times before, I primarily use my Switch as a handheld, so one that’s a little more dedicated to that and more portable, I am excited to try out. But, it also raises some questions about what precisely the Switch Pro could be. Now that we know for sure what the Switch Lite is, that can better inform our theories on what a Switch Pro could be, and I think there are two main ways it could go, since the Switch Lite is a cheaper, affordable, alternative version of the Switch, and not a full-blown revision or replacement.
Nintendo Switch Pro speculations
The Switch Pro could be a revision or replacement of the regular Switch, offering maybe a higher quality screen, maybe upping it to 1080, better battery life, more power in general. Perhaps even offering higher-quality graphics when docked, like going all the way up to 4K. On the other hand, and this is getting a little weirder and it’s something I don’t necessarily think Nintendo would really do, but I think it’s worth talking about, and it’s the possibility of whether or not a Switch Pro is going the same route as the Switch Lite, in the sense of, the Switch Lite isn’t really a Switch, in the mind that it doesn’t do the ability to switch between two modes. It’s purely a handheld system.
So, what if, the Switch Pro is purely a docked system? Really, think about it, because I know that sounds really awkward at first, because they’re all called the Switch, and at that point, none of them would switch other than the base system. But if they are working on a way to quickly switch game experiences between units, like using an OG Switch dock with the Switch Lite on the go.
It stands to reason the idea they could have, as well, is having a super-powerful Switch Pro unit that is purely a docked TV console. That way it will be cheaper, they don’t have to worry about screens. They can make a powerhouse system that plugs into a TV, and then, if you own a Switch Lite, you can switch experiences between the two however you like, or even use an OG Switch still, if you have one.
Nintendo Switch’s future and Switch Lite’s release date
Is this effectively retreading the ground that PlayStation was trying to do with the PSP and the PS4? Yeah, kind of, sure, but it would be a much better way of doing it, and something that would offer a seamless experience. Now, again, I don’t think this is necessarily the way Nintendo’s going to go, but I think it’s a pretty valid theory. Of course, it’s also possible that if the Switch Pro is still a traditional Switch design, it might not be a complete replacement of the conventional system.
It could be something, again, that is more expensive, and offers more powerful docked options, but that seems less compelling to me. I want something that’s going to be a full-blown replacement of the conventional system or something entirely different. Either way, this has all just made me even more excited for the Nintendo Switch’s future, and I cannot wait to grab the Lite when it comes out this fall on September 20th.