The Nintendo Switch Lite is one of the best handheld gaming devices I've ever used. It is sturdy, stylish and comfortable. It starts with a library that already contains over 2,500 games. If you're just looking for a personal, portable game from Nintendo Switch, it's perfect. But is that all you are looking for?
Since its first trailer with rooftop parties, car rides, and esports tournaments, the $ 300 Nintendo Switch has been a device that is not just about what games to play, but also how to play them. It includes a simple portable game, but also connecting to an HD TV in the living room or pulling out a Joy-Con and giving it to a friend, as easy as sharing a candy. These amazing little interchangeable controllers, paired with hardware features like HD rumble and infrared cameras, allow Nintendo to explore new ways to combine real-world activities and games with products like Labo and the upcoming Ring-Con. Versatility defines the switch.
The $ 200 Switch Lite is not a versatile gaming device. It plays switch games in handheld mode. TV mode is not supported. While Joy-Cons, which are sold separately, can be connected to the Lite, the smaller screen of the Lite (5.5 inches compared to the Switch 6.2) and the lack of an integrated stand make playing on the tabletop more difficult. There is no rumble. There is no infrared camera. It continues to support near field communication for Amiibo support and has an integrated accelerometer and a gyroscope for motion control, so not all additional functions of the switch have been removed. But most of them have. As has been mentioned repeatedly since the hardware was announced in July, the Switch Lite does not contain much "Switch". "Switch painting" would be more accurate, albeit far less marketable.
Although I don't see it as such, many consider the Switch Lite to be Nintendo's successor to the 3DS, the portable, two-screen gaming system that has desperately held on to life since the Switch launched in early 2017 and is now practically dead. I understand the comparison. Both the 3DS and the Switch Lite are devices designed exclusively for portable games. But where the 3DS and its relatives had their own ecosystem of unique games, most of which cannot be played anywhere else, the Switch Lite plays switch games. For me, the Switch Lite for the Switch is like the 2DS for the 3DS. Both play the same games, but one is cheaper and has no features that some players have never dealt with anyway. I would not exchange my 2DS XL for a Switch Lite.
Nintendo portable meeting.
Strictly classified as a portable personal gaming system, the Switch Lite is better than the original Switch. It is more compact, which makes it more portable. With no removable parts, the Switch Lite feels much more solid and robust in handheld mode than the normal Switch, although it weighs a little less at £ 0.66 compared to £ 0.88. The plastic that makes up the Switch Lite case has a soft and slightly rough texture that's a pleasure for the fingertips. The three colors that Nintendo chose for the first series of Switch Lites, yellow, gray and turquoise, give the device a trendy retro look.
The battery life is slightly longer than with my start switch, but not as long as with the newer models. And then there's the D-Pad, the pretty little white cross instead of the normal switch's Dinky buttons. I have been playing with the Switch Lite for a few days now and every time my thumb brushes the D-Pad there is still a hint of joy. It is only slightly larger than the D-Pad of my 2DS XL and just as flat, but it responds sufficiently and, above all, it is not four separate round plastic parts.
As a portable system, the only real downside to Switch Lite is the screen size. Most of the time, the 0.7 inch difference between the regular switch and the smaller Switch Lite is not a problem. But when I play games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses that Kotakus Heather Alexandra recently classified as one of the switches, “extremely good games with tiny text. “My poor, aging eyes are fighting even harder with the Lite. Perhaps the introduction of a switch only for portable devices with a smaller screen makes developers more conscientious for tiny text. Or maybe we just have to squint more.
If my only wish was to play switch games in handheld mode, I would no doubt prefer the Switch Lite to the regular switch. It's $ 100 cheaper. It plays all the games I want to play. It looks and feels better in my hands, and it is impossible for my chonky fingers to accidentally disconnect a Joy-Con during the hot game. Yes, I did that.
But the original does a lot of cool things Switch Lite doesn't do – things I've gotten used to and which I feel uncomfortable with now. Removing Joy-Cons to play multiplayer games is a switch feature that I rarely use, but when I have it, it has led to some pretty magical moments. My game is usually a personal thing, but the ability to socialize with the click of my switch means it doesn't have to be.
To be able to drop a portable game I'm currently playing into a dock and make it look even better on my TV than in my hands? Very cool too. Switching from a small 720p screen to a large 1080p screen doesn't seem like a big leap, but the higher resolution combined with the increased processing power of the switch when docked can make a big difference. Here is a screenshot I took of the last exclusive switch game Astral Chain in docked mode.
Here's a similar shot in handheld mode.
Do you see the jagged hair and glasses? Compare the textures on the uniforms. It is day and night. While the graphical difference when playing on a 5.5-inch screen may not look as dramatic, many switch games are better even in docked mode, with better lighting effects and higher frame rates. Even if 99 percent of my switch game is portable, I would still be wondering if I can get the most out of the games I play with the Lite.
In addition, the Switch Lite lacks a very important feature for a person like me who likes to share their gameplay online. There is no external HDMI support. This means not only that there is no TV mode, but also that there is no need to connect to a capture card to record or stream footage. For years I thought about the idea of spending a few hundred dollars to have my Nintendo 3DS modified with an HDMI port for recording and streaming. It makes perfect sense for me to scrape a few hundred for a switch with this function.
Here with Horis Duraflexi Protector.
Perhaps you can see the appeal of both switch models and buy both to get the best of both worlds. I currently have both a Switch and a Switch Lite. My plan is to hold the switch with its finer design and additional performance in my switch dock for TV-based gaming. The more robust and sturdy Switch Lite becomes my travel companion, stowed in its little blue pouch and securely wrapped in a protective cover that I never have to remove to separate a Joy-Con.
I have set up my Nintendo Account on both devices. The Switch Lite is referred to as the "primary" switch in my account. This means that I don't need to be connected to the internet to check if I have permission to play loaded games. My "secondary" docked switch needs to connect to the internet before I play a game to check if I don't have this gamerunning on the primary switch at the moment. This is not a problem as it never leaves the range of my WiFi router.
Don't worry, your hands are probably smaller.
Transferring backup data between two switches is a painless process, right there in the Settings menu. As long as the storage belongs to the same user, you can transfer it wirelessly. Cloud storage can also be downloaded between systems if the saved game supports the function. Alternatively, I could not transfer the storages at all and keep clear records on every system. That would only mean that I have to level two Puzzle Quest characters at the same time. Oh no. Not that.
Now I don't need two switches. You probably don't either. However, if you want to add another switch to your family's game collection that your kids can abuse a little more when they throw it in their backpacks or their siblings' faces, the Lite may be the answer. And there are people out there who never dock their switches or remove the Joy-Cons who like to play their games only on a Switch Lite. However, it is far from completely replacing the existing switch.
Photo: Heather Alexandra
When I started, it is one of the best handheld gaming devices I have ever used. It's bigger and feels more mainstream than the quirky 3DS. It's more robust and earthy than Sony's precious-looking Vita. It's the type of gaming hardware that I wouldn't feel bad about throwing into a bag unprotected. It's console game in the palm of your hand, and you can pull it out during a rooftop party without feeling obliged to share.