RRP: £199.99 / $199.99
Release Date: 20th September 2019
The console for gamers on the go, Nintendo Switch Lite is a compact, lightweight addition to the Nintendo Switch family with integrated controls.
Nintendo Switch Lite supports all Nintendo Switch software that can be played in handheld mode. It’s ideal for people who have lots of opportunities to play outside and also for anyone who wants to play online or local wireless multiplayer with friends or family who already own a flagship Nintendo Switch console.
As a dedicated handheld gaming device, Nintendo Switch Lite does not support output to a TV.
It has been two-and-a-half years since the Nintendo Switch was released, and all eyes have been on Nintendo to see if there will be a follow up to one of the most popular consoles in the corporation’s long history.
Back in July Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite; a pared down version of the Switch that focuses on just the handheld mode. Gone is the ability to connect to a TV, prop it up on a surface or detach the Joy-con controllers – aimed at the causal gamers out there, there’s a nifty £100 reduction in price (based on the original Switch), making it the most ideal, solely portable Nintendo device out there.
Today we were fortunate enough to receive an advance review model from Nintendo for the Switch Lite, and despite some initial apprehension we weren’t disappointed with the finished product.
On release date, this Friday, there will be 3 colours available; grey, turquoise and yellow (we got the yellow one).
First off, the packaging is much smaller, owing to the fact you only get the Switch Lite console, the AC charger and the instruction leaflet. There’s something wonderfully simple about it all and the fact it’s ready to go right out the box with next to no set up at all.
In the hand, the Switch Lite feels noticeably lighter – it’s literally a Switch light – and also noticeably smaller. The height is 3.6″ (compared to 4″ on the original Switch), and the width is 8.2″ (compared to 9.4″ on the original) – both have the same 0.55″ depth.
To be perfectly clear, as mentioned above, this is a handheld only console, so unlike it’s bigger brother, the Switch Lite cannot be connected in TV or Tabletop modes. There are, as a result, a handful of Switch games that will not work on the Switch Lite. That being said, I can’t imagine there being many future titles made without some kind of Switch Lite compatibility.
As there is no tabletop mode, one of the casualties is the pull-out stand which is a feature on the original Switch. Instead you have a standalone slot for the Micro SD card, which actually looks rather neat and tidy.
Having fired up the console, we tested it out with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The first thing we noticed was the sound wasn’t as loud on the Switch Lite as the original Switch; that being said, it’s still perfectly fine, although louder environments will dull out the sound quality, somewhat. I guess that’s where the headphone jack comes in! Whilst we’re talking about the jack, the very top of the console, whilst smaller, is almost identical to the original, with just the grills of the vent being much more robust on the Switch Lite.
The other main thing we noticed was the picture quality; now I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve had our original Switch since it launched, and that the screen may be a little scratched or grubby, but it seemed as though the picture quality on the Switch Lite was a little crisper and clearer. No doubt someone out there can correct us if this isn’t the case, but it certainly looked that way to us. It’s important to note that the actual screen size is slightly smaller on the Switch Lite (5.5″ instead of 6.2″ on the original Switch).
One big improvement is the battery life which boasts an impressive 3-7 hours, compared to 2.5-6.5 on the original. So, whilst some things may have been taken away, battery life is surely a welcome addition in lieu of a stand or slightly louder sound.
Onto the controllers, and we have a change on the left-hand Joy-con; the 4-button pad has now been replaced with a D-pad – something that we welcome. You’ll also notice that the Joy-cons (if they can still be called that) are now fixed and flush with the console, so they cannot be removed. Again, this is a plus as the detachable Joy-cons on the original Switch can easily be removed mid-game if they’ve taken a beating over the past couple of years. Nintendo do have a fantastic repair program, should you need to get yours fixed, it’s worth mentioning. All other buttons are the same, except we now have a glorious, clean white colour, and the A, B, X & Y keys now have the letters embossed as opposed to being hard-coloured into the buttons. The downside of this is that if the keys wear over time, the visibility of the lettering may be affected, whereas on the original Switch, they never fade.
The Switch Lite runs on exactly the same software as the original (9.0.0 at the time of writing). This means there is no deviation in what’s available to you, software-wise, and even things like the rumble option (the final casualty of the Switch Lite) is still actually selectable in the menu system, which you can use with external Joy-cons, should you wish to purchase them.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the Switch Lite; when I first saw the price was only £80 less than the main Switch console, and with some of the Switch‘s biggest USPs missing, I was a little concerned it might be lacking in substance – thankfully I was wrong and it delivers exactly where it needs to.
This is an incredibly powerful little console with all the guts of its bigger brother – sure it doesn’t actually “switch” but maybe Switch isn’t so much a physical USP in this instance, but an option to switch to something smaller, more compact, but equally powerful.