Nintendo Switch Lite vs Switch – Which is the right one for you

Osmond Chia - Sep 23, 2019, 7:10 am CDT
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Nintendo Switch Lite vs Switch – Which is the right one for you

This generation’s PlayStation Portable is finally upon us and it’s the Nintendo Switch Lite. It welds together the removable parts of the OG Nintendo Switch – which by principle makes it not a “Switch” anymore – delivering a compact experience you can fit into your pocket.

If you’re in the market for a Switch and picking between the two, you’ll find the choice isn’t as simple as it seems. Both new and old Nintendo Switch models have plenty of draws and very few missteps – it’s simply a matter of priority. We’ve weighed the costs for you and narrowed your decision down to these simple points.

What games will you be playing?

Unlike usual consoles of a generation, not all games work on both Switches. The Switch Lite is a dedicated handheld device that cannot be docked to a TV, doesn’t have removable Joy-Cons and motion controls, nor a kickstand. Any games which use these functions are incompatible.

But do note you can still pair a Pro Controller or Joy-Cons to the Lite, although you’d have to find something to prop up the device.

Some popular games you’ll be forgoing without extra Joy-Cons include Super Mario Party, 1-2-Switch, Just Dance, Fitness Boxing and other motion-controlled games – this isn’t a console to keep fit with. You also won’t be able to play Labo Games, the Switch’s line of cardboard props you use to game with.

If you had these games in mind, the Switch Lite isn’t for you. But if it’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild you’re thinking of or other games to play solo, the Switch could be what you’re looking for.

Goodbye docking, goodbye friends

One of the features that made the original Switch such an endearing household item was switching between portable and docked modes. Hooking it up to a TV was something we haven’t seen. It meant everyone could have a good view of the game and made for some outrageously fun moments. Even if you didn’t have a larger screen, you could always prop the kickstand, detach the Joy-Cons and play with some pals.

The Switch Lite does away with all that, offering a limited, solo experience.

Don’t worry too much about your budget

The Switch Lite lists at a very reasonable $199, compared to the original Switch which lists at $299. There’s not much to separate the two in terms of price, as the Switch does offer a lot more gameplay possibility with its $100 price jump.

To further incentivise the OG, Switches get a lot cheaper if you dive into the resale market. You can fetch some as low as $180 – if you trust them.

If it were up to us, we say don’t let the price here affect your decision by too much.

Prepare to squint

You’ll be pleased to note in terms of resolution, you won’t be losing out with the smaller Switch Lite. Both devices have a 1280 x 720-pixel LCD panel. Where you will be losing out is the size of the screen, coming in at 5.5 inches compared to the original’s 6.2-inch display. It makes reading small text a bit of a struggle, especially in text-heavy RPGs like Zelda and Skyrim.

Specs that may make a difference include the Switch Lite’s battery life, which gets you up to 4.5 hours of screen-on time. That’s more than an hour more than the Switch. So, if portable gaming is your main priority, it’s a no brainer.

Build quality

The Switch Lite also takes the cake for feeling very solid in the hand. As it’s non-modular, without removable parts, it feels sturdy and very well-put together. Users of the first Switch have complained about Joy-Cons sliding out or just feeling flimsy in the hand. This surely a key point to consider if you’re likely to be playing long hours alone.

The buttons on the Lite have also gotten a revamp. Gone are the clicky buttons of the original Switch, replaced with buttons that feel more responsive and tactile.

So have you decided?

If it boils down to one deciding point, it’s really how likely you’ll want to play with friends, or on a TV. These are the key sacrifices you’ll be making with going Lite. If you’re an Overcooked or Smash Bros fan, that’s kind of a dealbreaker. But anyone looking for the fantastic solo outings exclusive to the Switch – the likes of Breath of the Wild, Skyrim or The Witcher 3 – the Nintendo Switch Lite is an affordable, stylish and solid choice to make.


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