Confirming rumours and speculation based on leaked photos of cases and other accessories, today Nintendo revealed the new $329 Switch Lite portable console that sheds a bit of weight, a bit of size, and quite a bit of functionality to hit a price point that’s $140 cheaper than the wonderful original Switch. But are the sacrifices worth the savings?
Measuring 8.2 by 3.6 inches, the Switch Lite will be noticeably more compact than the original 9.4 by 10cm Switch. It’ll be lighter too, at 276g compared to 400g for the first iteration. That certainly makes it a little easier to travel with, as does slightly improved battery life which sees a bump from a max of 6.5 hours to 7 hours, assuming you don’t have the screen brightness cranked. I’ll come in in three colours and ship September 20.
There are some significant tradeoffs with the Lite. As rumoured, the Joy-Con-like controls are integrated into the housing and aren’t removable. The Lite is a single-player console, and it can’t dock or output to a connected TV over HDMI. So if you like to plug into a hotel TV while travelling, that’s no longer an option. The Switch Lite also omits rumbling haptic feedback, which was undoubtedly removed to improve runtimes given there’s less room for a battery inside the console’s smaller housing. The IR sensors are gone too, which means the Switch Lite won’t work with any of the Nintendo Labo kits.
As for compatibility with the Switch’s existing game lineup? The Switch Lite works with any title that supports its handheld mode. For those that don’t, the Switch Lite still includes wireless capabilities so that you can connect required controllers to the console.
The $329 price tag is undoubtedly the Switch Lite’s biggest selling point, and it will certainly entice those who’ve been on the fence about making the investment. But for those who already have a Switch at home, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to pick the Lite up as well. It isn’t significantly smaller, and you may be sacrificing many of the features you’ve come to love about the console. It’s also not known how game sharing will work between consoles for those that buy their titles digitally, but we’ve reached out to Nintendo for comment on how that will work exactly.