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Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite: All The Differences Explained

Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite

Nintendo now has the Switch and Switch Lite, but what are the differences between the two consoles besides one being mainly a handheld system? There have been months of rumors and fan speculation leading up to Nintendo's recent announcement of the Switch Lite, but it's now official and is scheduled to release on September 20.

It's been over two years since the Nintendo Switch launched worldwide, and it's already almost tripled the lifetime sales of the Wii U, which had released five years prior to the Switch and became the bane of the long-standing company. While the Switch is aimed at portability in addition to stationary play at home, Nintendo has been working on a dedicated version for some time now.

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Related: Nintendo's Online Services Need to Catch Up With Everyone Else

The Nintendo Switch Lite is exciting for many, but as with any new revision of a system, the question remains: is it worth it? What are the new features, and how does it differ from the older version? Here's a breakdown of all the differences between the original Switch and the Switch Lite.

Nintendo Switch Lite Colors

  • Price: Nintendo Switch Lite is $100 cheaper since it's meant to be a cheaper alternative. The original Nintendo Switch costs $299.99 at retail whereas the Switch Lite costs $199.99.
  • Size & Weight: The Switch Lite is designed to be smaller, lighter and more portable, but by how much? The original Switch's dimensions are 9.4" x 4" x 0.55" and 0.88 lbs. The Switch Lite, meanwhile, is 8.2" x 3.6" x 0.55" and 0.61 lbs. Furthermore, the Switch Lite's touch screen is 5.5" compared to the Switch's 6.2". This reduction in size and weight allows the device makes the device much more portable.
  • Battery Life: The original Nintendo Switch suffers from short battery life when undocked (lasting 2 to 6 hours depending on usage), and while the Switch Lite improves on that front (3 to 7 hours), it's only a marginal difference. For instance, playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may only get 4 hours on the Switch Lite at full charge.
  • Play Modes: The Switch Lite doesn't come with a dock, HDMI cable, or Joy-Con controllers since it cannot dock at all or output to a TV. It also doesn't have a kickstand. All of this is meant to compel players to use the system as a handheld console.
  • Games: Even though the Nintendo Switch Lite shares its name with the Switch, not all Switch games can be played on it. Every game played on the Switch Lite must have a handheld mode. If a game doesn't, then "players can wirelessly connect compatible controllers (sold separately) to Nintendo Switch Lite. If using separate Joy-Con controllers, users will need to have a device to recharge them, such as the Joy-Con Charging Grip."
  • Colors: While the Nintendo Switch is only sold in black, the Switch Lite will be available in three colors: yellow, turquoise, and gray. There will also be a special "Zacian and Zamazenta Edition" of the console to celebrate the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield. This version features cyan and magenta buttons as well as designs of the two new legendary Pokemon, and will hit stores on November 8.

Overall, the Nintendo Switch Lite is really meant to be the handheld version of the Switch, just as Nintendo is promoting it as. But the key difference here is the playable games. Sure it makes sense that future (and even past) first-party Nintendo games will ship with handheld versions for the Switch Lite players, but third-party titles, which make up the bulk of titles available on the regular Switch, may not come with those handheld versions, thus making the Switch Lite's release a bit moot. Only time will tell how the Nintendo Switch Lite performs, though.

Next: Pokémon Sword & Shield: Dynamaxing & Gigantamaxing Explained

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