The worst kept secret in the gaming industry has been revealed: Nintendo is releasing the Switch Lite on September 20th, for the budget price of $199.99. It will come in 3 colors, sport a 5.5 inch 720p display, have a slightly improved battery life of 3-7 hours, but most importantly it is entirely dedicated to portable play, and thus will not be able to connect to a TV. This also means that the controllers are fixed to the system, and it strips out the IR sensor and HD rumble, although it will still support wireless connectivity with the existing Joycon controllers.
I have to be honest, I'm pretty disappointed. As I am wont to say Nintendo either gives me more than I ever dreamed of or exactly 50% of what I wanted, never anything in-between, and Switch Lite is the latter case. I wanted a DS Lite situation out of a mid-life Switch revision: all the rough angles and weird growing pains worked out. A tempered glass screen. A significantly better battery life. A much smaller system.
Instead, we're getting what feels like a half-step, a DSi, Wii Mini or 3DS XL situation, and one that completely removes the "switch" gimmick by disabling the portable's ability to switch between handheld and TV play. The screen is smaller, but still the same 720p quality. It's still too big to be comfortable or stylish; the base Switch is already awkwardly big for a portable, at only a notch or two below "full VR rig" on the "socially unacceptable to use in front of normal people" scale. I was hoping a Switch Lite would be significantly more discrete, but it's only marginally smaller than the base Switch. The full D-pad is a nice replacement for the fiddly directional buttons, but none of these changes warrant a purchase from me.
For now, I advise patience. If you really just want a purely portable Switch, then go for it. For everyone else, stick with the original model until Nintendo releases the inevitable "Switch Pro" significant hardware update in a year or two. I know it sounds harsh but I'v been buying Nintendo hardware for decades, and sometimes it doesn't pay to be an early adopter. This is a specialized budget device at best, one that robs the Switch of what I consider its best feature--versatility--and we're bound to see an overall improved model in the not-too-distant future.
A New Addition to the Nintendo Switch Family, Nintendo Switch Lite is Compact and Lightweight, Making it Easy to Take on the Go
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- In a video today, Nintendo introduced Nintendo Switch Lite, a device designed specifically to play Nintendo Switch games in handheld mode. The Nintendo Switch Lite system launches Sept. 20 at a suggested retail price of $199.99 and will be available in three different colors: yellow, gray and turquoise. A carrying case and screen protector set for Nintendo Switch Lite will also be available.
The Nintendo Switch Lite system launches Sept. 20 at a suggested retail price of $199.99 and will be available in three different colors: yellow, gray and turquoise. (Photo: Business Wire)
“Adding Nintendo Switch Lite to the lineup gives gamers more color and price point options,” said Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. “Now consumers can choose the system that best suits how they like to play their favorite Nintendo Switch games.”
The flagship Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and offers three different play modes: playing in TV mode by placing the system into a Nintendo Switch dock, playing cooperatively or competitively in tabletop mode by sharing Joy-Con controllers and playing in handheld mode. The system comes with either Gray Joy-Con controllers or Neon Red and Neon Blue Joy-Con controllers.
Nintendo Switch Lite has integrated controls and is smaller than the flagship version of Nintendo Switch. It has no kickstand and, as a dedicated handheld gaming device, does not support video output to a TV. Therefore, it does not come with a dock or HDMI cable. For a full list of the differences between Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/compare.
The new device can play all games in the robust Nintendo Switch library that support handheld mode*, although some games will have restrictions. Compatible game modes will be listed on the back of game packaging and in Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite owners can get together to enjoy compatible multiplayer titles like Super Mario Maker 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate together via Nintendo Switch Online** or local wireless multiplayer***.
For additional information about Nintendo Switch Lite, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/lite/.
* For games that support tabletop mode, players can wirelessly connect Joy-Con controllers (sold separately) to Nintendo Switch Lite. In these cases, users will need to have a device to recharge Joy-Con controllers, such as the Joy-Con Charging Grip.
**Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Terms apply. nintendo.com/switch-online
***Additional systems and software required.
About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Nintendo Switch™ system and the Nintendo 3DS™ family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4.7 billion video games and more than 740 million hardware units globally, including Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS™ family of systems, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo GameCube™, Wii™ and Wii U™ systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names, such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda and Pokémon. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Americas. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company’s website at https://www.nintendo.com.