Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: What’s the Difference?

Can’t decide whether to buy the Switch or the Switch Lite? Find out everything you need to know here!
Image Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo always seems to come out with a “Lite” version of its consoles, and the Switch is no longer an exception. The Nintendo Switch Lite comes at a cheaper price, along with some changes in features and capabilities.

At this point, you might be wondering whether to buy the Switch or the Switch Lite—or if you already own the Switch, whether the Switch Lite is also worth adding to your collection. Here are the differences between the two models, and you can decide for yourself.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Design

Image credit: Nintendo

Right away, you’ll notice that something doesn’t look quite right with the Switch Lite. Unlike the original Switch, the Switch Lite doesn’t have detachable controllers. This affects some of the gameplay, which I’ll get into later.

Unlike the original Switch, the Switch Lite comes in an array of funky colors. Choose from yellow, turquoise, gray, as well as a limited edition Pokémon design.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Display

The Switch Lite has a slightly smaller screen. While the Switch has a 6.2-inch LCD screen, the Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch LCD screen. There’s no change in the 720p resolution, but its lighter weight and smaller size make the Switch Lite a bit easier to tote around.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Battery Life

If you like to play games on the go, you’ll be happy to hear that the Switch Lite has received a small boost in battery life. While the original Switch has a life of 6.5 hours, the Switch Lite will last you seven hours. Just keep in mind that the more recent edition of the regular Switch (mid-2019 model) actually has an even longer life of up to nine hours.

With the previous Switch, you can place it in its dock, detach the Joy-Cons, and play on the TV while it charges. You can’t play the Switch Lite on your TV, nor can you charge it with the dock. In fact, it doesn’t even come with one.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Games Compatibility

Image credit: Nintendo

Since you can’t remove the Joy-Cons on the Switch Lite, this prevents you from playing specific games (unless you buy additional accessories).

Don’t worry, you can still enjoy most games like Super Mario Odessey and Breath of the Wild. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play other games that aren’t compatible with handheld mode, including Super Mario Party, Fitness Boxing, Just Dance, or 1-2 Switch. These games require heavy use of the controllers, so it’s impossible to play them on the Switch Lite by itself.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Controllers and Accessories

Like I previously mentioned, the Switch Lite doesn’t have detachable Joy-Cons. This means that Nintendo Labo is out of the question—Nintendo’s VR kit has been made with the original Switch in mind, so you can’t use it with the Switch Lite’s new design.

If you want to play every Switch game with the Switch Lite, you’ll need to purchase extra accessories. As you probably already know, the original Nintendo Switch lets you remove each Joy-Con. You can give one Joy-Con to a friend, allowing you to play games together.

The built-in Joy-Cons on the Switch Lite make it impossible to play two-player games. To play with a friend, you’ll need to buy one or more Joy-Cons. You can’t use the Switch Lite with the dock either, so you also have to purchase a stand. This could be a deal-breaker for those buying the Switch specifically to play with others.

You also can’t connect controllers via USB with the Switch Lite, but you can still use Bluetooth controllers instead.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Price

As for price, the Switch Lite is the clear winner. You can get the Switch Lite for only $199.99, while the Nintendo Switch is priced at $299.99. With the Switch Lite, you’ll get fewer features for a lower price.

Will You Buy the Switch or the Switch Lite?

When deciding between the Switch and the Switch Lite, it all comes down to whether you want to spend most of your time playing on your TV or away from home. The Switch Lite is a great choice if you’re interested in a portable console and don’t want to play local co-op. On the other hand, the original Switch is fantastic for two-player games that you can play on TV.

The Switch Lite comes out on September 20th, 2019. If you’re thinking about getting the Switch Lite, you can always preorder it in advance. While you wait, check out the free Nintendo Switch games that are worth playing.

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  1. Any idea if they fixed the joy-con drift issue? It’s bad enough having to send in a controller for repair when you can detach them. I can’t imagine sending in the whole console for a repair. 🙁

    1. They haven’t fixed the drifting issue on the older Switch systems, and no one really knows what exactly causes it! I’ve heard that Nintendo is repairing the Joy-Cons for free—that’s the least they can do! The Switch Lite thankfully won’t have any Joy-Con drift issues since the controllers are attached to the system.

      1. I don’t think that’s quite right. The Drift issues are caused by particles inside the joy-con that interfere with the contacts. Most people have used contact cleaner to temporarily fix the issue. I’ve personally replaced one of the joy-cons to swap out the drifting stick (which fixed it – at least for now). Nintendo US is currently fixing drifting joy-cons for free (barring shipping, perhaps) after threatened with a class action suit. That implies that they know there’s an issue.

        If that design flaw hasn’t been addressed with the Switch Lite, that’s going to cause trouble. Nobody wants to have to send in the entire console to have it fixed. It’s bad enough having to send in a joy-con. At least they’re not charging half that cost to fix them now.

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