If you have kept up with all things Nintendo in recent times, the discussion around the 2nd generation Switch has been an endless one. There had been rumours about the company working on two different devices — one smaller and another that would be akin to hardware refresh for what Nintendo calls the ‘flagship’ of the family.
Leaks of a silicon case for the Lite had surfaced recently, and several sources had already inferred some features like built-in JoyCons. Today, Nintendo has gone ahead and announced what they call the Nintendo Switch Lite which will hit the market with a price tag of $199 on September 20, 2019.
Here is everything that you need to know about it in comparison to Nintendo Switch.
Design is the first and foremost difference between the two devices as the Switch Lite drops everything that made the Switch unique. The three play modes that the Switch offered have been reduced to just the handheld mode. In terms of changes to the hardware, the removable Joy-cons have been replaced with ones that are fixed, the 6.2-inch display has been reduced to a 5.5-inch one, and the front firing stereo speakers have been turned into bottom firing stereo pair. With the Switch, users could form all sorts of varying looks for their device with the different Joy-cons available in the market. But with the Lite users only have the option of buying the Grey, Turquoise or Yellow, which will be available from the first day with a Pokemon Sword. The Shield themed one is releasing later this year on November 8.
What is different?
With the Switch Lite, the Japanese video game maker is not bringing any new features but is instead reducing them, which isn’t entirely bad. We have mentioned the significant physical differences earlier, here are the ones that aren’t as apparent.
So with the Switch Lite, there is no more docking to the TV when you are home, and there is no sharing of controllers. Talking more about Joy-cons, consumers can use ones that have been purchased separately and pair them with the device provided they have a way to charge them. In case of the ones that are present on the device, the right Joy-con no longer supports the HD Rumble functions and does not have the IR Motion camera either. A welcome change would be the inclusion of a D-pad which is still not present on a traditional Joy-con — unless you customise yours or buy one from Hori in which case you lose wireless functionality.
Nintendo mentioned clearly in their announcement video that the device is a dedicated handheld device and players must see if the game that they are purchasing supports handheld play or not.
What is not different?
While the externals of the Switch Lite have been overhauled in a major way, the story on the inside is not so different. The device still uses a customised Nvidia Tegra chip, though we do not know if it is any different than the one being used presently. But from the videos shown the performance of the device seems to be at par with the current flagship.
You may think that Lite is just a dumbed down version of the Switch, but it still offers the same enjoyable multiplayer experience and hours of endless fun with support for wireless play — locally or over the internet. The Joy-cons still support Amiibo.
Is the Switch Lite a compelling buy?
With all the features that Nintendo took away from the device, one would think that this device is not a compelling buy, but for what it offers at its price, it sure is a device that matches its marketing scheme.
It weighs 123 grams lesser and has a much smaller footprint. If you thought the Switch was easier to carry around well, this is bound to be even more so. The flagship device with its removable Joy-cons and large size was a device that parents could hand to their kids, but it was prone to breaking.
The Lite seems like a device that is an even better option to hand to a kid. The device may also have a slightly boosted battery life when compared to the Switch as Nintendo mentions on their site that the Lite could play Legend of Zelda Breathe of the Wild for four hours on one charge compared to the three of the Switch.
The Switch Lite is something like the Gameboy Micro of the past and could very well be Nintendo’s replacement for the 3DS family, which is slowly being phased out. All in all, for $200, it’s undoubtedly a compelling buy.