In Depth

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite: is the new console worth the cheaper price tag?

Portable-only model lowers the price of Switch ownership but does away with some key features

Nintendo is gearing up to launch a budget version of its Switch console that looks likely to become one of the company’s most popular models. 

The new console, dubbed the Switch Lite, will be a portable-only version of the current all-in-one Switch. Players will be able to get their hands on the new device for about £80 less than a standard Switch, but won’t be able to connect the device to a television. 

That may seem like a major drawback but Nintendo has previously said that around 30% of players use their Switch in portable mode exclusively and never connect it to a TV, the Daily Express reports. 

So is Nintendo on to another winner with the Switch Lite? 

UK release and price

The Lite will launch on 20 September in three colours: grey, yellow and turquoise.  

Pre-orders are open now on Amazon, with prices starting at £199.99.  

The regular Switch, which launched in early 2017, and can be found on Amazon for £279.99. Most bundles come with a £30 voucher for Nintendo’s eShop, the online marketplace where users can download games.

Design 

On the surface, the Switch Lite doesn’t look drastically different to the regular model. Dig a little deeper, though, and the differences become more apparent. 

The Switch Lite sports a 5.5in touchscreen display, which is capable of playing games at 720p resolution, notes Tom’s Guide. That matches the resolution of the regular Switch in portable mode, though the Lite’s display is 0.7in smaller than the original console. 

The budget model also has fixed controllers, as opposed to the detachable Joy-Cons found on the regular Switch, the website adds. That’s because the device is a portable-only system, meaning users cannot connect the device to a TV. 

Other smaller changes on the Lite model include the absence of a kick stand, while the four arrow keys on the left side of the control pad have been replaced by a conventional directional pad (D-pad). 

Battery and performance

Buyers can expect around three to seven hours of power from the Switch Lite, which “isn’t much better” than the regular Switch’s 2.5 to 6.5-hour battery life, says Wired

It’s worth noting that the regular Switch is being updated later this year. While it won’t be the rumoured Switch 2, which is believed to be a more powerful model akin to the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, Nintendo has equipped the model with a more powerful battery and an upgraded processor. 

According to NintendoLife, the revised Switch will offer around 4.5 to nine hours of battery life, notably more than the Lite version. 

While Switch Lite users can play most games, the console cannot play titles with virtual reality (VR) elements and it “isn’t really appropriate for use with any of the Nintendo Labo peripherals”, says TechRadar.

Verdicts

“The Nintendo Switch Lite is almost certainly not better than its existing stablemate,” says TechRadar. “And that’s before considering the potential for it to be problematic overall for the company’s existing player base, as it undermines what made the first Nintendo Switch hardware so unique and special in the first place.”

Despite being notably cheaper than the regular Switch, the tech site says that the Lite version’s lack of detachable controllers and inability to connect to a TV makes it “just another handheld”.

CNet, however, says otherwise. It argues that the Switch Lite is ideal for those who only intend to use the console on the go and “don’t care” about connecting it to a TV.

However, the “most lucrative” market could be customers who already own a regular Switch, particularly those who have to share the console with other family members, the site says. The Switch Lite may be “an indulgent second purchase”, but it could prove to be a worthwhile one for those who want to play one game when their children are already playing another.

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