Nintendo has always been known for creating amazing handheld devices. The Nintendo Switch, for the first time ever blurred the lines of what was handheld and what was a home console. It managed to do both well, but the handheld side of things was a bit limited. The Switch Lite is designed to solve that problem for people that want to use the Switch as a handheld only device.
I picked up a Switch Lite because I am a really big fan of the design. The fact that it is so focused around handheld play makes it very comfortable and light-weight to hold. The Switch Lite has a smaller screen at 5.5 inches as opposed to the Standard Switch’s 6.2-inch screen, but I personally didn’t really notice how much smaller it was until I held them side by side. There’s a difference but games still look great on the Switch Lite. The handheld system also features a D-Pad and oh does it make a difference in those 2-D platformers. The buttons are far less clicky and the build material feels more sturdy. Overall the build of this device feels very premium.
Nintendo loves putting out special editions of consoles and it looks like the Switch Lite will shine in that regard. At launch, we get 3 colors. Turquoise, Yellow, and Gray. Turquoise is the one I chose and by far my favorite of the three, but it looks like a Pokémon special edition is launching in November around the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield. I imagine there will be several other special editions in due time and I can’t wait to see how creative they get with these. This is a portable console after all so having something to show off is pretty cool.
I personally play the Switch primarily on the train, at lunch, and just on the go in general and it’s nice to finally have something that fits right into my hoodie pocket or the small sleeve in my bag. It doesn’t take up much space at all and when traveling with it, I barely notice it’s there. I. Find myself playing it much more now that it’s so easy to pull it out and start playing anytime. This is what Nintendo seems to nail so efficiently with their handhelds, and they did it again here. The Switch Lite is missing a few features, but as a standalone handheld system at this price point, it’s quite incredible.
There are a few notable omissions from the Switch Lite, that made me want to keep my original. First, you can’t dock the Switch Lite. It is handheld only, so if you want to play on the TV, you need the older Switch model (or the updated V2 Switch with better battery) to do so. The Switch Lite also did away with the HD Rumble feature seen in the joy-cons and the pro controller. I was sad to see this go, as I really like this, but for games that require it, for example, Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo already has a solution. The screen will shake ever so slightly for the moons that need HD Rumble in that game so I was happy to see that Nintendo thought of this before releasing the system.
I still play on the TV with my Switch quite a bit so Nintendo’s cloud saves and profile syncing came in handy. Going in and downloading my games from the e-shop was easy, but having to manually go into each game and download my cloud saves was a hassle. I feel like Microsoft does a great job with this on Xbox, I can just start up my game on any system and my most recent save is there, no extra work needed on my part. I would appreciate something like this here, but all in all, it’s not too much work. If you are planning on using this as a portable system and you have a mostly digital library then the Lite will need to be your “primary” console set in the e-shop so that you can access these games away from an internet connection. I plan on leaving my other Switch at home connected to the internet so this is no big deal for me. Overall the setup itself was a bit of a hassle but the day to day use of this is quite straight forward.
On its own, the Switch Lite is an amazing device and one of the best handhelds I’ve ever used, but when compared side by side to its big brother, the feature set is lacking. I love the Switch, and I love the Switch Lite for a variety of reasons, some of which are exclusive to each console. Overall Nintendo has done a really good job with this device and understanding what this one does, and the price point it’s at, I was not disappointed with this purchase.