What is the difference between Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite

- Jul 15, 2019-

NINTENDO will launch its Switch Lite system on September 20. This is the first version of the Switch console that has been available since its debut in 2017, so it's natural that people have questions: What makes Switch Lite different? Is Switch Lite suitable for me? 

We've collected the latest information about Switch Lite to help you answer many of these questions, and we'll keep up to date with the release of new news.

A different switch

Switch Lite is the $200 version of Nintendo's standard Nintendo Switch, which typically retails for $300. Although the standard Switch can be used as a portable handheld system or as a home console connected to a TV, Switch Lite can only be used as a portable handheld device. It avoids the hybrid nature of its predecessor and instead uses an exclusive mobile experience.

According to Nintendo, Lite does not come with a cradle or is compatible with existing pedestals, nor does it support output to a TV. Even if you want to set it up in a standard switch base for storage, it's not suitable; Switch Lite is 3.6 inches tall, 8.2 inches long, and 5.5 inches on the screen, so it's a little smaller than the standard Switch, it's 4 inches taller. It is 9.4 inches long and has a screen length of 6.2 inches.

The standard Switch allows the player to remove two Joy-Con controllers from the system. These detachable Joy-Cons can be used for motion control functions (such as the original Wii remote) or as a pair of mini controllers, two people can play some cooperative games together.

Lite does not have a movable Joy-Cons. Instead, its buttons will be built into the system itself, just like any other handheld device in Nintendo. This means you won't be able to play out of the box as you would a regular Switch, and you won't be able to play any games that require motion control on this unit. If you choose to buy it separately, Lite will be able to sync with the full-featured Joy-Cons, but it won't have a stand to support itself.

Nintendo Switch Lite had game restrictions

Nintendo's announcement video shows that any existing and future Switch games that support handheld mode can be played on Lite. While this sounds great on the surface, since most Switch games are handheld compatible, there are many factors at work.

If you don't want to buy any accessories and plan to play with the content contained in the basic Lite set, then many games will be limited; most notably, any motion control in the game is forbidden. This means you won't be able to wave your arm in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyline, or use your full body aiming bow in "The Legend of Zelda: Wild Breathing". Super Mario Odyssey is also more fun when using Joy-Cons.

These specific games provide a button-based alternative to their motion control, so they can still be played entirely with Lite, but not all games are flexible with their control scheme. Even the fully compatible games mentioned above will not be exactly the same, because Lite lacks the rumbling of Switch's Joy-Cons, which means you don't feel satisfied with the vibrations of the game. Some of the best Switch games will have limitations.

You also can't use the Nintendo Labo kit properly because quite a bit of motion control is required and is optimized only for the physical dimensions of the original Switch. For example, the VR Suite will be completely outside the scope of the Lite owner, and other packages will not work unless you carefully connect to Lite.