Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Is bigger better?
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite is a debate worth pondering if you’re looking to add one of Nintendo’s handheld consoles to your collection. However, there are a few features you should consider if you’re comparing the two before making a buying decision.
Compared to the Nintendo Switch Lite, the Nintendo Switch is a console that’s hard to beat. It’s compact, convenient, and bridges the gap between home and handheld consoles. However, the Lite is less expensive, and if you travel a lot, you might find it a more worthy companion.
In fact, shortly after the console’s release, it was discovered that handheld mode was the preferred way to play for a large number of gamers. So no one was surprised when Nintendo’s next step was to release the Nintendo Switch Lite and carry on the legacy of the handheld console market.
With the Nintendo Switch OLED due out in 2021, future Switch owners currently have a variety of options for Nintendo’s latest console (unless the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro goes official). But if you’re still considering your previous options, which model is right for you? Is it a handheld-only Switch Lite? Or the original hybrid?
To help you decide, we’ll walk you through the similarities and differences between each console, comparing designs, prices, and game libraries. Read on to resolve the Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite battle.
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Prices
The current Nintendo Switch model retails for $259.99 / £259.99 / AU$435, with a variety of bundle options available. For that price, you get the console, two Joy-Con controllers, a dock and associated cables. Bundles often include popular games like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Pokemon Sword and Shield, or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – all of which are great games to get you started.
Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch Lite retails on its own for $199.99 / £199.99 / AU$329.95. The console is focused on handheld gaming, so you don’t have a dock or detachable Joy-Con controllers (more on that later), but you can find bundles of the most popular titles at most retailers, with included games often adding an additional cost.
Bundles aside, the price of the console alone shows that, as you might expect, the Switch Lite is indeed cheaper than the original. If you’re not interested in the Switch’s TV-out capabilities, it’s worth saving money by opting for the Switch Lite, as it’ll be enough to get you a few more games.
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Design
Arguably, the main selling point of the Switch is the console’s versatility. When you transfer a game from your screen to your TV and back again, it’s instant and feels like magic. You can use the console to conquer Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on your morning commute, then connect the console when you get home and play with the standalone Joy-Con or Pro Controller.
Nintendo chose to forego this hybrid feature on the cheaper Nintendo Switch Lite. It has fixed Joy-Con controllers and can’t be connected to a TV – while this may be a deal breaker for many, we think it could be very attractive to new and existing customers.
For example, the bright colors really help give it a more toy-like feel, which will appeal to younger players. Between yellows, greys, corals and turquoises, there’s plenty of room to express yourself—though without trading joy for your inner satisfaction.
The lower price is great for those looking for a second device for younger kids, or just a console that’s more convenient to carry around — the more plastic-looking Switch Lite has fewer moving parts and looks better. Durable some it is versatile older brother.
Although the controllers have been restored, they offer essentially the same buttons as the original Switch — except the A, Y, B, and X buttons have been replaced by D-Pads — while some functionality has been removed, which we’ll get to shortly. Both models also allow for wireless connectivity, Bluetooth and MicroSD cards for an additional 32GB of console storage.
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Revealed
The Nintendo Switch features a 6.2-inch LCD display with a maximum resolution of 720p. With PlayStation and Xbox pushing higher and higher pixel counts, 720p is clearly unambitious, but the system’s plethora of high-quality exclusive content belies any technical flaws. Of course, you can also connect the console to a 1080p output: it’s not 4K, but it will be sharper when stretched on your TV or monitor.
The Switch Lite’s lower price point means the system has to make some cuts. While the display is still an LCD with capacitive touch (and hits the same 720p resolution), it’s slightly smaller than the original Switch at 5.5 inches. Still, fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the go is ideal for younger siblings.
Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Games
This is where things arguably get a little complicated, given the differences between the feature sets of the two consoles. Because the Switch Lite’s controllers are fixed, they don’t offer HD Rumble, motion controls, or the IR action cameras found on previous-model Joy-Cons. That means any game that requires these kits will require a wireless connection to an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers.
For example, this means that Snipperclips (along with the Plus version) and Mario Tennis Aces require additional controllers to play on the Nintendo Switch Lite. But that’s not all. Since many games require separate Joy-Con controllers, the following games will not work with the Switch Lite: Labo Kit, 1-2 Switch, and Super Mario Party.
Perhaps the biggest concern is that games could end up being incompatible with the Switch’s handheld mode, meaning you won’t be able to play them on the Switch Lite. It seems unlikely, but considering the world where the next big Mario platformer needs full Joy-Con support, you might feel like you’re missing out.
Also, consider that the Joy-Con can be charged by connecting to the Nintendo Switch or via a charging stand. If you only have the Lite, you’ll need to invest in a charging stand.
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: Software and interface
Easier to explain is the console’s interface. The Switch offers a clean, arguably bare-bones UI with only a handful of incremental updates over the past two years, while the Lite offers the same functionality. You can share screenshots, keep up with the latest Nintendo news, and access your settings just like on the full-featured Switch. This means you can have your friends list, your title and eShop at the push of a button.
No matter which Switch model you have, you can play multiplayer games like Splatoon 3 with friends, but a Nintendo Switch Online subscription is required. It currently costs $3.99/£3.49/AU$5.95 per month, $7.99/£6.99/AU$11.95 for 90 days, or $19.99/£17.99/AU$29.95 per year – a family plan with eight accounts will cost $34.99 / £31.49 / AUD 54.95.
Whether you own a Nintendo Switch or a Nintendo Switch Lite, you can enjoy online gaming, cloud storage, and member-only benefits. The big draw here is the ability to play NES games, while any masochist also has access to Nintendo’s uniquely awful smartphone app.
So there you have it, two Switch models ready for your next vacation. Which would you jump into? Thankfully, there’s a ton of great games you can play no matter which method you choose.