If you’re looking at giving a Nintendo Switch this Christmas – either to a loved one or as a treat for yourself – there’s now a new one on the block to consider. So, which is the best fit for you, original Switch, or Switch Lite?
Originally labelled ‘Switch’ as it offers up three ways of playing – on your TV, on the road or on a tabletop – the arrival of the Switch Lite has changed things up. At its simplest though, the Switch Lite is aimed at being solely a portable machine. Think of the original Switch as a Wii U successor and the Switch Lite as a 3DS replacement and you’re on the right track.
Aiding portability, the Switch Lite is slightly smaller than the original Switch, but it makes all the difference between it fitting into a reasonably-sized pocket and not. Then there’s the weight. The original comes in at a chunky 400 grams, while the Lite is a svelte 280 grams (give or take the negligible weight of a game cartridge and MicroSD card). If you’ve ever had a serious session with an original Switch in handheld mode, then you’ll know what we mean when we say that the lightness of the Switch Lite will be appreciated by your hands, arms, shoulders…
So, other than vital statistics, what are the differences between the two machines? There are many.
For starters, that shrinking in size applies to the touchscreen too, but merely by .7 inches. However, the resolution remains the same.
“The big differences come down to the key aim of the Switch Lite being for gaming on the go.”
The big differences come down to the key aim of the Switch Lite being for gaming on the go. As such, the removable Joy-Con controllers – the fluoro red and blue (or grey) attachments either side of the screen on the original Switch – are built into the Switch Lite. This aids in the weight-saving and provides a more solid unit to hold on to, however it means that the Switch’s vibration – or ‘HD Rumble’ – and IR Motion Camera functions aren’t present in the Switch Lite. As such, a handful of games aren’t directly compatible with the newer machine, however Joy-Cons and even the seriously good Pro Controller can be paired via Bluetooth in order to play most of them – although that may be a tad awkward on the daily commute. They’ll also need their own means of charging.
The list of incompatible games is small, and mainly amounts to more active ones such as Super Mario Party, 1-2 Switch, Fitness Boxing, the Just Dance series, the recently released Ring Fit Adventure and most Labo sets.
Despite the necessary removal of these two functions from the new unit, the original Switch’s other super-cool tricks, such as the gyroscope, accelerometer and brightness sensor, are all present in the Switch Lite.
The other big difference, which we’ve already touched upon indirectly, is the inability to hook up a Switch Lite to your TV. Even if you have a Switch Dock, the smaller unit won’t actually fit in it – and if it did, it still wouldn’t provide a video signal.
Smaller things different with the Switch Lite include the lack of a kickstand, and the addition of a left-side D-pad in place of four separate buttons. This last feature will make many gamers very happy.
Ultimately, while in many ways the Switch Lite is stripped down from the original unit, it’s all to aid its main aim, which is to provide a much more portable experience for Switch gamers – and it certainly succeeds.
Look at the colours!
If colour matters to you, then you have a raft of choices whether you opt for the original Switch or the Switch Lite. The former comes with either fluoro red and blue or relatively drab grey Joy-Cons as standard, however many more colours of Joy-Con are available separately. There have even been some special edition console units – mind you, they tend to sell out fairly quickly.
The Switch Lite has launched in yellow, turquoise and grey, and there’s already been a fancy special edition Pokémon Zacian & Zamazenta edition in light grey with blue and pink highlights.
At a glance
+ Connects to television
+ Kickstand for tabletop play
+ Compatible with all games
+ HD Rumble + IR Motion Camera
+ 4.5-9 hours battery life
+ RRP $469
+ More kid-friendly
+ 3-7 hours battery life
+ RRP $329
In the box
– Switch unit
– Switch Dock
– 2x Joy-Con controllers
– 4x Joy-Con straps
– Joy-Con grip (non-charging)
– USB-C cable
– HDMI cable
– Switch Lite unit
– AC power adaptor
Gotta catch ’em all!
A game system needs games, and if you’re looking for stocking stuffers to accompany a Switch then we reckon these are ten of the absolute must-haves.
Super Mario Odyssey
Mario’s latest adventure isn’t just the best Switch game, but one of the best games ever.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Link gets Switch action in this incredibly vast combination of open-world action and adventure.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Mario and an ever-expanding roster of characters go the biff in this latest iteration of the series.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Get ready to take on the Mushroom Kingdom’s finest drivers in Nintendo’s latest racing treat.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Mario’s little bro gets his own adventure, ghost-busting a haunted hotel in order to rescue his pals.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
If you like stunning graphics with your cute platforming fun, then Yoshi’s the dinosaur for you!
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Toad and friends take starring roles in this captivating – and often challenging – puzzle game.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
BWAH! The Rabbids have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom, in a strategy game for all ages.
The brightly-hued answer to all those drab shooters, get busy ink-spattering your adversaries.