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Switch Lite vs. Switch: Full Comparison

Comparing the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite: Which Game Console is Right for You?

Hey there! If you‘re trying to decide between Nintendo‘s hit hybrid console, the Switch, and its handheld-focused sibling, the Switch Lite, you‘ve come to the right place. I‘ve owned both devices for years, so I‘m going to give you the full comparison to help you decide which console best fits your gaming needs and lifestyle.

An Overview of the Two Consoles

First, let‘s start with a quick rundown of each console:

Nintendo Switch

  • Release Date: March 3, 2017
  • Initial MSRP: $299
  • System Features:
    • 6.2" 720p LCD touchscreen
    • NVIDIA custom Tegra processor
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.1
    • USB-C charging
    • 4.5 – 9 hour battery life
    • Detachable Joy-Con controllers with HD rumble and motion sensors
    • IR Motion Camera
    • 720p video output via Dock
    • Weighs 0.88 lbs with Joy-Cons attached
    • 4.0 x 9.4 x 0.55 inches

Nintendo Switch Lite

  • Release Date: September 20, 2019
  • MSRP: $199
  • System Features:
    • 5.5" 720p LCD touchscreen
    • Same NVIDIA Tegra processor
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card support
    • Wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.1
    • USB-C charging
    • 3 – 7 hour battery life
    • Integrated controllers
    • Weighs 0.61 lbs
    • 3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches

As you can see, under the hood the consoles share a lot of key components like the NVIDIA processor and Bluetooth support. But the Switch Lite shaves off some features to slim down both its size and price.

Portability vs. Versatility

The main advantage of the Switch Lite is its enhanced portability. By integrating the Joy-Con controllers and shrinking the overall size, Nintendo made the console much easier to toss into a bag and game anywhere. I‘ve found the Switch Lite‘s compact form factor perfect for gaming on the go – it easily fits into pockets and doesn‘t weigh me down. Plus the smaller screen and battery help increase battery life compared to the Switch.

However, the Switch really flexes its versatility by offering multiple play modes powered by those detachable Joy-Cons. You can seamlessly switch between playing on the built-in screen, your TV at home via the dock, or in tabletop mode propped up using the kickstand. The ability to transition from handheld to TV or tabletop gaming provides a lot more flexibility. I often start playing a game portably on the Switch, then come home and dock it to keep playing on my TV without missing a beat. That‘s a great hybrid experience you just can‘t replicate on the handheld-only Switch Lite.

The Gaming Experience

The Switch Lite can play nearly all of the same games available on the regular Switch. But there are some exceptions:

  • 1-2 Switch – This party game relies heavily on the Joy-Con motion controls and HD rumble features not present on the Lite.
  • Just Dance – Dancing to songs is awkward without detached Joy-Cons to hold and wave around.
  • Nintendo Labo – The interactive DIY cardboard accessories require separate Joy-Cons to function.
  • Super Mario Party – Many mini-games need detached Joy-Cons for multiplayer.

In general, any games dependent on waving around the Joy-Cons or HD rumble just aren‘t the same. And of course, TV mode gives you a more immersive experience on a big screen compared to the Switch Lite‘s smaller handheld display. I‘d pass on the Lite if you really want those capabilities.

Target Audience

So who is each console best suited for? Here‘s my take:

Switch Lite – The $199 price makes the Lite very attractive for budget-focused gamers, especially parents looking for a gaming system for kids. The smaller size is also great for younger children‘s hands. If you primarily plan to play Nintendo games on the go rather than at home, the portability and lower cost are hard to beat. For example, my little cousin loves playing Pokémon on the Lite during long car rides.

Nintendo Switch – Avid gamers will appreciate the Switch‘s versatility and full features like HD rumble and detachable Joy-Cons. Hardcore Nintendo fans intent on experiencing everything the platform offers, or those who dock the console to a TV frequently should go for the full Switch. The ability to seamlessly transition from gaming on the TV to gaming on the go is also perfect for busy professionals and college students playing in multiple places.

The Bottom Line

While both consoles let you enjoy Nintendo‘s stellar game catalog, the Switch Lite offers greater portability and value at $100 less. But the flagship Switch‘s flexibility, full feature set, and TV connectivity provide a superior overall experience. At the end of the day, think about your gaming habits and where you want to play. The Switch Lite is great for handheld-focused gaming, while the versatile Nintendo Switch is the do-it-all console tailored more for avid gamers. Hopefully this full comparison helps you decide which one deserves a spot in your gaming arsenal!


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