Nintendo Switch Lite: Our First Look

Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo did a thing today. Sure they release the Switch Lite which is cool, but… The larger story was Nintendo hammering the last nail in the coffin of the 3DS and 2DS. The Switch light is now Nintendo’s main handheld. Here are our first thoughts.

The first thing that you will notice is the size. It’s noticeably smaller compared to the original Switch. Even the packaging is significantly smaller but that makes sense because you don’t get a dock. The small size isn’t really a bad thing though. The Lite fits comfortable in the hand. It’s slightly easier to carry and probably the best part of being smaller is the screen. Let me explain.

Switch Lite New Display

Switch Lite

The screen on the Switch Lite is a half-inch smaller when compared to the original. The upside to the screen shrinking is the resolution stays the same. All said the smaller screen more tightly packs in the pixels. The result is a screen that actually looks better at all resolutions. Another thing that you might notice is the screen on the Lite has a slightly warmer hue. In my opinion, neither screen tone looks better compared to the other.

Another benefit of the Switch Lite is the battery life. Compared to the original switch you should get about an hour-long playtime. This is due in part to the revised more efficient CPU/GPU. The Lite also doesn’t need to charge Joy-cons or power rumble motors. If you compare it to the revised (red box) version of the switch the Lite gets about an hour less on a charge.

Switch Lite Has No Video Output

The largest omission is the lack of a video output dock. It is the only thing that would give me pause if I was looking for my first switch. Yes, the Switch Lite ditches the dock as well as the hardware that allows video output. A few others have tried various docks and again you get NO video output. The Switch Lite is made to be handheld only. Nintendo and a few 3rd party companies make docks that will charge and give you USB inputs to connect wired controllers.

No IR, No Rumble, No Problem

The Switch Lite does NOT have the 3D rumble feature. Nintendo pushed the rumble feature hard at the Switch`s launch over 2 years ago. The Lite is also missing the infrared camera that you get on the right Joy-con. Both of those features won’t really be missed by most users. I personally never used the IR camera and if I did it would have been with Labo. As far as the 3D rumble I can’t remember the last time I felt my Switch rumble. Maybe it does and I haven’t noticed, but that further proved my point that it won’t be missed. The lack of those extra components not only brought down the cost but the weight as well. Less weight means more playtime before your arms get tired. That could make the Switch Lite a better portable experience for many people.

While we are talking about controllers its important to note that all existing Switch controllers will work on the Lite. Wired remotes will need a USB C adapter or one of the docks with USB outputs. Before I move on I want to say it again, there is no video output. Playing multiplayer games will be much more fun on the original switch connected to the T.V. The ability to connect multiple controllers is really only there in my opinion to allow you the ability to play solo with the nicer pro-style controllers.


Let me bring it all together and prove my point. Nintendo stops the production of some of the 3DS months ago. So the writing has been on the wall. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the newest Pokemon game is not on the DS. That is huge. Now every fan of the Pokemon franchise will be forced to purchase a new handle held for the first time in years. Again, the fact they made a special edition Pokemon switch lite is telling. Going forward Nintendo and 3rd party studio will be focusing on the Switch consoles.

Side Note: All controls and buttons are in the same location as the original Switch. The exception is the D-pad instead of buttons. So are the vents for the fan, the SD card, and game slot.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Nintendo Switch Lite is a fantastic variant of the Nintendo Switch. I personally play my launch switch handheld 95% of the time. If I knew the way I’d be playing and I was buying Switch today. I’d probably save the $100 and buy the Switch Lite. No doubt.

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