We all knew it was coming and now Nintendo has officially announced the Switch Lite – a smaller and cheaper version of the Switch we have known and loved since 2017. The new system will launch in the United States on September 20th with a retail price of $199 USD – that is $100 cheap than the original version of the Switch. It has a 5.5 inch screen (compared to the 6.2 inch screen of the older model Switch) and weighs a little over half a pound. The entire device is roughly the same size as the regular Switch with its JoyCon controllers removed. As you can see from the cover image of this article, the Switch Lite comes in Grey, Yellow or Turquoise colors.
While a cheaper and easier to carry Nintendo Switch certainly sounds like an attractive prospect, the smaller form factor means you will be giving up a few features. For one thing, there is no way to connect the Switch Lite to your television. There is no cable to connect it to a television nor is there a dock. There isn’t even a way to wirelessly stream gameplay from the console to a nearby TV.
There are also no removable JoyCons on the Switch Lite. The controllers are integrated into the device itself. This means you will not be able to hand a JoyCon to your friend for some local multiplayer action and you certainly will not be playing 1-2-Switch with only this console. You will also be giving up HD Rumble and the IR camera in the right JoyCon. To be fair, you can sync up a JoyCon controller with the Switch Lite to play games that require these features but the cost and extra bulk of an additional JoyCon will negate the price and portability advantages of the new console.
On the plus side, the Switch Mini can boast an actual D-Pad on the left side of the device. No more dealing with the directional buttons we usually get on the JoyCon. I reached out to Nintendo to clarify is a Switch Pro controller or any Bluetooth controller could be used with the Switch Lite. They have not responded as of this writing. You will also get Amiibo support, a USB-C port (it uses the same charger as the regular Switch) and a headphone jack. Local multiplayer matches will work across both the Switch and Switch Lite.
Given the fact that the Switch Lite will not play every game in the Switch library, you will need a quick way to determine if a title is compatible with the new system. Fortunately, Nintendo has already taken care of this. You can look at the back of the box or eShop description for any Switch game and look for an icon that says “Handheld Mode”. The Switch Lite will play any game that supports Handheld Mode including the bonus games you get with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
If you think you might prefer the regular version of the Switch – don’t fret. The two systems will be sold simultaneously for the foreseeable future. “We believe the two systems will complement each other and coexist in the market,” said Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser when talking to CNet.
You can watch the Switch Lite announcement video for yourself below: