Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch: what’s new, what’s still the same?

nintendo switch lite 1

The cheaper, lighter and much simpler Nintendo Switch for handheld gaming enthusiasts on a budget is finally here. Called the Nintendo Switch Lite, the console draws its inspiration from the Switch’s positive portable aspects, and ditches the other bits. But just how different, and how alike, are these two devices? We take a look below.

Smaller, lighter, less complicated

Yeah, Lite actually means more than one thing this time around.

The Nintendo Switch Lite weighs in at 275 grams. Its bigger brother is nearly 400 grams. That difference doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re gaming on a handheld system, every gram of weight feels like a kilo after three hours.

With the Joy-Cons attached, the Switch is also bigger, at nearly 24cm long, 10cm tall and 1.4cm deep. The Switch Lite is just under 21cm across, just over 9cm tall, and 1.3cm deep.

No dock: the Switch Lite is handheld only

The Switch Lite is a handheld console. That’s all it ever will be. Everything is fixed and immovable within the body. It’s controllers won’t slide in and out.

And because of this — most importantly — users won’t be able to use the Switch Lite as a TV gaming console. There’s no TV out ability.

Nintendo also notes that it lacks audio out — that’s right, no headphone jack. It should, however, support wireless headphone connectivity though. But that remains to be seen.

GPU can’t throttle up, as there’s no dock

The Switch, when docked, gets power from the wall which allows the console’s Nvidia-made GPU to step-up its GPU clockspeed. This means resolution gains beyond the 720p output the console normally uses in portable mode.

The Nintendo Switch Lite doesn’t have this luxury, so expect titles to perform similarly to the Switch when it’s undocked.

It’s not clear if the Lite’s GPU does stretch its legs a bit when it’s connected to the wall though.

Different outside, mostly the same inside

That said, both systems share the same guts, based on Nvidia’s Tegra X1 platform, with 32GB of internal storage, microSD card support, and 4GB of RAM.

Both also use eight-core ARM-based CPUs, with one bank of four ARM Cortex-A57 cores, and anothe four ARM Cortex-A53 cores.

USB-C ports for charging on both

That means the charging cable you use for your Switch — or flagship phone, for that matter — can work on the Switch Lite. Not the dock though, unfortunately.

Switch Game Cards work on both

The Switch Lite also uses Switch Game Cards. So immediately, if you have a Switch collection, there’s no need to purchase additional physical media for the Switch Lite.

The Switch Lite ditches motion controls

The Switch Lite lacks the motion sensors present on the Switch’s removable Joy-Cons. This means you won’t be able to play titles like 1-2-Switch on the console, or any other title that requires motion controls.

Battery size takes a hit

The Switch features a 4310mAh battery, but the Switch Lite makes do with a 3570mAh battery.

‘Breath of the Wild’ is playable for up to four hours on one charge

Nintendo suggests that the Switch Lite will be able to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for around four hours before another charge is needed. It can however go up to six hours between charges, but this depends on how graphically intense the game is, or if you’re using wireless connectivity.

The Switch Lite comes in three colours

That’s Yellow, Grey, and Turquoise for those wondering. The lineup of shades isn’t as exciting as the Switch’s, but expect more limited edition Switch Lites to have more luminous and attractive colours.

It launches at $200 on 20 September (in South Africa too)

Here’s the biggest attraction. The console’s nearly $100 cheaper than the Switch proper, making it an attractive investment for those wanting a 3DS upgrade.

It’ll be available in South Africa from 20 September, but the price has yet to be announced by Nintendo South Africa.

Feature image: Nintendo

Andy Walker, former editor


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