Switch Lite

When the Nintendo Switch launched in March of 2017, consumers really enjoyed the ability to take the device on the go. Many called it a home console and a handheld console, all in one. As people began to use their Switches more and more, it became quite clear the folks were playing in handheld mode the majority of the time.

When Nintendo announced the Switch Lite in July of 2019, and subsequently launched it in September of the same year, very few were surprised.

What is the Nintendo Switch Lite?

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a completely portable entertainment system that does not require a TV for play. It is part of the Nintendo Switch family, and plays almost all games that play on the standard Nintendo Switch console, with one notable exception we will dive into later. Everything is played on the 5.5-inch LCD screen that sports a 720p resolution. At only 275g, it is incredibly light and accessible for people of all ages.

The console comes with 32 GB of internal storage that can be upgraded by purchasing a micro SD card. I highly recommend getting a micro SD card as games will quickly fill the internal storage. For example, games like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity are 15.6 GB downloads from the Nintendo eShop.

When you open the box, your Switch Lite will include the system itself, a power cable, and product information guides. The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in four colours: turquoise, coral, yellow and grey.

Switch Lite

How does the Nintendo Switch Lite differ from the standard Nintendo Switch?

The biggest question that you might be faced with when looking to purchase a Nintendo Switch Lite console is determining how it differs from the standard, more expensive Nintendo Switch. There are a number of key differences, and I have compiled a handy list for ease of reading:

  • Switch Lite cannot be docked, and cannot be displayed on a television. This can be a negative for those who enjoy multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
  • The Nintendo Switch Lite features a traditional D-Pad on the left side of the device. This would be similar to what you would see on a regular gaming controller, and differs from the 4 button system used on the Nintendo Switch left Joy-Con controller.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite does not have detachable controllers like the standard Nintendo Switch. This means out of the box, the Nintendo Switch Lite can only be used by one person at a time.
  • Switch Lite has a smaller screen than the standard Nintendo Switch. The Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch screen and the standard Nintendo Switch has a 6.2-inch screen.
  • The Nintendo Switch Lite does not have a built in kickstand to stand the console up.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite is cheaper by more than $100 over the standard Nintendo Switch.

Is the Nintendo Switch Lite compatible with all Nintendo Switch Games?

The Nintendo Switch Lite is compatible with all Nintendo Switch games except Nintendo Labo. Many Nintendo Labo creations require the Nintendo Switch screen on its own, devoid of attached Joy-Con. Since the controls on the Nintendo Switch Lite are permanently a part of the console, it does not work with various Labo toys.

All other Nintendo Switch games will play on your Nintendo Switch Lite, but there is a hitch. Certain titles like 1-2 Switch and Super Mario Party require Joy-Con controllers to play. These controllers have special motion controls and an infrared sensor that interacts with these titles to create unique mini-games. As I noted in the previous section, the Nintendo Switch Lite does not ship with detachable Joy-Con controllers and therefore, these would need to be purchased separately to play specific games.

Even if you have access to Joy-Con controllers, certain games have been developed with a television in mind. While you can play Super Mario Party on your Nintendo Switch Lite, it might be tough for multiple players to see and play on the screen. And, without a built in kickstand like the standard Nintendo Switch, you will need to accommodate for that as well.

Switch Lite

Types of games available on Switch Lite

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Nintendo Switch Lite is that it’s not for hardcore gamers, and that’s it is more of a console for kids. While the system does sport great kid friendly titles like Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix, a variety of Pokemon games like Pokemon Let’s Go, Eevee! and Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu!, older teens and adults can find plenty to enjoy as well.

For those looking for a challenge, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Fire Emblem: Three Houses are deep strategy titles that will keep you thinking. For a more mature experience, Borderlands Legendary Collection and Bioshock: The Collection are fantastic experiences on the go.

Sports fans can also find something to play with titles like FIFA 21 Legacy Edition and Mario Tennis Aces. But there is nothing stopping everyone from enjoying long, single player adventures like Paper Mario: The Origami King! As you can see, Switch Lite has something for everyone. In the October 2020 Nintendo Direct: Partner Showcase, Nintendo even showed off the start of its Cloud gaming options, including the mega-hit Control. Cloud gaming will open up more options for Nintendo going forward, and for you as well!

Here is a list of even more great games on Nintendo Switch:

Who is the Nintendo Switch Lite For?

Games on the Nintendo Switch Lite range from E for Everyone to M for Mature, and everything in between. While I would not recommend giving to a very young child, children as young as 5 or 6 can enjoy great gaming experiences like New Super Lucky’s Tale or Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Older kids, teens, and adults will love titles like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Adults can indulge in sprawling open world role-playing games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, or play a more mature title like Doom Eternal.

While appropriate for all ages, no matter what their video game skill level, I have created a list of different gamers that the Nintendo Switch Lite is ideal for. You can find them listed below!

Switch Lite

List of different gamers that the Nintendo Switch Lite is ideal for

  • Always on the go player – if you spend long stretches of your day on the go, whether commuting to school or work, or waiting on family members at various appointments, the Switch Lite is the ideal system to keep you preoccupied when away from your house!
  • Single player – while it is true that most single player adventures do look better when displayed on your TV, the multiplayer limitations of the Nintendo Switch Lite make it ideal for someone who predominantly plays single player titles. I suggest titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey.
  • Already own a Nintendo Switch player – a lot of folks who already own a Nintendo Switch console are opting to purchase Nintendo Switch Lite consoles as well. Why? These players tend to keep their standard Nintendo Switch docked to their television, like a standard home console, while using their Nintendo Switch Lite on the go. While both versions of the Nintendo Switch are portable, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a much smaller device, and is more ideal for taking out of the home.
  • PlayStation and Xbox players – many folks have invested large amounts of money into PlayStation or Xbox systems, which have truly impressive titles that are not available on the Nintendo Switch. However, these same players love Mario, Zelda, and the rest of the Nintendo family as well. Since they likely are focused on their PlayStation and Xbox consoles while at home, having a Nintendo Switch Lite for on the go is the perfect way to enjoy exclusive Nintendo titles.

Nintendo Switch Lite is perfect for portable versatile gaming

As you can see, the Nintendo Switch Lite is perfect for portable versatile gaming. Nintendo has always worked hard to create devices and market them in such a way that they appeal to everyone. There are a wide variety of games that everyone can enjoy at home or on the go. Few companies bridge that gap from young-to-old like Nintendo.

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.