Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

On September 20, Nintendo released the Switch Lite, a fully portable version of its flagship console. Despite the fact that the word Switch remains in the name of the novelty, Lite does not have a mode switch: you cannot disconnect the “joycons” from it, as well as display the image on the TV. It’s a console for those who like to play on the go, Nintendo claims, selling it for $200 (16,500 rubles in Russia), a third cheaper than the original. And what is this Switch?  Nintendo Switch Lite review

While the Switch Lite is portable, it’s nowhere near as compact as the old 3DS, and only slightly smaller than the classic version. Another difference between the two Switches that immediately catches your eye is color reproduction: the Lite has the same color reproduction as the original console, while the new revision (pictured) has warmer colors.

What gamers want

“Switch without switching modes” sounds like an oxymoron, but the news about the release of a fully portable version hardly surprised anyone – after all, Nintendo has already released a 3DS without 3D. True, if the owners of that console usually turned off the vaunted “3D without glasses” on the day of purchase and did not use it anymore, then the Switch’s key feature seemed to appeal to its buyers. In the sociological survey The State of Switch 2019, one of the questions was “Which mode do you play more often in?”, And the answers of the respondents were distributed approximately equally: 51% for the TV mode, 47% for the portable mode. Interestingly, in another question from the same study, “Which console revision would you prefer – powerful and expensive or small and cheap?”, 90% of Switch owners surveyed chose the first option. Nintendo, however, has opted to release the Switch Lite, with no Pro version on the horizon just yet.

By the name of the console, it may seem that it is just a budget version of its “big sister”, from which everything that was possible was thrown out without adding anything in return. This is not so – Nintendo, advertising the new product as a travel console, tried to adjust it to the needs of portable gaming. Firstly, Lite has a higher screen brightness (its 50% approximately corresponds to the maximum on the original) – the most for playing outdoors on a sunny day. Secondly, it is a quarter lighter (275 grams versus 397) – the hands will start to get tired much later, if they start at all. Thirdly, it is more compact: the screen diagonal has decreased to the size of a mobile phone – from 6.2 to 5.5 inches. However, I can’t say that this is enough: the Lite does not fit in my jacket pocket. Pants, even more so.

For the handheld console, many of the well-known shortcomings of the original version are true. If the backlash of the joycons, fortunately, is not observed (no removable parts – no problem), then some Lite owners began to complain about the “drift” of the sticks after 20 hours of play. And if no one expected Full HD resolution from a portable console, then the lack of support for Bluetooth headphones seems archaic.

And what is this Switch?  Nintendo Switch Lite review

To travel with the Switch Lite, you’ll need a case. In stores, I managed to find only one, the most impractical, coloring – be prepared for the fact that the snow-white case will quickly lose its gloss and become covered with spots.

plastic baby

The weight of the console was reduced primarily by reducing the battery capacity. At the same time, a new version of the NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip with reduced power consumption is responsible for computing in Lite, so that the console is able to work without recharging even longer than the original Switch, but less than its updated revision. Nintendo claims the Lite lasts between three and seven hours on a charge. In the case of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, for example, at 25% brightness, the console lasted four. The game itself at the same time feels exactly the same as on the “big” console.

A lot of good things have already been said about the impressive size of the library of games for Switch, and they are true for Lite too: everything that runs on the original console works on the portable one. The exceptions are only entertainment for a company like 1-2-Switch, where removable joycons are needed. (No one forbids, however, to connect a couple more controllers to the Lite, but why?) That a quarter-kilogram portable console is capable of running games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, wonderful in itself, and the heating of the console during operation is almost not felt.

And what is this Switch?  Nintendo Switch Lite review

The material from which the Lite is made is much more pleasant to the touch than the glossy plastic of the original. Another nice little thing is that the crosspiece of the portable version is much more convenient than four separate buttons.

Games in bed

It’s a console for those on the go, Nintendo says, but all the characters in the promotional material posted on the company’s official website play the Lite at home, indoors. This is how, in my opinion, the console should be used: instead of going somewhere on a trip, I want to lie down on the sofa with Lite, cover myself with a blanket and not get up until spring.

Fortunately, there will be enough games for Switch for our century: for the first time in several generations of Nintendo consoles, third-party developers are actively replenishing the game base. True, sometimes it seems that the studios do not even try to adapt their creations for the small screen of a portable console, leaving the interface elements tiny and the font small. Playing on the move is already harmful to the eyes and vestibular apparatus, and if the game forces you to peer into the details, then it is better to forget once and for all about launching it on the road. However, these claims do not apply to the console itself, and the Nintendo Switch Lite itself is, without a doubt, an outstanding device.

And what is this Switch?  Nintendo Switch Lite review

I don’t know what Team Cherry was thinking when they released this port of Hollow Knight on the Switch, but most of the in-game text is almost impossible to read on the small Lite screen. Trying to make out tiny letters is a sure way to get yourself into trouble with your eyesight.

***

Should you buy Lite? If you already have a working Switch, then this probably makes little sense: the portable revision adds too little to the original. If you like party games or plan to record and stream gameplay, feel free to pass by too – the novelty does not have these features.

The target audience of the new console is those gamers who have not yet had time to get a Switch and do not see the benefits of TV mode for themselves. For lying on the bed, Lite is the best choice due to its light weight, and if you are going to use the console for a long time away from home, then also take a closer look at the improved revision of the “big” Switch, which holds a charge longer. As a gift for a child, Lite is definitely better than the classic version: it is monolithic, and it is more difficult to disable it.

Lite costs less than the original, so feel free to buy it if you want to save money. Remember, however, that for each game, in any case, you will have to pay a tidy sum. However, getting yourself a Switch is always a good idea. First, there is no other portable device in the world capable of running Dark Souls and all parts of DOOM. Secondly, Nintendo exclusives have consistently received high marks from our critics – for example, the amazing remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was recently released for Switch.

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