Nintendo Switch Lite Review
A few months ago, Nintendo invited us to Toronto, Ontario to experience the Nintendo Switch Lite for the very first time. While our time with the device then was pretty short – we had about an hour or so to play a few upcoming Nintendo Switch titles – we did get to pump out a few early impressions, which I’ve copied below.
Who’s Buying the Nintendo Switch Lite?
Our first take from that preview was, “Who is buying a Nintendo Switch Lite?” Here is what we said about it then,
“There are millions of gamers out there who own an Xbox One and/or a PlayStation 4, and consider those their ‘home consoles.’ Perhaps these gamers have owned a Sony PSP, or even a Nintendo 3DS at one point. Those were their ‘portable consoles.’ In a world where the Nintendo 3DS is slowly fading into memory (a place the PSP has been for 5+ years) there is a wide open market for a handheld, portable system at a portable system price. Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite, wisely priced around $250.00 and carrying all the same gameplay functionality of the dockable unit.”
Our early take was probably spot on, but minimized the impact the Nintendo Switch Lite would have on the already entrenched Nintendo Switch community. I for one – an owner of two Nintendo Switch units already – was on the fence about getting one. Before this review unit arrived, I was about to put down the $259.99 and purchase a Lite for my 9 year old son, just so he wouldn’t hog my wife and I’s units. But after getting it unboxed, and playing through a number of upcoming review titles – Construction Simulator 2, Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and Super Lucky’s Tale – I was instantly sold that when playing in handheld, this is the premier Nintendo Switch experience.
Build Quality and Specifications
The biggest reason why I only play handheld on the Nintendo Switch Lite is how good it feels in my hands. The smaller screen isn’t even a detraction for me, because the form of the device in the hands is just perfect, and the weight is right in that sweet spot between two light and cheap feeling, and too heavy to hold up for long periods of time.
The screen is slightly smaller than the original Nintendo Switch, coming in at 5.5 inches, compared to the 6.2 inch original screen. However, a smaller screen shouldn’t be a major problem, especially as Nintendo markets this as a portable handheld system. You are still looking at a screen much larger than that of the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo Switch Lite offers a slightly better battery life than the original Switch, giving players 3-7 hours of battery life – this is not as good as the update Nintendo Switch which is available now at retail, which boasts a battery life of 4.5-9 hours.
It does come down to how it feels when you hold it, however. It’s more comfortable than using a regular Nintendo Switch with detachable Joy-Con controllers. The slightly smaller form factor is more conducive to traveling and storing, and doesn’t feel so bulky, especially when I take it out on flights, and when I’m sitting in that dreaded middle seat!
Premium On the Go Gaming Experience
Using a Nintendo Switch on the go has never been a problem but it’s still a bit bulkier than you might like if you are out and about and it’s a bit awkward to hold; I frequently had hand cramps from trying to conform to Nintendo’s design. When playing the Nintendo Switch Lite, it was obvious that Nintendo made comfort a top priority, as this feels 10x better than the original Nintendo Switch. Having the controllers tied directly into the screen gives it a much more durable feel, and it forms to your hands better than the original, a positive side effect of the controls not having to function as a standalone controller. The longer battery life is a bonus when charging options are not readily available.
After owning the Nintendo Switch Lite for one week, I quickly realized I’ve never actually taken my original Nintendo Switch off the dock. When I’m watching the Maple Leafs at night, I’m now leaving the original Switch where it is, and picking up the Nintendo Switch Lite to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Super Lucky’s Tale.
After a week with the Nintendo Switch Lite, I’m happy to say that it really is for anyone and everyone. Own a switch? This is a great handheld alternative so you can leave your original docked. Don’t own a Switch? You can get a much cheaper console here. Primarily play on Xbox One or PS4? The Nintendo Switch Lite is the perfect companion to your primary home console.
I thought Nintendo was brilliant releasing this console, but now I’m thinking they have hit next level. Leave it to Nintendo to know what fans and potential fans want out of a console. This is it, and this is amazing!