Finally, the rumor about Nintendo working on a new kind of Switch proves to be true with the announcement of the new version of Switch, ‘Nintendo Switch Lite’. The new Lite console is a smaller and much cheaper Switch built exclusively for handheld play and also to increase the portability of the device. The new device comes in at $199- which is exactly $100 less than the base unit-but for that price you get a streamlined version of the Switch with some features stripped away from the console like the connectivity to TVs via HDMI or USB-C. It’s significantly lighter, and the difference was noticeable, particularly when you pick up an original Switch afterward.
The Switch Lite features a 5.5-inch screen which is downsized as compared to the 6.2-inch screen of the base model of Switch Console. However, downsizing the screen will not lower the quality of the console meaning the company will stick to the standard resolution of 720p.
According to Nintendo, the Lite features “slightly” improved battery life making it last approximately 30 minutes longer than the OG Switch. Perhaps more notably, Nintendo is saying you’ll get four hours of Zelda playtime instead of three, which suggests a more efficient processor setup, especially for more power-intensive games. Additionally, the Switch Lite will no longer be able to connect to TVs via USB-C and HDMI, this means that the Switch Lite is being positioned as a purely handheld platform, as opposed to a hybrid like the original. Despite that, it will still bear the Switch name.
Alongside downsizing of display and non-connectivity via USB and HDMI, the Bluetooth headset support has also been taken away from the Lite version of the Switch, though the headphone port is still there. Another major change in the cheaper version of the console is the non-detachable Joy-Con controllers. The IR motion camera found in the hilt of one of the Joy-Cons has also been dropped in the Lite iteration. Barring 1-2-3 Switch, it’s difficult to come up with many games that tapped this hardware feature since launch. Nintendo has swapped out the four small buttons that serve as the directional inputs on the Joy-Cons for a traditional D-pad.
So overall, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a leaner version of the existing Switch model that sacrifices some features but slashes $100 off that system’s price tag; it sells for $200 in the US. It releases on September 20 in a trio of colors, with a special-edition Pokémon version arriving in the US on November 8th, decorated with cyan and magenta buttons with two new Legendary Pokémon engraved across the back.