REDMOND, Wash. – Nintendo has announced a hardware revision to its popular Nintendo Switch console that makes it a little slimmer, slightly less feature-rich and a lot cheaper. The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20 and costs $200, a sharp drop from the original model, which retails for $300.
The cost reduction comes at the expense of some features. The Nintendo Switch is able to “switch” between a docked mode where it connects to your TV for a big-screen experience and a handheld mode for playing on the go. The Switch Lite is a handheld-only system, removing the docking ability entirely. It’s also smaller than the original, and the controllers no longer detach, among some other functionality differences.
The Nintendo Switch Lite will come in three colors at launch — Yellow, Gray and Turquoise. Another model with colors and art inspired by the upcoming games Pokemon Sword and Shield will follow on November 8 at the same price. For those who currently own a Nintendo Switch, the company is planning to let users transfer their data to the new system.
Nintendo is known for offering hardware revisions, especially to its handheld models. The Nintendo DS was followed by the DS Lite, and similarly, the Nintendo 3DS was followed by multiple models including the “2DS” that removed the 3D functionality. Rumors have circulated in recent months that Nintendo was preparing a budget handheld Switch model, along with another model aimed at power users.
What’s The Same?
Like the original Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite can play almost all of the same games. Some, like Nintendo’s 1-2 Switch, will require separate Joy-Con controllers to play. The button layout, internal hardware, battery life and charging time are all roughly equivalent to the original Nintendo Switch model. It also has the same amount of onboard storage, 32GB, which can be expanded with a microSD card.
The headphone port has remained in place unchanged for this revision. Though the Switch Lite has attached controllers, you can still connect separate Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller to the device for multiplayer or games that require their unique functionality.
Most significantly, of course, is that the Switch Lite removes the docking functionality of the original model that let it display on a TV. Various other changes range from the cosmetic to the functional.
The Switch Lite sports a smaller screen (5.5-inch vs 6.2-inch) and is lighter (275g vs 400g). The controllers are no longer detachable, and as a result, the “HD Rumble” and IR motion sensors in the Joy-Cons are no longer present. The controller arguably received an improvement, however, as the directional buttons have been swapped for a traditional D-pad design. The kickstand piece has also been removed from the back of the device.
Nintendo notes that you should check the game packaging to make sure it is compatible with the Switch Lite. Games that are compatible will have a small handheld logo on the back of the box. Nintendo Labo, a product line centered around building cardboard pieces that hold your Switch and Joy-Con controllers, will not work with Switch Lite due to the smaller size.