In a world where everything seems to be getting bigger and more powerful – the PS5 remains one of the greatest consoles ever released – the Nintendo Switch Lite stands out, even among handhelds. Nintendo, it seems, has downgraded the Switch to its handheld-only version, somewhat defeating the purpose of its namesake.
While the Switch Lite offers nearly everything the regular Switch does, it feels like the console family is dated. So is it really worth buying a Switch Lite? We explain its advantages and disadvantages.
Reasons to buy a Switch Lite console
Not sure if you should buy the Switch Lite? Here’s what the console has in its corner.
1. The Switch Lite is portable
The Switch Lite is probably the right size to take with you on the go. It slips easily into a backpack and the fact that it has no removable parts adds to its portability.
2. You get a compact console
At around eight and a quarter inches long, the Switch Lite is a bit smaller than the regular Switch, but bigger than Sony’s PS Vita. The controls are still big enough to feel substantial, and the console itself isn’t too big to make it inconvenient to carry around on your travels.
3. 720p resolution
While other Switch models offer 1080p resolution, this is only available in docked mode. Even the Steam Deck, which can transform into a full gaming PC, has a comparable screen resolution (1280 x 800 pixels). Only the Asus ROG Phone 5 does better, with a screen of 2448 x 1080 pixels.
4. Enjoy a lightweight console
Although it’s a bit larger than the original PS Vita Wi-Fi, the Switch Lite is only slightly heavier: 0.61 to 0.57 pounds. Your long gaming sessions won’t be tiring or uncomfortable.
5. The Switch Lite is relatively cheap
At $200, the Switch Lite is very good value for money. It’s still significantly cheaper than other handhelds, the Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Phone 5. So if you’re focused directly on portable gaming, the console is a budget choice.
6. You get decent battery life
Nintendo estimates that gamers can get three to seven hours of gameplay from the Switch Lite, which is a bit better than the PS Vita and way better than the Steam Deck. (Our tests found the console can drain in just 90 minutes, but there are ways to extend the Steam Deck’s battery life.)
7. Eye-catching color choices as standard
The Switch Lite is for those who like to show off their colorful personalities. There is no denying that the Switch in yellow, blue, turquoise or red looks great.
It is a blessing for any player. A D-pad allows for quick and precise directional button presses, so it’s perplexing why some manufacturers leave them out of their consoles. The Switch Lite gives you a sense of security in the game, especially when you need to use diagonals.
9. Four trigger buttons
Few handheld consoles can boast full home console controls. The Switch Lite’s four trigger buttons add a bit more in-game versatility.
Reasons to avoid the Switch Lite
For all its positives, the Switch Lite has some flaws. You must know them before deciding to buy.
1. Smaller screen (5.5 inches)
Repositioning the Lite to make it more portable means you get a smaller screen than the regular Switch. It can change the experience, especially if you are used to playing on the original.
2. Misplaced charging port
With the Lite, the charging port is located at the bottom. This makes it impractical to game while charging, which, coupled with the three to seven hours of battery life, means you’d better make sure your system is powered up before embarking on a long gaming session. For this reason alone, the Switch Lite is anchored at certain points.
3. Game compatibility
It’s one of those that could be considered a pro as much as it could be a cons. Almost everything available for the Switch is technically capable of running on the handheld, but there are some games you really shouldn’t play on the Switch Lite.
Games that require you to have a Joy-Con in your hand while you follow on-screen dance prompts, for example, won’t be fun on the Lite. Likewise, other social games will be better experienced on the home console.
4. Limited Controller Functionality
If you compare it with the regular Switch, you could say that the Switch Lite leaves something to be desired in terms of controller features. It lacks motion controls and rumble abilities. The gaming experience, while designed for portability, eats away at immersion.
The Switch was intended to do two things: transition from home console to portable console, and enable social gaming. While you can technically play games with family and friends on the Switch Lite, you’ll need to purchase additional controllers.
6. Playing in split-screen is difficult, if not impossible
The console’s small screen is the most fun to play split-screen games (assuming you’ve connected external controllers). The small screen just isn’t suited for cooperative or social play.
7. No cooperation support
Let’s say you’ve decided to play a co-op game on the Switch Lite, ignoring advice to the contrary. The console doesn’t have a kickstand, so you’ll have to lay it flat or find something to brace it against, which isn’t very practical.
Should you buy the Nintendo Switch Lite in 2022?
There really isn’t much going on in the handheld realm. Yes, there’s the mighty Steam Deck with its vast library of games and the still-popular PS Vita, however, Nintendo has found a cozy little niche that the Switch Lite fits into almost seamlessly.
It won’t be your first choice if you want ultra-high definition visuals, next-gen power, and everything home gaming has to offer. But if you’re looking for a purely portable gaming experience and also love Nintendo games, the Switch Lite should be a great addition to your console collection. Its price and the fact that it can play almost any game in Nintendo’s lineup makes it an attractive option.
If this is going to be your first Switch, though, you’d probably be better off saving up for the original or OLED model – there are still good reasons to get a Nintendo Switch. It offers the versatility of a scrambled home console with a touch of portability.
Which switch model is right for you?
The Switch Lite may be appealing not least because of its price, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering your options.
There really is a lot you can take from Nintendo’s Switch lineup, whether you’re primarily playing at home or on the go. So compare and contrast before diving into Nintendo’s latest, albeit somewhat dated, line of consoles.