Nintendo Switch Lite vs Nintendo Switch

Switch Lite vs Switch

Switch Lite vs Switch

Nintendo has announced a new addition to the Nintendo Switch family. The handheld focused Nintendo Switch Lite. Making everyone ask how is the new Nintendo Switch Lite vs the original Nintendo Switch.

The Switch Lite is a smaller, cheaper Switch. Focused on handheld gameplay. With none of the features needed for tabletop or TV gameplay. If you are only interested in handheld gaming the compromises aren’t bad. The smaller 5.5-inch screen is the biggest drawback.

In late 2017 a Nintendo financial presentation stated 30% of Switch owners spent all their time in either handheld or tabletop mode. The new Switch Lite is aiming for similar new customers. Its reduced cost also makes it attractive as a second Switch for some households. And to potentially new Switch owners, where $300 was a barrier.

Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo SwitchNintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch DimensionsNintendo Switch Lite Dimensions
Play ModesHandheld
Tabletop can be fudged with a separate stand and Joy-Cons/controller
Game CompatibilityAll gamesAny game with Handheld Mode support
Included Controllers1 pair Joy-Cons

Up/down/left/right buttons on left Joy-Con

HD Rumble
Built-in controllers

D-pad on left controller
Optional ControllersJoy-Cons, Pro Controller, Poké Ball PlusJoy-Cons, Pro Controller, Poké Ball Plus
DockIncludedNot included, will not output video, charging unknown
Charger39W USB-C PD
5V/1.5A, 15V/2.6A
Reports are same charger included
Dimensions4 x 9.4 x 0.55 inches
102 x 239 x 14 mm
3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches
91 x 208 x 14 mm
Weight14 oz
397 grams
With Joy-Cons attached
9.7 oz
275 grams
Screen6.2-inch LCD
Multi-touch capacitive touch screen
5.5-inch LCD
Multi-touch capacitive touch screen
Resolution1,280 x 7201,280 x 720
Brightness ControlAdaptive brightness
CPUNVIDIA Custom Tegra processorNVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Optional microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC memory card
Optional microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC memory card
Game Card SlotNintendo Switch game cardsNintendo Switch game cards
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
2.4GHz, 5GHz
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
2.4GHz, 5GHz
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
No Bluetooth headset support
Bluetooth 4.1
No Bluetooth headset support
3.5mm audio jack
3.5mm audio jack
Motion IR Camera (R Joy-Con)
Battery4310mAh lithium-ion3570mAh lithium-ion
Battery LifeHAC-001: ~2.5-6.5 hours

HAC-001(-01): ~4.5-9 hours
~3-7 hours
Charging Time3 hours, asleep
3.5 hours, playing
3 hours, asleep
Release DateHAC-001: March 3, 2017

HAC-001(-01): August 2019
September 20, 2019

The advantages of the Switch Lite are size, weight, and cost. The $100 price difference will be the single biggest deciding factor for most. Is the trade offs worth saving $100 to you?

Battery Life and Charging the Switch Lite

The Switch Lite has a smaller battery, but better battery life. This is due to several factors:

  • Smaller screen
  • Manual brightness controls likely mean less average brightness over time
  • New CPU may be smaller, making it more power-efficient
  • No Joy-Con batteries to recharge (less efficient than powering a built-in controller)

The vents are smaller, giving a better flow to the body’s design. Smaller vents mean less heat. And less heat means better power efficiency. So the simple answer is Nintendo has made the Switch Lite more efficient. That allowed them to use a smaller battery to save space, weight, and cost. While meeting and surpassing previous user experiences.

Reports are the Switch Lite includes the same charger as the Switch. That would make things easier for Nintendo. If indeed the case then we can expect the Switch Lite will charge like the Switch. But will it have the same charging quirks?

We know the Switch Lite won’t output video with a Switch dock. We don’t know if it’ll charge from the dock or not. That would be convenient for multi-Switch households. But given issues with some third-party docks, Nintendo may want to avoid docking. We’ll have to wait and see.

Both the Switch and Switch Lite have a 3 hour recharge time (while sleeping) listed by Nintendo. That is interesting, given the Lite’s battery is 18% smaller. It could be the Lite charges at a slower rate. Or has a worse voltage conversion. We’ll need to see what the nominal voltage is for the internal battery. Either way, the recharge experience should be the same as with the current Switch.

It would be surprising if a charger that works with the Switch didn’t also work with the Switch Lite.

Transferring Game Saves Between Switch and Switch Lite

Currently, there isn’t a quick and easy method to move yours gave saves between Switches. You can plug two Switches together and transfer a user account. This takes time and the account disappears from the other Switch. You can restore a backup from Nintendo Switch Online, but again it is a full download. And the account can only sync from one Switch.

Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America told CNet:

Yes, you will have the ability to transfer between devices, your gameplay experiences. More to come on there, but that is the intention.

My guess is a cloud sync system that is bi-directional, using Nintendo Switch Online. If you subscribe to NSO your game saves sync to the cloud when you launch and close them. To work between devices they will need to add a sync download, as well as the upload.

There is also the question of games that currently don’t back up to the cloud. Splatoon and Pokémon don’t back up for cheat prevention reasons.

As Nintendo said, more to come.

3DS/2DS Aren’t Going Anywhere… Yet…

Many of us said goodbye to the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS when the Switch Lite was announced. But it seems we were premature.

Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America told CNet:

Short answer: the Nintendo 3DS does have a place beside the Nintendo Switch family of products, and we’ll continue to support it as long as consumers continue to purchase them.

So those platforms are sticking around. But their sales have slumped since the Switch’s release. And a cheaper Switch Lite isn’t going to help.