Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite – which one is right for me?

The Japanese company has landed a real success with the Nintendo Switch. The popular game console is available in two versions – the large switch with dock and the smaller lite version. But how do the two consoles differ in detail and which target group are they aimed at?

The Nintendo Switch has sold millions of copies since it went on sale in March 2017. In fact, it was so successful that Nintendo launched a more compact version, the Switch Lite, in September 2019. Probably the biggest difference between the consoles: While the Nintendo Switch can also be connected to the television thanks to the included dock, the Switch Lite is primarily intended for mobile use. In a comparison of the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, TECHNOLOGY BUTTON has listed which details still differ between the two consoles.

A visual comparison of the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite is much more compact than the normal version. This is also noticeable in the size of the screen. While the small console has a 5.5-inch LC multi-touch screen, the display of the conventional switch model is 6.2 inches. Both consoles have a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels.

The decisive difference in the comparison of the Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite lies in the controls, because the Switch Lite does not offer any Joy-Cons. In contrast to the Nintendo Switch, the button areas are not removable and are firmly enclosed in the console housing. The typical functions of the Joy-Cons – such as HD vibration or the IR motion camera – are therefore not integrated.

The Switch Lite from Nintendo

However, there is a modified version of the motion control. Instead of using the controllers, you can also aim using the gyroscope function on the conventional switch by holding the console in the desired direction. This also works on the Switch Lite. The key assignment is otherwise the same on both models, but Nintendo has given the Lite a real control pad instead of the individual arrow keys. This evokes retro nostalgia, because we have known this design aspect since the first Game Boy.

Since the Joy-Cons on the Switch Lite cannot be removed compared to the Nintendo Switch and the smaller console also has no stand, it cannot be used in table mode without additional accessories. However, players can upgrade – for example with a separately available stand and controller. Both consoles can also be upgraded with storage space. A specially designed cover for the microSD card slot is attached to the back of the Switch Lite – the fold-out table stand acts as such on the Switch.

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Differences in hardware and functions

Compared to the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite is a pure handheld console. Some games such as Super Mario Party, 1-2 Switch, Just Dance, Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo Labo and Fitness Boxing are therefore not compatible. You need the detachable Joy-Cons. Nintendo has also done without the docking station and TV mode on the Switch Lite. For this reason, it cannot be connected to the television. Contrary to its name, your gaming operations cannot be “switched”. At least additional Joy-Cons can be connected to the Switch Lite if playing with several people on the small screen is also less comfortable.

The control units of the Nintendo Switch can be removed on the left and right and converted into a controller – so that the tablet unit can be connected to the television.

The larger display and the additional technology inside the Nintendo Switch ensure a higher power requirement. The first version of the large Switch achieved a battery life of 2.5 to 6 hours. That wasn’t much and quickly caused complaints from the players. Nintendo then released an improved version of the Switch that has a runtime of 4.5 to 9 hours. The improved variant can be recognized on the one hand by the packaging (old version with hand, new version without hand on the box), on the other hand by the model number HAC-001 (-01). Serial numbers that begin with “XK” also indicate a Nintendo Switch console with improved battery life.

In terms of runtime, the Switch Lite is exactly between the old and the new version of the large Switch. On average, players can gamble for 3 to 7 hours on one battery charge. Specifically, Nintendo has installed a 3570 mAh battery here. Compared to the Switch Lite, the Nintendo Switch has a 4310 mAh battery – both the old and the new version. Nintendo achieves the better runtime here with an adapted version of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip, which is also used in the Switch Lite.

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Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite prices compared

Due to the aforementioned drawbacks, the Switch Lite is also cheaper compared to the large Nintendo Switch. The console is available in the colors yellow, gray, turquoise and coral and has an RRP of 219 euros. The console is now also available at prices around 200 euros. The big switch is more expensive – not least because of the included Joy-Cons and the docking station. It is available in a gray version and with Joy-Cons in neon red and neon blue. The MSRP is 329 euros, although it is currently often sold at this price.

Nintendo has also released various bundles with games from both consoles, which are a bit more expensive. In the case of the standard switch, the bundle versions often also have a special color scheme for the console.

Which console is right for me?

With its flexible use, the Nintendo Switch has now become the console favorite. Whether alone or as a couple, in table or TV mode, you can use it in many places and have fun with you – even with friends – always with you. It could also function as a family console, as up to eight individual Joy-Cons can be connected.

If you don’t have a switch yet and don’t necessarily want to play on TV, the Lite version should appear more attractive. With the Switch Lite, Nintendo delivers a cheaper console for those who prefer an even more compact design. The larger battery already indicates a device that relies entirely on the portable factor of the switch and is especially suitable for people who like to play on the go. You don’t need detachable Joy-Cons, just a lightweight handheld console. So if the conventional switch is a “family console”, the lite version is clearly aimed at the single player.

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