Nintendo Rolls Out New Addition To Its Console Line-Up

Posted by at 11:45 am on July 10, 2019

Today, Nintendo revealed the Switch Lite, designed as a less expensive alternative to the original tablet / console hybrid. It comes in at $199 — $100 less than the base unit — and for that price you get a streamlined version of the Switch, but also a few caveats. The Switch Lite is designed explicitly as a handheld: you can’t connect it to your TV, and the Joy-Con controllers are built right in.

There are a number of improvements with the Switch Lite. It’s significantly lighter, for one thing; I played with one for around 20 minutes, and the difference was noticeable, particularly when you pick up an original Switch afterwards. The Switch Lite also feels more sturdy since the Joy-Con controllers are now part of the device. The controller layout is largely identical on the Lite, though the new Switch has a proper d-pad, replacing the not-so-precise directional buttons on the original.

Nintendo says the Lite features “slightly” improved battery life — the company wouldn’t get any more specific than that — due to a more power-efficient chip layout, as well as the lack of additional batteries in the built-in controllers. The Switch Lite also does away with the device’s controversial kickstand.

The Lite comes in multiple colors at launch — yellow, grey, and turquoise — as well as a special light grey Pokémon Sword and Shield edition, and they all have a pleasant matte texture.The new device has a 5.5-inch touch display, compared to 6.2-inch for its predecessor.

The new design does come with some tradeoffs. The most notable is the inability to connect to a television; that flexibility has been a large part of the Switch’s appeal. Similarly, the built-in controls and their lack of detachable controllers, HD rumble, and IR sensors creates some small compatibility issues. If you want to use motion controls to catch monsters in Pokémon Let’s Go, or play a game like 1-2 Switch that requires them, you’ll need to purchase an additional pair of Joy-Con separately. Currently, all Switch game packages specify when titles are playable in portable mode, and Nintendo says similar labels will be applied to the digital eShop. If you attempt to purchase a game that’s incompatible with the Switch Lite from the eShop, the company says you’ll receive a warning.

Aside from the new design and those few changes, the Switch Lite and the original Switch are largely identical. Nintendo says there’s no performance difference between the two models, and you can still use the same accessories with the Lite, including Joy-Con controllers, the Switch Pro Controller, and the Poké Ball Plus. The Switch Lite still supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, and has built-in gyro controls.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is launching on September 20th — the same day as Link’s Awakening — for $199.99. The Pokémon version will be out on November 8th at the same price.

 

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