Numerous reports had been circulating over the past few months that Nintendo was working on a smaller, cheaper iteration of the Switch, and sure enough, the company has finally pulled back the curtain on the Nintendo Switch Lite. Designed strictly for portable play, the system launches this September with a lower price point and some pared-back features, making it a more affordable alternative to the standard Switch model. [Update: That standard version is also getting an update in the form of a new Switch with better battery life. Outside of that improvement, however, we're unaware of any other changes.]
While there are still some questions lingering around the Switch Lite--particularly in regards to how moving between systems will work--we do know a lot. Nintendo has revealed a number of details about the new system, including its release date, specifications, what games it will be compatible with, and more. If you're curious about how it compares to the original Switch, we've rounded up everything we know about the new system so far below. We've also put together a look back at why and when Nintendo updates its hardware.
- When Is Its Release Date?
- How Much Does It Cost?
- How Is Switch Lite Different?
- What Are The Specs?
- How Much Smaller Is It?
- Is The Existing Switch Changing?
- Can I Transfer My Data Between Switch And Switch Lite?
- What Colors Will Be Available?
- Will It Work With All Switch Games?
- What Else Doesn't Work?
- Can I Use Amiibo With It?
- Does It Support Bluetooth Headphones?
When Is Its Release Date?
The Nintendo Switch Lite launches worldwide on September 20, 2019. However, you might not want to jump on it right away, as a special edition to tie in with this year's new Pokemon games, Sword and Shield, will be released just prior to their arrival in November. More on that below.
How Much Does It Cost?
In the US, the Switch Lite's price is set at $200 USD--$100 cheaper than the standard Nintendo Switch. International pricing details have not yet been announced. Amazon UK has the system listed for £200, although that price point could be a placeholder.
How Is Switch Lite Different?
While the standard Nintendo Switch can function either as a portable or home console, the Switch Lite is tailored specifically for handheld use. As such, the system cannot be docked or played on a television. It is also smaller and lighter than the base Switch, with a 5.5-inch touch screen (compared to the standard 6.2-inch screen), and it features 20-30% better battery life than the original console.
Unlike the existing Switch model, the Switch Lite will also have a solid body, meaning it won't come with detachable Joy-Con controllers. It will also be missing some other features, such as rumble and the IR sensor. Because it is designed for handheld play, it will also lack a kickstand. However, it will boast a true D-pad, rather than the directional buttons found on a standard Joy-Con. That makes it the only Switch model to come with a proper D-pad, as it appears Nintendo has no plans of adding one to Joy-Con controllers. Joy-Cons will still be compatible with the Switch Lite, and in fact will be the only way to play certain titles that typically don't support handheld play (more on that below).
We've put together a more in-depth Switch vs. Switch Lite comparison, but the top-level differences can be summarized as such:
- Smaller screen and overall size
- Can't connect to a TV
- Controllers are permanently attached
- Traditional D-pad available on the left side
- Improved battery life
What Are The Specs?
The aforementioned Switch/Switch Lite differences feature dives into this, but many of the key components are effectively the same. Switch Lite still uses a custom Nvidia Tegra GPU and comes equipped with 32 GB of internal storage (expandable through microSD).
How Much Smaller Is It?
But it's physically smaller: whereas the original Switch measured 4" x 9.4" x 0.55", the Switch Lite is 3.6" x 8.2" x 0.55". It also weighs less; the original Switch was 0.88 lbs with the Joy-Cons attached, compared with just 0.61 lbs for the Lite. As noted above, this smaller size accommodates a smaller screen, shrinking from 6.2" with the original Switch to 5.5" on the Lite.
Is The Existing Switch Changing?
The original Nintendo Switch will continue to be sold alongside the Lite; this won't replace it. There are rumors that a new, more powerful Switch is in the works, but Nintendo says the Lite is the only new Switch releasing this year. However, an FCC filing suggests the standard Switch will be getting some adjustments to its internal components, although that should not be confused with the so-called Switch Pro.
Can I Transfer My Data Between Switch And Switch Lite?
While Nintendo has not yet announced specifics, the company says it is planning a transfer feature that will let you move data between the standard Switch and Switch Lite. It's unclear as of yet how this will work, but more details will be shared at a later date.
What Colors Will Be Available?
The Switch Lite will launch in three different color schemes: yellow, turquoise, and grey. Nintendo is also releasing a special edition Pokemon model on November 8, just ahead of the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield. This version will feature a light grey body with cyan and magenta buttons, while the back the back is adorned with an illustration of the games' Legendary cover Pokemon, Zacian and Zamazenta.
Will It Work With All Switch Games?
Not quite. Switch games will need to support handheld mode in order to function on Switch Lite, given that it's the only mode the system supports. Specifically, Nintendo Labo will have issues due to the device itself being a different size. Other games, such as 1-2-Switch and Super Mario Party will require the purchase of Joy-Cons, as neither can be played in handheld mode with the controllers attached.
What Else Doesn't Work?
Nintendo has yet to provide a comprehensive list of supported games and accessories, but we can surmise at least some that won't work. For instance, the vaunted Flip-Grip, which allows you to turn the original system sideways and attach Joy-Cons (ideal for playing vertical shooters such as Ikaruga) won't work, given the system's smaller size.
Can I Use Amiibo With It?
Yes, while the Switch Lite drops some features from the base model, the system will still support Amiibo figures. Just as with the standard Switch, you can tap an Amiibo on the right control stick and scan it in a compatible game such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake, which is launching alongside a new Link Amiibo figure.
Does It Support Bluetooth Headphones?
No, like the original Switch, the Lite does not offer support for connecting headphones via Bluebooth. It does have a standard headphone jack, but those hoping for a Switch to finally allow the direct use of Bluetooth headphones are out of luck. In fact, the Lite is worse than the original Switch in this regard; without the use of the USB ports on the old Switch's dock, the Lite won't even be able to rely on third-party solutions to this problem.