I’ve had the chance to have my hands on the Nintendo Switch Lite for the past few days now and I have been able to address a few of the concerns I had before I made my purchase.
- How does it compare to the original switch model
- Can this function easily as a secondary, handheld only switch?
In answer to the first question, there are a few details that set this model aside, on first holding the console the smaller form factor is immediately apparent. To get an idea for the size of this new hardware revision simply take off one of your OG Switch joycons and yuu’ll end up with something similar in size to the new model. This revised size is much more comfortable for handheld gameplay as it rests in the palms of your hands more easily and the lighter weight means that it doesn’t strain your wrists as much. Now, because of the smaller size you do have a smaller screen but I have found that due to the resolution being the same, the screen actually looks noticeably sharper than the original. Opinions may be divided here but it boils down to the question: would you prefer the slightly sharper screen or a slightly larger one? I find that the screen is the perfect size for games such as Link’s Awakening on Switch and I feel that it will work beautifully for Luigi’s Mansion 3 at the end of the month. However, games such as Witcher 3, and even Breath of the Wild may be better suited on the Larger OG screen or even docked onto a TV.
Another revision has been made with the face buttons; gone are the hard, clicky face buttons on the OG model and they have been replaced with “squishyer” face buttons that remind me of the PS3 analogue face buttons in which you can depress the buttons and then still feel a bit more room to force. This will come down to a matter of preference but I personally much prefer this new revision as it contributes to the overall improved comfort of the device. As well as the revised face buttons we now have a fully fledged D-Pad, and this makes a night and day difference to certain games. As a life-long Sonic fan I was very much excited for Sonic Mania and chose to buy it on release for my OG Switch, however the Switch’s lack of D-Pad made the game almost unplayable for me, I opted for the analogue sticks rather than using the sepearte directional keys the Switch’s left Joy-Con offers and as a result the game felt unresponsive and I did not enjoy my time with it. Loading it up on the Switch Lite however and I’m enjoying at as if I had a Sega Megadrive controller back in my hands. Having a dedicated D-Pad on a dedicated handheld console is an absolute neccessity and I’m very glad they made the decision to include it.
Now of course, one of the major differences with the new model is that the Switch Lite cannot be docked to your TV at all; the hardware inside simply isn’t there. Therefore this model is only for you if you either play solely in handheld mode or, like me, plan on using the Lite for handheld single-player games and the OG Switch docked to the TV for multiplayer experiences such as Mario Kart or Mario Party.
And this brings me to my next point: Can the Switch Lite be comfortably used as a secondary Switch?
The answer is a resounding yes, albeit with some caveats.
When booting your Switch Lite you will be asked by Nintendo a series of very straightforward questions that guide you through the setup process.
These questions are quite simply along the lines of:
Do you want to import an existing user profile? Yes.
Is this user profile enabled on another Switch? Yes.
Do you want to continue using your other Switch? Yes.
As I saw these questions I felt relieved at the ease of the process until… “An update is required” popped up on the screen.
“No problem!” I thought as I eagerly depressed the new squishy buttons to begin the update process, only to find that I could not import an existing profile without the update, yet could not update without a user profile enabled… Oh Nintendo, you’ve done it again! I will never understand how they can make so many repeated mistakes as to how accounts are managed.
So, as a work around, I was required to create a new user account, load up the system, download the update, then go into the settings, recover my existing user and then delete my newly created user. Phew.
Oh but it doesn’t end there.
Now you need to access your OG Switch, go into the e-shop, your account, de-register that Switch as the primary console and then access the e-shop on the Switch Lite which will automatically enable that as the primary console.
The only drawback of having your OG model a secondary console is that it requires an internet connection to load up software, which would usally be fine if it’s going to stay at home docked, so it makes more sense for the newer, more portable model to be the primary console which alleviates the need to be always online.
So is the Switch Lite better than the OG Switch? Yes.. and no.
If you have no desire to ever connect your console to the TV or are buying this a secondary, more portable Switch then yes I belive that the slight revisions do make this an improved model. However as a full replacement I would definitely miss taking those Joy Con’s and passing them around before starting a game of Mario Party with friends. But hey, now I have my D-Pad and Sonic Mania in back in my life, I don’t have time for friends anyway.