Which Console Should You Buy?

The Nintendo Switch is a great video game console from Nintendo. You can attach it to your TV or take it out with you for portable play. That means you can play great games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. wherever you are.

However, you might have noticed that the console comes in two flavors: the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite. There are some very important differences between these two, including the portability, size, and battery life.

We’re going to explore what the Switch and Switch Lite are and compare the two so you can decide which is best for you.

What Is the Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

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The Nintendo Switch is an eighth-generation video game console that was first released in March 2017, competing with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Switch can connect to your TV like a traditional games console by sliding into a dock, but it can also be used handheld as a portable device.

The two controllers, known as Joy-Cons, can detach from the console. This is great not only for TV-based gaming but also for placing the Switch on a surface and playing in tabletop mode. A revised version of the Nintendo Switch was released in August 2019 with an improved battery life.

What Is the Nintendo Switch Lite?

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

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The Nintendo Switch Lite was released in September 2019. Though similar to the Nintendo Switch, the main difference is that it’s purely a handheld games console. It cannot be docked to the TV, nor does it have detachable controllers.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is more portable than its hybrid counterpart, featuring a smaller screen size and lighter weight. This means it’s easier to slip the Switch Lite into your pocket or bag.

To account for the reduced functionality, the Nintendo Switch Lite retails at a lower price. In fact, many have taken advantage of the cheaper cost—around 30 percent of Switch owners also have the Switch Lite.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Play Modes

Nintendo Switch tabletop mode

The most significant difference between the two consoles is that the Switch is a hybrid device that can be used in TV mode, tabletop mode, and handheld mode. The Switch Lite operates in handheld mode only. For TV mode, the Switch comes with a dock and HDMI cable, allowing you to place the console in the dock and output to a TV.

For tabletop mode, the Switch has a kickstand that pulls out so that the console freely stands up on a surface. The controllers on the Switch, known as Joy-Cons, can be detached to support these modes. On the Switch Lite, the controllers are fixed to the console.

The Switch Lite isn’t compatible with the dock, nor does it have a kickstand. The only mode compatible with both the Switch and the Switch Lite is handheld, where the controllers are attached.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Portability and Display

Nintendo Switch handheld mode

Both the Switch and the Switch Lite are designed to be portable. That said, if you favor a smaller size and lighter weight, the Switch Lite is the better option. The Switch weighs 0.88 lbs with controllers attached, while the Switch Lite weighs just 0.61 lbs.

The Switch has a 6.2-inch touch screen, while the Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch touchscreen. Despite the difference in screen size, both consoles output at a 1280×720 resolution in handheld mode (also known as 720p). However, when the Switch is docked, it’s capable of a 1080p resolution.

The Switch is 4-inches tall, 9.4-inches long, and 0.55-inches deep when the controllers are attached. The Switch Lite is 3.6-inches tall, 8.2-inches long, and 0.55-inches deep.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Games

super mario odyssey

There are loads of great Nintendo Switch games

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featuring Nintendo franchise hits such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These games are available on physical cartridges or digitally via the Nintendo eShop, and many support both local and online multiplayer.

All games are compatible with the Switch and the Switch Lite. However, there is a caveat to this. A few games, like 1-2-Switch and Ring Fit Adventure, require you to detach the Joy-Con controllers from the console to play. Since this isn’t possible on the Switch Lite, you would need to buy separate controllers in order to play them.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Controllers and Colors

Nintendo Switch – Animal Crossing Edition

Nintendo Switch – Animal Crossing Edition

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There’s a sizeable range of Nintendo Switch controllers available to buy

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. These include different color Joy-Cons, Pro Controllers, and GameCube style controllers. They all work on the Switch and the Switch Lite, though wired controllers will need an adapter for portable play (and is therefore required on the Lite).

The color of the Switch can be customized by switching out the standard blue and red Joy-Cons for colors like pink/green, purple/orange, and blue/yellow. There is also the occasional themed console, which includes a different dock design, like the Nintendo Switch – Animal Crossing Edition.

The Switch Lite comes in a range of colors like coral, yellow, and in themes like Pokémon-inspired Nintendo Switch Lite – Zacian and Zamazenta Edition . However, since the Joy-Cons aren’t removable, you can’t customize the color of the Switch Lite like you can on the Switch.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Battery Life

zelda breath of the wild

When the Switch first launched, it had a battery life of 2.5 to 6.5 hours in handheld mode. That range is so wide because the battery life depends on the games you play. For example, when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it could manage only 3 hours.

The newest model of the Switch now gives 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life, and around 5.5 hours in Zelda. Any Switch you buy new should be the 2019 updated model; check for the model number HAC-001(-01) to make sure.

On the other hand, the Switch Lite has a battery life of 3 to 7 hours. For comparison, when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can achieve up to 4 hours of usage.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Rumble, Motion Camera, and Other Features

Switch Lite

Unlike the Switch, the Switch Lite doesn’t have rumble for haptic feedback, nor an infrared motion camera. Otherwise, the internals of the system are nearly identical.

Both the Switch and the Switch Lite have a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor, and 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 2 TB using micro SD cards. Each console has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and, importantly, a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Price

switch tv mode

As is clear, the Switch Lite has reduced features compared to the standard Switch, so it makes sense that the Switch Lite would be cheaper. Prices for both consoles fluctuate depending on stock and demand, but the Switch is typically around $100 more than the Switch Lite.

That $100 difference isn’t to be sniffed at. If you just want a portable console for travel to play all the Nintendo hits, the Switch Lite is a superb choice. However, if you also want the ability to hook it up to your TV, you must get the Switch.

Customize the Switch Interface

Whether you decide to get the Switch or the Switch Lite, you’re bound to have an excellent time. Nintendo knows how to produce a great console packed full of fun games.

Once you have the console, take some time to customize the Nintendo Switch user interface

How to Customize the Nintendo Switch User Interface

In this article, we show you how to customize the Nintendo Switch user interface. Allowing you to make it even better.
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