Nintendo officially unveiled details of their upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite, which releases September 20, 2019. While I personally primarily play my Nintendo Switch in portable mode, this new unit makes little sense, sadly.
First off, its $199.99 retail price is only slightly cheaper than the more fully-featured Nintendo Switch itself, which retails for $299.99, but can be sometimes be found for less, even bundled with a game. It’s important to remember that that higher price also includes the convenient Nintendo Switch dock, which the Lite obviously doesn’t even support. Again, I’m fine with no TV play, but the fact that you’re paying nearly the same price all-things-considered for less stuff is silly. Of course, the lack of features compared to the regular Nintendo Switch doesn’t stop there.
While it’s understandable that the built-in controls on the Lite lack the IR Motion Camera, what’s less understandable is that there’s no onboard rumble of any kind, particularly since battery life is only about 30 minutes longer than the regular Switch. While being slightly lighter at .61 pounds versus .88 pounds is a plus, in practical terms, that’s not a huge difference considering the lack of noticeably greater battery life. Finally, the screen is only 5.5 inches versus the regular Switch’s 6.2 inches, an important consideration for older eyes.
The one feature on the Lite that I do love and wish had been incorporated in the regular Switch from the beginning is a proper d-pad versus the Joy-Con’s stupid directional buttons, which are in no way a useful substitute in my opinion.
While I’ve been entertaining the idea of adding a second Switch into the house, I’ll just consider getting a second regular Switch, which clearly makes the most sense unless there’s some type of significant sale on the Lite. Otherwise, I’d much rather invest my “new hardware” money in the rumored Switch Pro, which will likely be the big product for Q4 2020.