Review: Nintendo Switch Lite

It’s not often where I have a bad initial read on something. I consider myself a good judge of character, and able to read situations at the drop of a hat. With that skill set, I dismissed the Switch Lite as a dumb idea when it launched. I mean, it didn’t even “switch.” What was the point of this thing, with a smaller body, non-detachable joy cons, and an inability to connect to an external display?

Well, reader, I am here to admit I was wrong. And all it took was a few minutes in the hands to demonstrate why.

Right off the bat, though, let’s make one thing clear: this really shouldn’t be your only Switch if you can afford the bigger version. The Switch, and OLED Switch, offer much more versatility for a single purchase. The screens are bigger (and in the case of the OLED, apparently fantastic), you can easily play multiplayer by handing off a joy con, and the most important aspect is that they can output via HDMI to a display. If you can only have one Switch, the Switch Lite is not going to be recommended here.

So, who is the Switch Lite for? It’s a great starter Switch for a kid. It’s light (as the title would bear witness to), cheaper, and pretty much plays all the games that the bigger siblings do. It also comes in some fun, bright colors. The one I picked up is officially called blue, but is closer to the Indigo that the Gamecube came in. This was a later release color, almost two years after launch. It’s also smaller, which means it’s a bit more travel-friendly. For those of you on the go all the time, who don’t want to bring a dock and HDMI cables, this could be a great travel companion.

It’s really these two features that made me seek it out in the first place. The regular Switch isn’t huge or heavy, but when you’re traveling with a lot of other gear, you do look for ways to mitigate that where you can. Pared with a slim hard case, this thing can easy be tossed in even a mostly full backpack or sling.

The other reason I looked for an alternative to my regular Switch is that it wasn’t that comfortable to hold for me. I have tried out grips, and recently picked up another accessory that I will also write about, to extend playing time and make me want to pick it up more. I wasn’t expecting it to be more comfortable, but it is, slightly. Combined with the lighter weight, and hand placement a bit closer together, it does do a bit nicer job of making it more comfortable in the hands in a lounging situation.

The weight does really make a difference in a portable machine, just as much as ergonomics. Combined with a Genki slim case – protection without too much additional weight – the Switch Lite is a great handheld device. The small amount of contouring the case gives the back of the Lite also plays a huge part in comfort here.

Thanks to some trade-ins and sales of movies and games that I deemed superfluous, I only paid $70 for a near-mint used Lite. The Genki case was an additional $28, and a screen protector another $2. So I am into this for $100, half the price of the Lite itself, new. I consider this a very good value for what it brings.

Thanks to this new setup, I recently logged multiple hours playing a game I had ignored for a long time and beat it. I would not have thought to do this with my regular Switch, as I routinely pass over it to play instead another console. I am not giving up on the big brother, not by any stretch. I’m actually inspired to make using that more of a goal, particularly when I need a break from work and sitting at my desk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.