How to choose between the Nintendo Switch Lite and the New Switch

We absolutely love the Nintendo Switch and all its variants. We’re committed to helping you find the best gaming experience.

New Switch

Switch King

$300 at Amazon – Coming Soon!

Pros

  • Up to 9 hours of battery
  • Works with all Switch games
  • Tabletop mode
  • TV mode
  • Detachable Joy-Cons

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Less compact

The new and improved Switch allows you to play up to nine hours before needing a recharge. You can play it in TV, tabletop, and handheld modes. It costs more, but it works with every Switch game and you’ll be able do more with it than you can with the Switch Lite.

Switch Lite

Budget Buy

$200 at Amazon – Coming Soon!

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Up to 7 hours of battery
  • Compact
  • 4 color options

Cons

  • No TV mode
  • No tabletop mode
  • Some games won’t work as easily
  • No motion controls or HD rumble

This smaller Switch provides up to seven hours of battery life in a handheld gaming system, but It’s less expensive than its Switch siblings, and is more convenient to carry around. Since the Joy-Cons don’t detach, you’ll potentially have to purchase wireless controllers to play games that either don’t work or don’t work as easily in handheld mode.

This Fall, two new Switch consoles are making their way to the market. The New Switch releases mid-August and features up to 50% more battery life than the original while the Switch Lite is less expensive and comes out Sept. 20.

Both of these Switch options are good, but they have different focuses. The Switch Lite is a handheld system that’s meant for portable gaming. It’s a great choice for young children or anyone on a budget. However, the fact that the New Switch provides so much more battery life, works with every Switch game, and gives you plenty of different ways to play really makes it the better option between the two.

Specs & differences

When the Switch Lite was announced I got freakishly excited about it, but when I learned about the New Switch I didn’t care as much… at first. This seems to be the general consensus; for some reason the smaller, less expensive version is way more exciting. However, when you sit down and compare the two you’ll quickly see that for most people it’s better to go with the New Switch.

New Switch Switch Lite
Price $300 $200
Screen 6.2 inches, 720p 5.5 inches, 720p
Battery Life 4.5-9 hours 3-7 hours
Storage 32GB Internal + MicroSD 32GB Internal + MicroSD
Game Compatibility All Games Games that Support Handheld Mode
Detachable Joy-Cons x
HD Rumble x
Kickstand x
Dimensions 4 x 9.4 x 5.5 inches 3.6 x 8.2 x 5.5 inches
Weight .88 pounds .61 pounds

There are small but significant differences up front. While you can get up to seven hours of battery life with the Switch Lite, which is more than what we got with the original Switch, the new Switch can last even longer with up to nine hours. That extra amount of time will really make a difference when you’re on vacation or on the go.

Size is an issue here, but not a super pronounced one. The New Switch looks and feels like the original Switch, only weighing about .88 pounds and having a 6.2-inch screen. The Switch Lite weighs even less at .61 pounds and the 5.5-inch screen is about the size of an average smartphone. This smaller version feels better in your hands since it was designed as a designated handheld device and it’s easier to transport wherever you go. Keep in mind that both devices have the same resolution. Whether you prefer a larger screen or portability is really a matter of opinion in this case.

Initial & setup costs

Initially, the Switch Lite is $100 cheaper, with the handheld gaming system only costing $200 rather than the New Switch’s $300 price point. This makes the Switch Lite a great buy if you’re planning on solely using the handheld system on the go or for single-player gaming.

The thing is, this lower cost is possible because certain technologies that are available in the New Switch aren’t available on the Switch Lite like HD rumble, detachable Joy-Cons, or motion control. This means that Switch Lite owners need to buy some accessories if they plan on playing multiplayer games or games that rely on you waving a Joy-Con around.

Firstly, you’ll need wireless controllers like the Pro Controller or Joy-Cons that feature motion controls. They’ll typically run you $40–$80 each. Additionally, since the Switch Lite doesn’t have a built-in kickstand you’ll want to get something like this $10 stand to prop up your gaming system. At that point, you’ll be spending anywhere from $250 to $280 for your preferred gaming setup, which isn’t that much cheaper than buying the more versatile New Switch.

Game compatibility & storage

As mentioned above, there are a number of games that don’t play well on the Switch Lite. This is either because the game being played doesn’t support handheld mode or it relies heavily on motion controls, which the Switch Lite doesn’t have. In this way it’s better to get the New Switch since you won’t have to find out the hard way whether or not a game works on the system. Of course, you can always pair wireless controllers to your Switch Lite if you want to play one of these problematic games.

Both Switch versions offer built-in storage of 32GB with the ability to add external storage in the form of microSD cards. As long as you have plenty of memory cards, you’ll never run out of space.

Local & online multiplayer gaming

As previously mentioned, you can still play a number of local multiplayer games on the Switch Lite as long as you purchase a pair of wireless controllers. Similarly, the New Switch’s detachable Joy-Cons can be used individually to allow two player gaming. You’ll need to purchase additional controllers to allow more people to play locally. The number of players possible will vary depending on what game you’re playing.

Both the New Switch and the Switch Lite allow you to link several Switches together for local nearby play. In this scenario, each player plays together, but they each look at their own Switch. Additionally, both New Switch owners and Switch Lite owners can access Nintendo Switch Online content from their gaming systems.

Versatilty

The New Switch is definitely the more versatile option between the two systems, specifically because you can play in handheld mode when on the go. If you’re out and about and decide you want to play a multiplayer game or something that requires motion controls, you simply slide the Joy-Cons off, pop the kickstand out and continue playing. when you’re home place the Switch in the dock and you’ll play on your TV. The Switch Lite is great for handheld mode, but it isn’t designed for anything else. As previously mentioned, it doesn’t have a kickstand and the controllers don’t slide off.

In the end

These are both great little devices that can provide hours of entertainment on the go. Despite the higher price of the New Switch, we firmly believe that it is the better option for most gamers. You’ll be able to use it in handheld mode, tabletop mode, and TV mode. It provides up to 50% more battery life than the original Switch and perhaps most importantly, it works with every Switch game out there. In the end, paying $100 more for this larger version really isn’t that much, especially considering how many conveniences it gives you.

The cheaper price of the Switch Lite definitely makes the smaller device a tempting option. If you really think that you’ll be using the system mainly on the go and for single-players games, than it’s a great fit for you. As mentioned before, just remember that there are certain games that won’t be as convenient to play on the mini Switch.

Switch king

New Nintendo Switch

$300 at Amazon – Coming Soon!

A larger, versatile console

This newer version of the of the Switch will allow you to play for up to nine hours before needing a recharge. It can be used in handheld mode, tabletop mode, or docked to your TV. The Joy-Cons are detachable and feature motion controls, so you can play a wider selection of Switch games.

Budget buy

Nintendo Switch Lite

$200 at Amazon – Coming Soon!

A cheaper, compact handheld system

This smaller version of the Nintendo Switch is perfect for use on-the-go. It’s a dedicated handheld gaming system so the Joy-Cons do not detach, there is no kickstand, and the controllers don’t feature motion controls or HD rumble. The trade-off is that this mini Switch is $100 cheaper than the original.

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