Nintendo Switch Versus Switch Lite: Which System to Buy?

Louise Audry for Numerama


Not sure which Switch to choose between a Switch and a Switch Lite? The two consoles share almost the same catalogue, but not the same arguments. We’re just checking in to help you.

Which Switch should I buy? This is the question that some people will be asking themselves as of September 20, 2019, the date of release of the Lite version officialized this summer. And for good reason: although they share the same game catalogue (with a few exceptions), the two consoles do not quite meet the same needs. As a bonus, they don’t come at the same price: the Nintendo Switch Lite (which Numerama has tested here) sells for less than 200 euros when the basic model is more like 300 euros.

Don’t panic, we’ll help you make the best choice according to your preferences. To do this, we answer a few essential questions that you might ask yourself before you go to a store. If you choose a Switch Lite, please consult our guides on the accessories and games we consider essential.

I want the best screen

The Switch Lite and Switch share the same definition (720p) while the larger of the two versions has a 6.2-inch screen (compared to 5.5-inch for the other). Is the 0.7-inch gap critical for visual comfort? No, not really. In fact, there is no bestscreen: there is just a large screen on one side and a smaller one on the other.

In the end, the best screen might be the TV you could connect the normal Switch to – something that is not possible with the Switch Lite.

In summary: Switch advantage (for less than one inch).

Louise Audry for Numerama

The Nintendo Switch Lite // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

I want the best range

The first thing to know about this criterion: autonomy is far from being the Switch’s strong point, all versions combined. On a greedy game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which serves as Nintendo’s benchmark ), you will not exceed 4 hours of battery life – at best.

Concretely, the Switch has a less good autonomy than the Switch Lite, which has a less good autonomy than the Switch 2nd generation (pay attention to the box so you don’t make a mistake).

In summary: Switch advantage (the latest version, the one with a red box).

Nintendo

Nintendo

I want to play all games (including new experiences)

The Switch Lite is intended for portable use only, undermining the Switch’s original promise of multiple ways to play (on a TV, a corner table or in 100% nomadic mode). Problem? Some games take advantage of this facet, such as 1-2-Switch or Super Mario Party. Therefore, the Switch Lite is not compatible with 100% of the Switch catalog, and only portable titles are compatible. Rest assured, the majority of games are concerned (indicated by a sticker on the packaging, as below).

"How do I know if a game is compatible with portable mode? "// Source: nintendo.fr

” How do I know if a game is compatible with portable mode? “// Source: nintendo.fr

Another point is that the Switch Lite, which does not have detachable Joy-Con, does not accept the new ways of playing developed by Nintendo. We are talking about the Labo (cardboard constructions) and Ring Fit Adventure (fitness experience). These products are based on the numerous sensors integrated in the Joy-Con.

In summary: Switch advantage.

Nintendo

Nintendo Switch // Source: Nintendo

I don’t mind playing on a TV

The classic Switch represents the complete experience. With it, you won’t have any real barriers (other than those technically wanted by Nintendo). But maybe you don’t want to pay 100 euros more for options you don’t want. First of all, we think of the dock that allows you to connect the console to your TV set. If you are not interested in this argument, the Switch Lite is your friend. Because a slightly larger screen is not worth a 100 euro bill.

In summary: Switch Lite advantage.

Louise Audry for Numerama

The Nintendo Switch Lite // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

I want a true directional cross

Fans of combat games and/or 2D games? You need a real directional cross. On the normal Switch, it is replaced by four independent buttons arranged in a cross, which makes certain manipulations less precise and ergonomic (example: the quarter circles in Street Fighter). The Switch Lite removes this defect. On the other hand, its buttons on the edge are of lower quality. Not glop for shooting games…

In summary: Switch Lite advantage.

YouTube/Nintendo UK

The Switch Lite // Source: YouTube/Nintendo UK

I love multiplayer

On the multiplayer side, the Switch Lite does everything the Switch can do (including online modes with the Nintendo Switch Online subscription). However, it is deprived of the table mode, which allows you to improvise a game on the go with a friend – each taking a Joy-Con.

In summary: Switch advantage.

I want a coloured switch

You might want to put a little colour in your bag or hands. In this case, the Switch Lite is all set. At launch, the slightly sad grey model is accompanied by yellow and turquoise versions. And you can imagine that Nintendo won’t stop there (a Pokémon Sword and Shield edition is already planned). On the normal Switch, whose shelf part is black, you can go for exoticism thanks to the Joy-Con available in several colours (red, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange…). A customization that can be expensive…

In summary: Switch Lite advantage.

Louise Audry for Numerama

The Nintendo Switch Lite // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

I want the strongest version

The normal switch has finishes plus premium, where the Switch Lite stands out for its toy-like appearance. The smaller of the two, which is designed to be carried everywhere, is stronger. Or, say, less fragile. It is a criterion of choice for those who would not be very careful (be careful with the screen, which is tactile and can be easily scratched). In addition, the Switch Lite will never experience problems with the Joy-Con, whose reliability has been put to the test since launch.

In summary: Switch Lite advantage.

Louise Audry for Numerama

The Nintendo Switch Lite // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

I want to give it to a child

The Switch is the perfect console for children with its varied catalogue and consumer games (there’s even Fortnite, but you’ll have to be careful that they don’t get too hooked on it). The Switch Lite is even more: more compact (for their little hands), stronger (because they are less careful) and no detachable Joy-Con (they won’t be able to lose or throw them away). As a bonus, they will not be able to monopolize your TV as they can with the normal Switch. The definition of peace at home.

In summary: Switch Lite advantage.

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