Rejoice, Nintendo Switch aficionados, because there’s a new video game console here to meet your gaming needs. We’re talking about the Nintendo Switch Lite, of course.
A less expensive take on the wildly successful console that sacrifices versatility for portability.
While Microsoft and Sony engage in an endless arms race to have the fastest console with the best graphics, Nintendo seems more interested in innovating how people interact with their games. The Wiimote was the first big step in this direction, and the Nintendo Switch as the latest. A boundary-blurring hybrid of a TV and portable console, the Switch comes with detachable, bifurcated controllers, crazy fold-it-yourself cardboard attachments, and, of course, plenty of other controllers and accessories. The brand-new Nintendo Switch Lite has the same mission as its progenitor—to give people more ways to enjoy video games—but it goes about it in a different way.
“The two systems will complement each other and co-exist in the marketplace,” Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser (his real name, LOL) told The Verge. Instead of giving folks more options to use with one console, Nintendo, guided by data on how people were actually using their Switches, created a new console tailored to people who would happily sacrifice some of the console’s flexibility for a smaller, cheaper device.
But what, exactly, is different about the Switch Lite? Well, as its name suggests, it weighs just .61 pounds, 30 percent less than the original Switch. Its touchscreen is 5.5 instead of 6.2 inches, and its body is also smaller: 3.6 inches tall instead of four and 8.2 inches long instead of 9.4. These might sound like minor changes, but every milligram and millimeter makes a difference with something that’s meant to be carried around and held.
That brings us to one of the most important differences between the Switch Lite and the Switch: how you can play it. Where the original Switch could be plugged into a TV, the Switch Lite cannot. It’s a purely handheld gaming machine, which means it’s not compatible with Nintendo Switch games that don’t support that gaming style.
There are a few other tweaks, like a full D-pad, slightly improved battery life, and the omission of a kickstand and automatic brightness sensor. One thing people will likely miss are motion sensors that are an integral part of some games. You can purchase a pair of Joy-Con controllers separately, but that’s a hassle, to say the least.
All of these changes, however, add up to a $200 price tag for the Nintendo Switch Lite, $100 less than its older sibling. Nintendo is hoping that the lower cost of entry will be enough to entice folks who haven’t bought an original Switch.
The Nintendo Switch Lite hits stores (in gray, turquoise, and yellow) on September 20, but you can preorder it now on Amazon.
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