Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite comparison

How does the new Switch Lite stack up against the core Nintendo Switch model? Let's take a look.

Nintendo has just revealed the Switch Lite, a new, single-unit handheld version of their hybrid console that’s due to release this Fall. It’s still a Nintendo Switch, but there are some key differences between the Switch Lite and the base console that are well worth knowing if you’re trying to decide which to buy. In this article, we’ll run you through a quick Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite comparison to help you pick the console that’s right for you.

Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite comparison

There are several factors distinguishing the Switch Lite from the original Switch model, but the first things to get out of the way is to note that the Switch Lite is not a direct upgrade. It’s not intended as a replacement to the Nintendo Switch, so you’ll need to wait longer if you’re after a direct upgrade. Now, let’s get stuck in with the key differences in our Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite comparison.

Handheld or hybrid

A key factor for the Switch Lite is that it’s no longer a hybrid console. That means you cannot connect the Switch Lite to a TV in any manner. The core Nintendo Switch comes with a docking station that allows you to place the console in it and seamlessly transfer your game session between handheld and TV. The Switch Lite drops this functionality in favor of a smaller, more portable, handheld-only machine.


As part of the swap to a handheld-only device, the Switch Lite doesn’t include detachable Joy-Cons like the Nintendo Switch. Instead, the Switch lite is a single, contained unit that should make it easier to transport. The lack of Joy-Cons also means there’s no HD Rumble or motion controls built into the system. In order to play games that require motion controls, you’ll need to sync up a pair of traditional Joy-Cons to the Switch Lite. 

Another change to the Switch Lite comes in the form of a return to the D-Pad. The standard Switch passed this up in favor of four buttons, likely so that both Joy-Cons could be used as individual controllers. The Switch Lite has no such issue, and as such incorporates a fully connected D-Pad on the left side.

Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite comparison
The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in three different colors. © Nintendo

Screen size and resolution

The base Nintendo Switch comes with a 6.2” screen that runs at 720p, swapping to 1080p when docked and displaying through a TV. The Switch Lite will have a smaller 5.5” screen that still runs at 720p. With a smaller screen, this should result in a slightly sharper image. There’s no word yet on the the other technical details regarding the Switch Lite screen, but it’s likely to share similar specs to the default Nintendo Switch screen. The Switch Lite will also retain the touch-screen functions of the original Switch.

Storage space

Both the base Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite come with 32GB of internal storage. The two consoles also have room for a MicroSD card to boost your storage space.

Battery life

 When used in handheld mode, the base Nintendo Switch lists a battery life between 2.5-6 hours depending on the game you’re playing. Nintendo lists Breath of the Wild as an example, with the Switch battery life lasting 3 hours while playing it. For a handheld-only device without a dock, battery life is doubly important for the Switch Lite, and Nintendo has stated that it has a a more efficient processor that’ll extend battery life by 25% compared to the base model. This means you should expect the Switch Lite’s battery life to last from 2.5 - 7.5 hours, or for 3.75 hours when playing Breath of the Wild.


The base Nintendo Switch costs $300/£279/€300. The Nintendo Switch Lite has been given a price of $199.99 USD for sale in the US, making it $100 cheaper. That’s around £160/€178, but we expect the European prices to be a touch higher, likely at a £100/€100 discount on the main model. We’ll update this when we get official confirmation on the European prices.

Switch Lite price, release date, colors, limited edition
The limited edition of the Switch Lite includes artwork of Zacian and Zamazenta from Pokemon Sword and Shield. © Nintendo


The Nintendo Switch has several color variants, with a range of special editions released over the years. The default colors are Grey or Red/Blue, but there are also special Mario Odyssey and Pokemon Let’s Go controls in alternate colors. 

The Switch Lite will release with three basic color models: Yellow, Turquoise and Gray. There’s also a limited edition Pokemon Sword & Shield model which comes in a lighter shade of gray and features a blue left analogue stick/D-PAD and red right analogue stick/buttons. The back of the special edition features line art of the two legendary pokemon, Zacian and Zamazenta

Game compatibility

The majority of Nintendo Switch games will work with the Switch Lite. However, as noted above, any games that rely on motion controls will require you to connect additional Joy-Cons to the Switch Lite before you can play. In addition, any games that need you to insert the console or Joy-Cons into places, such as the Labo VR kit, will not be usable with the Switch Lite. Nintendo will be adding an icon to all Switch game boxes in future to show if they’re compatible with the Switch Lite.

Release Date

While the base Nintendo Switch model is available right now, you’ll need to wait until the Switch Lite release date of September 20 this year.

Those are all the details we have on the Switch Lite right now and how it stacks up against the base Nintendo Switch, but we’ll be sure to update this article and bring you more information on the new model as soon as we get it. While you’re here, be sure to follow AllGamers on Twitter and YouTube for all your gaming news, guides and information!

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at, or catch him on Twitter.


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