When it comes to buying a Nintendo gaming system, the question is, should you buy the new Nintendo Switch V2 with 50% more battery life or the smaller, handheld-only Switch Lite? I had the same question, so I've compared the two devices together to weigh their pros and cons. In my opinion, there's a clear winner between the two, but the other gaming system could be a better fit for some people.
Both of these Switch options are good, but they have different focuses. The Switch Lite is a handheld system meant for portable gaming. It's a great choice for young children, on-the-go Switch users, or anyone on a budget. However, the fact that the new Switch V2 provides so much more battery life works with every Switch game and gives you plenty of different ways to play 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 V2, 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 you get far more convenience and functionality with the larger Switch V2.
|Switch V2||Switch Lite|
|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|
|Dimensions||4 x 9.4 x 0.55 inches||3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches|
|Weight||0.88 pounds||0.61 pounds|
There are small but significant differences upfront. 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 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 V2 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 dedicated handheld device, and it's easier to transport wherever you go. Keep in mind that when in handheld mode, both devices have the same resolution. You'll have to decide if you prefer a larger screen or portability 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 up to $300 price point. This makes the Switch Lite an excellent 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 want to play multiplayer games or games that rely on you waving a Joy-Con around.
Firstly, you'll need external 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 $290 for your preferred gaming setup, which isn't that much cheaper than buying the more versatile new Switch.
Game compatibility & storage
As mentioned above, several games 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 some local multiplayer games with friends on the Switch Lite as long as you purchase a pair of wireless controllers. As always, the larger new Switch's detachable Joy-Cons can be used individually to allow two-player gaming. But for the Switch Lite, you'll need to purchase additional controllers if you want more than two people to play locally. The number of players possible will vary depending on what game you're playing.
Both the new Switch V2 and the Switch Lite allow you to link several Switches together for nearby local play. In this scenario, each player plays together, but they each look at their own Switch screen. Additionally, both new Switch owners and Switch Lite owners can access Nintendo Switch Online content from their gaming systems. To use this service, you'll need to pay for a membership, but you'll be able to play multiplayer games with others online, as well as access select NES and SNES games.
The new Switch V2 is the more versatile option between the two systems, precisely 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.
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite Bottom Line
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 multiplayer games and every Switch game out there. Just make sure you're getting the newest version with longer battery life — look for the red box.
The cheaper price of the Switch Lite 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, then it's an excellent fit for you. As mentioned before, just remember that certain games won't be as convenient to play on the mini Switch.
A larger, versatile console
This newer version 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 that you can play a wider selection of Switch games.
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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