Nintendo Switch Lite review: The best option for portable gamers

From the very beginning, I was fond of the look and size of the Switch Lite. However, I was a bit skeptical as well. Stripping away one of the best features that the Nintendo Switch offered had me puzzled. What use is a Switch that doesn’t actually “switch”? That’s the question I pondered on for months leading up to the Switch Lite launch. Now, I know the answer, and I’m excited to tell you why the Switch Lite is, in fact, a worthy purchase for Switch veterans and the curious looking to dive in for the first time.

How lite is lite?

For gamers who currently own the original Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite is a great alternative for taking your games on the go. This is mostly due to its being about 25 percent smaller than the OG Switch. It’s simply easier to take with you on the go. While it’s not necessarily pocket-size, it will fit in certain pants pockets. A downside to carrying your Switch Lite like this is the analog sticks that protrude from the device, which can lead to some discomfort. I don’t believe the Switch Lite is intended for pocket-carrying like Nintendo’s previous dedicated handhelds, which is a bit of a letdown — but it is still possible for some.

Nintendo Switch Lite review: The best option for portable gamers

Style meets comfort

Switch Lite is extremely comfortable to hold. Nintendo seems to have learned from every other modern handheld gaming device and built upon them in the best ways possible. It’s slightly longer than the PlayStation Vita but shorter than the OG Switch, offering more room for your hands on the back of the device without being uncomfortably large like the OG Switch can feel. Once again, Nintendo opted out of its iconic clamshell design. Thanks to this, there is no top-heavy feel to it that some gamers disliked about the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

My one major gripe is the right analog stick. After using it for long periods of time (in shooters, for example), your right thumb can start feeling uncomfortable. This is from how far you must bend it down to use the right analog. This is something that will likely be rectified in future grips and cases by third-party companies. It was a similar situation with the OG Switch, but it was solved by grips such as the Satisfye Pro Gaming Grip.

Nintendo Switch Lite review: The best option for portable gamers

Games can look better

When it comes to how the games play on the device, expect the exact same experience as on the OG Nintendo Switch. However, games inherently look better on Switch Lite. Thanks to the smaller screen and no decrease in resolution, you can expect titles that were once blurry (ex: Wolfenstein II and Doom) to look slightly better on the Switch Lite. Going from a 6.2-inch screen to 5.5 inches, the smaller screen makes games that are already pretty look even better.

Is it a good option for kids?

Something a lot of parents (or really any interested buyer) might be curious about is how durable the Switch Lite is. Nintendo has a good track record with its products. Though I must admit, I was a bit worried about the Switch Lite. I dropped my OG Switch on the carpet from about three feet high and my Joy-Con were never the same afterward — now constantly sliding out without pressing the release button. But I’m happy to say that the Switch Lite surpassed my expectations.

Thanks to the removal of detachable Joy-Con, Switch Lite feels a lot more durable than the OG Switch. They crammed a lot of components into this device, and it feels like an extremely solid piece of tech. I’m no expert on this subject in particular, but let’s just say I feel 10 times more comfortable letting my kids play the Switch Lite over the original Nintendo Switch.

What about the D-pad?

Because of the removal of the Joy-Con, Nintendo gives us a real D-pad on the Switch Lite. I’ve always been a fan of clicky D-pads over mushy ones. The D-pad on the Switch Lite strikes the perfect balance between the two. And unlike the right stick, the placement of the D-pad doesn’t feel uncomfortable after a while.

Final thoughts

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the best dedicated portable gaming device money can buy. While it is lacking the ability to “switch,” its sleek, compact design, stylish colors, and perfectly mushy D-pad bring it a step above the original Nintendo Switch. Switch Lite is easily the best option for dedicated portable players.

Switch Lite details

  • CPU/GPU: Custom Nvidia Tegra processing
  • RAM: Thought to be 4 GB like the Switch, but unconfirmed
  • Storage: 32GB – upgradeable by microSD card
  • Connections: Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, USB-C (charging-enabled)
  • Touchscreen: 5.5-inches, 1280×720 resolution, LCD
  • Speakers: Stereo
  • Battery: 3,570mAh – can last up to six hours with three hours charging time from flat to full
  • Measures: 91.1 x 208 x 13.9mm
  • Weight: 275 g
Brett Medlock
Brett Medlock is Nintendo Enthusiast's Editor-in-chief. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll

    You may also like