Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite: what should you get?

It feels like a lifetime since the Nintendo Switch dropped with a sea of tantalising titles such as Breath of the Wild and the definitive Mario Kart 8, yet the release of the Switch Lite in 2019 felt undoubtedly a little quieter.

by Ryan Houghton |

What is the Switch Lite?

The Switch Lite is essentially Nintendo’s console for gamers looking to play the latest Nintendo games without costing them all their coin.

Gone are the dismountable Joy-Cons and TV optionality, instead Nintendo settled on a design that feels a lot like its harkening back to the Wii U or even Sony’s PSP.

Dimensions: Switch: 101.6 x 238.76 x 13.97 | Lite: 91.44 x 238.76 x 13.97 mm
Display size: Switch: 6.2" LCD | Lite: 5.5" LCD touch screen
Resolution: Switch: 720 p | Lite: 720 p
Memory: Switch: 64 GB | Lite: 32 GB
Battery Capacity: Switch: 4.5 - 9 hours | Lite: 3 - 7 hours
TV Mode: Switch: Yes | Lite: No

What are the advantages of the Switch Lite?

While Nintendo fans were largely divided by the decision to release the Switch Lite, as opposed to a beefier Switch console to compete with Microsoft and Sony, the Switch Lite certainly has its advantages.

First is the improved durability of the console. When the Switch was first released, gaming journalists were awash with criticism about the bending screens, and worst of all, the drifting Joy-Cons.

Instead, the Switch Lite settles on controls firmly attached to the body of the console, leaving less room for any controller mishaps, perfect for younger gamers who may be more prone to dropping the rather flimsy Joy-Cons.

How does the Switch Lite's hardware compare to the Nintendo Switch?

Well, the Switch and the Switch Lite both have a 1,280 x 720 LCD screen, but the Switch Lite has a slightly smaller 5.5” compared to the original’s 6.2” screen, a slight shame considering the original’s already small size.

The Switch Lite’s battery life is also comparatively smaller, getting a respectable three to seven hours of gaming on the go compared to the Switch’s 4.5 and nine hours.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the consoles, however, is the ability to dock the Switch Lite for TV use. This may be slightly disappointing for some who are so used to the Switch's optionality, yet this is why there is such a significant price difference between the models.

The upside to the Switch Lite comes in its gaming capabilities which are almost entirely the same as the Switch.

Aside from any game that involves the use of Joy-Cons (which are far and few between), the Lite can run most of the latest Nintendo games just as well as the Switch, so you can still play plenty of Kirby’s Forgotten Land on the go for a significant price reduction.

The Lite still has gyroscopic functions as this is a necessity in many of Nintendo's games, such as Breath of the Wild, so there's no chance of missing out on some of Nintendo's major titles.

But what about the Switch OLED?

The Switch OLED marginally improves on the original Switch but is hardly a true successor to the console.

Instead of any improvement to the original’s graphical capabilities, the Switch OLED is only slightly longer (by about 0.8”), with thinner bezels that are possible due to OLED’s self-illuminating capabilities, and has an improved kickstand for additional QOL.

There’s only a £50 price difference between the Switch and the Switch OLED, so if you’re looking to buy the OLED it may be worth picking up the pricier model.

However, you could also spend that additional cash on another game, which, in my opinion, may just be the wiser decision.

Dimensions: 101.6 x 241.3 x 13.97
Display size: 7" OLED touch screen
Resolution: 720 p
Memory: 64 GB
Battery Capacity: 4.5 - 9 hours
TV Mode: Yes

What's new on the Nintendo Switch?

For any Star Wars aficionado, the latest and greatest LEGO Star Wars was recently released across a multitude of gaming platforms.

LEGO has knocked it out of the park this time with their most expansive world yet with a complete re-haul of the original LEGO Star Wars games.

Beautifully detailed worlds with fun combat, slap-stick humour and enrapturing exploration, this is THE definitive LEGO game.

What alternative consoles are available?

While it doesn't look like the Switch 2 will be out for at least another year, it may be worth investing in an Xbox Series X/S just to keep up-to-date with Microsoft's ever-expanding game library.

Or if the PS5 has caught your eye, we've got the perfect selection of PS5 deals available now.

Ryan is a tech writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in PCs and gaming. He is a keen PC gamer and an avid reader

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