The Nintendo Switch Lite hasn't even made it to stores this week, but it's already making headlines courtesy of some online game reviewers.
Nintendo re-established itself as the preeminent game console maker with the release of the Nintendo Switch back in 2017. The hybrid console offered gamers the ability to play their favorite titles via a stationary device or a handheld.
Now, the Japenese video game company is rolling out the Nintendo Switch Lite, a variation of the original Switch design that is dedicated more to portable gaming. It's significantly smaller and lighter compared to its progenitor, which makes it more suitable for handheld use. It's also a lot cheaper than the first Switch, with an introductory price of only $199.
Nintendo Switch Lite Specs
The new Nintendo Switch Lite has pretty much the same gaming elements as the original console, minus the ability to connect to a TV.
The Switch Lite has a smaller 5.5-inch touchscreen compared to the Switch's 6.2-inch display. It is also relatively thinner, measuring about 3.6 inches high, 8.2 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep. Heavy users will also welcome the new console's lighter frame, weighing only at about 0.61 pounds.
Gamers won't have to worry about adjusting to the Switch Lite much since it has largely the same controller layout as the Switch. The game card and microSD slots are still found at the bottom and back of the console, respectively. There's also a dedicated jack for headphones in place of Bluetooth headset support.
Nintendo Switch Lite operates using the same OS as the Switch and is compatible with all of the video games released for the original console so far.
What Critics Think Of The Switch Lite
Here's a quick rundown of what game critics are saying about the Nintendo Switch Lite to help gamers decide whether they would buy the new console or not.
Ben Kuchera of Polygon described the Switch Lite as an "absolutely killer portable machine." Despite having misgivings about the features taken out from the console, he found the device enjoyable to use.
However, he did warn gamers to try out the new gaming console first before they buy one for themselves. He said that much of what the Switch Lite could succeed or fail at will depend on players' tolerance in using a smaller display screen and controller compared to the original Switch.
"If you want a portable Nintendo system, and you don't mind spending a little bit more to future-proof your gaming options, the Switch Lite is excellent," Kuchera wrote.
Mike Fahey of Kotaku said the console is one of the finest handheld gaming devices he has ever used. Comparing the Switch Lite to other portable consoles, he said it is larger and feels more mainstream than the Nintendo 3DS, and more rugged and "earthy" than the Sony PlayStation Vita.
Fahey also highlighted the Switch Lite's more durable appeal. He said it is the sort of gaming hardware that owners won't feel bad about if they were to toss it in a bag unprotected.
For Nintendo Switch owners, he said buying a Switch Lite will let them have a secondary device that their kids can "abuse a little bit more" as they play with it and throw it into their backpacks. It's also perfect for gamers who don't use their Switch's Dock much and would be happy playing exclusively on a portable device.
Meanwhile, Andrew Webster of The Verge offers a more nuanced look at the Switch Lite. He said the game console sits in a peculiar position, being both better and worse than the original Nintendo Switch. Its crisper display and more solid design can be considered improvements from its predecessor, but the loss of some of its core features and functionality is a definite hit to its appeal.
"If you already own a Switch and love it, the Lite isn't a necessary upgrade, unless you're absolutely dying for a proper D-pad," Webster wrote.
"The improvements are welcome, but not drastic enough to warrant getting a whole new device."