The Nintendo Switch Lite: A clever solution for portable gaming


The system currently comes in yellow, blue, or black.

Eli Reynolds, Graphics Editor

On September 20th 2019, Nintendo released the long-awaited console, the Nintendo Switch Lite, a revision of the iconic March 2016 Nintendo Switch. This time, the device appeals to a more classic handheld gaming crowd, opting for portability over versatility. I’ve put the hyped new handheld to the test over the past few weeks and here are the highlights and shortcomings of Nintendo’s new machine.

Primarily, the color of the new system is the most noticeable deviation from the original design. The new system comes in three different variations of attractive, juvenile colors that encase the entire console. 

It might be a more economical choice for some to opt for the Switch Lite. Sporting a much cheaper price at only $199.99, it’s an affordable entry level choice for younger kids and casual players. Additionally, for someone looking to improve the appearance of their console without buying separate Joy Cons, opting for the Switch Lite rather than the original may be a wise financial choice.

“It’s really much easier to hold in your hands,” said Taylor Crislip, a junior at Loy Norrix. 

The buttons on the yellow, blue, and black versions are solid white and satisfying to press. The only design change made with the button layout is the inclusion of an actual d-pad, directional changing pad, on the bottom left, which was a shrewd choice considering how awkward the diamond- shaped d-pad was on the original.

The lack of a simple parallel button layout made reaching over for the d-pad to scroll through menus or select items impractical. Overall the design ensures straight to the point portability. It almost looks like a Wii U gamepad married to a Gameboy color, shrunken down and smoothed.

The screen size of the Switch Lite is smaller than the original Switch and a definite advantage.The images on the Switch Lite screen appear vibrant and closer to 1080p than on the original because the smaller screen increases the pixel density. 

Another small but vital design adaptation that makes on-the-go handheld play so much easier is the decision to reduce the bezel size. Many users of the original switch complained that the large black bezel lining the outside of the screen can be an obnoxious fingerprint magnet. 

One of the things I was most pleased to encounter on the new model is not only a reduced bezel size, but a nearly seamless transition from console to screen. This is my favorite feature. The experience of sinking into a long night of Stardew Valley & Minecraft or commuting in the car with Mario Odyssey feels just like playing on a full quality television thanks to the increase in actual screen size afforded by the new design.

The only change that reduces the appeal of the system to me is the lack of HD rumble. The satisfying feeling of tangible gameplay that the original Joy Cons offered is a premium feature that made gaming that much more enjoyable and immersive. However, that’s nothing to be wary of. If you own another set of detachable Joy Con controllers or one of the pro controllers, you can simply pair them to the Switch Lite if rumble is an absolute necessity.

In the words of Tom Marks, a reporter from IGN, “The original Nintendo Switch no longer feels like a proper portable device now that I’ve used the Switch Lite.” 

The Switch Lite revives the classic handheld format for the next generation of gamers, while preserving the purpose of the original. Simplified and small, the Switch Lite brought the jovial Gameboy days spent idly catching Pokémon on long car trips right back into the palm of my hand.