- Oct 24, 2017
Switch Lite is life?
Most exciting, however, is that Switch library in this smaller, more eminently portable form factor. I’m not sure I’d want one of these as my only Switch (and I’m still holding out hope for a ‘Switch Pro’), as I’d miss the dock, but there are plenty of players who rarely or never dock. There are plenty of kids who want a handheld. I’d still recommend it to people like me as a second machine for traveling, and even more to those who care not for the dock as their sole portal into the world of the Switch. It provides high quality games in an excellent portable form factor, and so the spirit of the Game Boy and DS lives on – but it also offers console-quality games on the go; and in that, it succeeds the Vita. It is, as I said, the best of both worlds.
At first, I thought the Switch Lite was similar to the 2DS -- a stripped down, kid-friendly version of a more technically complex console. But that might be dismissive of what Nintendo has actually accomplished. The Switch Lite is refined and ergonomic in a way I'd never think of the 2DS. It might be missing key aspects of the Switch experience, but it's also the best way to play Switch games on the go.
The Switch Lite lacks the versatility of the standard Switch, which makes its appeal much narrower, but it does have some benefits over the original model for those looking for a strictly portable experience.
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. (Even then, you have other options.) The improvements are welcome, but not drastic enough to warrant getting a whole new device. The Switch Lite is for people who are sitting on the proverbial fence: someone who liked the idea of Nintendo’s tablet but couldn’t quite stomach a $300 price tag and who didn’t really want to play games on a TV anyway. The kind of person who just wants a machine for playing Breath of the Wild on a plane or a kid who needs the latest Pokémon to fill those quiet summer afternoons. If the cut features don’t feel necessary to you, the Switch Lite will likely be a good option.
As I began, it’s one of the finest handheld gaming devices I’ve ever used. It’s larger, and feels more mainstream, than the quirky 3DS. It’s more rugged and earthy than Sony’s precious-looking Vita. It’s the sort of gaming hardware I wouldn’t feel bad just tossing in a bag unprotected. It’s console gaming in the palm of your hand, and you can pull it out during a rooftop party without feeling obligated to share.
The Switch Lite is a great secondary Switch, though for many the inability to dock to a TV will be an understandable deal-breaker. It's comfortable, aesthetically stylish, and plays games great, but it makes it awkward to play local multiplayer games and without detachable JoyCon it loses loads of existing functionality. A great gift for kids, perfect for those who wish to play a Switch by themselves in handheld mode, but for many, the original model will still be the better choice.