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Nintendo Switch Lite: Design, specs, price, editions, and release date

The Nintendo Switch Lite is real. Here's what we know about it so far

Nintendo switch lite new console mobile on the go undocked built in controllers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Nintendo Switch is just two years old, and as Sony and Microsoft both prepare to launch their next-generation systems, Nintendo will continue supporting the Switch for the foreseeable future. However, just because Nintendo isn’t planning a new generation of the system yet doesn’t mean revised consoles aren’t in the works.

We’ve heard reports and rumors about a few different systems, including a more powerful offering. That rumored system appears to actually be one with an improved battery life, but Nintendo has officially announced the handheld-focused Nintendo Switch Lite for release later this year.

What is the Nintendo Switch Lite?

First Look at Nintendo Switch Lite: New Addition to the Nintendo Switch Family

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a lighter, smaller, and less expensive alternative to the standard Nintendo Switch System, with play limited to the console’s handheld mode. Since the system cannot be docked, the Joy-Con controllers have been replaced with similar-looking control sticks and buttons on either side, mimicking the layout of the Joy-Con but without being removable.

Doug Bowser president of Nintendo of America told The Verge, “The two systems will complement each other and co-exist in the marketplace.”

The Nintendo Switch Lite is compatible with all Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode, but certain titles such as 1-2 Switch will require additional Joy-Con controllers that can be separated from the system.

It doesn’t include a built-in stand like the standard Switch, so that means you won’t be able to play it in tabletop mode without purchasing an accessory — as anyone who has used the Switch’s built-in stand will tell you, though, you should get a separate stand anyway.

Its smaller size and reduced weight will likely make it a better choice for younger players and those who play in handheld mode exclusively.

Specs

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Nintendo Switch Lite features a 5.5-inch display, which is down from the 6.2-inch display of the original system. Nintendo told The Verge, the lite version of the Switch will maintain its 720p resolution, and that its weight has been slightly reduced thanks to a more power-efficient chip layout. This has allowed the system to have around 30 minutes of extra battery life compared to the standard system. This is despite the battery being slightly smaller in the Switch Lite than it is the original system, with a smaller total mAh capacity.

The system has ditched HD rumble and the motion camera on the Joy-Con controllers, along with the directional buttons seen on the left Joy-Con, replacing them with a traditional directional pad.

What’s most important with the Switch Lite, however, is the feature it lacks: docked play. There is no way to connect the Switch Lite to a television, even if you purchase a dock separately. It only can play games that support handheld mode. As such, those who prefer to play games at home will likely want to stick to the regular Switch.

Release date and price

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20, 2019, for $200, and it will come in gray, turquoise, and yellow configurations. A special version featuring the two legendary monsters in Pokémon Sword and Shield will release on November 8 just ahead of the game for the same price.

Because of support for cloud saves on most Nintendo Switch games, those who own the previous version should be able to retain their data without performing a system transfer.  It’s worth noting that a few games such as Pokémon: Let’s Go cannot have their save data backed up in the cloud, and the cloud save feature requires a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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