Nintendo is launching a new game console this week — here’s how the new $200 Nintendo Switch Lite stacks up against the old $300 Switch

The colorful lineup of Nintendo Switch Lite consoles.

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The colorful lineup of Nintendo Switch Lite consoles.
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Nintendo

Nintendo’s new version of the Nintendo Switch costs just $200, and it’s scheduled to arrive on September 20 – this Friday!

The Nintendo Switch Lite, which was revealed in July after months of rumors, is similar to the flagship $300 Nintendo Switch in many ways – and crucially different in a few ways.

Outside of price, here’s how the two Nintendo Switch versions stack up:


1. The Nintendo Switch Lite costs $100 less because it’s a portable-only console.

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Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch is named as such for its ability to switch between form factors.

You can take it on-the-go, as a handheld console! You can dock it at home and play games on your TV, as a home console! You can even prop it up on its built-in kickstand, detach the two gamepads, and play multiplayer games with a friend, as a standalone screen/console! Madness!

The Nintendo Switch Lite, however, isn’t quite so versatile. It’s intended for one thing: Handheld gaming.

Like the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS before it, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a portable game console. It runs the same games as the Nintendo Switch, but it can only be used as a portable game console.


2. The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller than the flagship Nintendo Switch, in both its body and screen sizes.

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Nintendo

On the standard, $300 Nintendo Switch console, the touch screen is 6.2 inches. On the new Nintendo Switch Lite, the touch screen comes in at 5.5 inches.

Similarly, as seen above, the overall size of the Switch Lite’s body is shorter and skinnier than the standard Switch console.


3. The Joy-Con gamepads don’t detach from the Switch Lite.

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Nintendo

Another major selling point of the original Nintendo Switch console was its removable gamepads – the so-called “Joy-Con” controllers. A single Nintendo Switch console, with Joy-Cons, is a two-player standalone gaming system! Pretty incredible!

But the Nintendo Switch Lite is a handheld console, intended for a single person to use it as a handheld console. Thus, the Joy-Cons are built directly into the hardware.

Notably, you can pair various other Switch controllers to the Switch Lite – the Joy-Cons, for instance, or the Switch Pro Controller – which is handy if you still want to play multiplayer games like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” on the itty-bitty screen.


4. The d-pad is an actual d-pad now.

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Nintendo

For many, the version of a d-pad on the left Joy-Con was an abomination. Four directional buttons? Instead of a connected d-pad? What?!

The Nintendo Switch Lite solves that issue by putting in a standard d-pad.


5. The battery life is a little better on the Switch Lite.

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Nintendo

Are you looking for a whopping half hour increase in battery life? You’ve come to the right place: The Switch Lite is exactly that. Instead of a maximum of 6.5 hours (like the original Switch), the Nintendo Switch Lite has a maximum of 7 hours.

As always, though, battery life will differ based on the game you’re playing: Games with intense graphical needs will chew through your battery faster, as will playing games online. So if you’re playing “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” online with the brightness up, your mileage will very likely vary.


6. The Switch Lite comes in three colors: Yellow, Grey, and Turquoise.

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Nintendo

The standard Nintendo Switch has a few different color options based primarily around swapping Joy-Cons of various colors, but the Nintendo Switch Lite is going all-in on color choice.

In addition to the three seen above – the standard colors that the Switch Lite will be offered in – expect special editions, like the “Pokémon” one that arrives this November with the new game “Pokémon Sword & Shield.”


Take a longer look at the new Nintendo Switch Lite in its video debut, right here: