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  • Congratulations! It's a bouncing, baby gaming console!
  • A nice tricolor gaming salad.
  • If Switch players can get the d-pad back, maybe iPhone users can get the headphone jack back one of these days?
  • The controls may look a bit bigger, but it's just an optical illusion created by the smaller system housing.
  • Compare and contrast the directional inputs, but also note how much less "wasted" space there is on the bottom of the control area.
  • The shoulder buttons have not been shrunk or squeezed in any way, and reaching them feels a bit more natural thanks to the Lite's shorter height.
  • Both systems have USB-C ports on the bottom, but only one lets you connect to a TV display…
  • While it's much smaller in other dimensions, the Switch Lite is not significantly thinner than the original.
  • Check out the redesigned cooling grates as you compare and contrast the sizes.
  • Dude, where's my kickstand?
  • A new SD card slot replaces the opening that used to be behind the kickstand.
  • Down in front!
  • The higher PPI supposedly makes the image on the bottom a tad sharper than the one on the top, but we couldn't see much difference.

When I first tried the Nintendo Switch nearly three years ago now, I summed up the experience by saying that “Nintendo has made a great portable console that just happens to connect to your TV rather than a great TV console that happens to be portable.” This weeks launch of the Switch Lite really underscores that claim, refining some of the design compromises that were necessary to allow to allow the Switch to… well, switch between TV and portable modes. Thirty years after the launch of the original Game Boy, Nintendo has created what is easily its most compelling portable console yet.

Big things, small packages

SwitchSwitch Lite
Screen dimensions6.2" diagonal; 1280 x 720 resolution5.5" diagonal; 1280 x 720 resolution
Unit dimensions4" x 9.4 " x 0.55" (with Joy-Cons)3.6" x 8.2" x 0.55"
WeightApproximately 0.88 lbs (with Joy-Cons)Approximately 0.61 lbs
Battery life2.5 to 6.5 hours3 to 7 hours
Storage32 GB internal (with SD card expansion slot)32 GB internal (with SD card expansion slot)
TV connectionYesNo
Removable controllersYesNo
Force feedbackYes ("HD rumble")No
MSRP$300$200

Nintendo Switch Lite

Buy Now (Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.) Some of the most striking differences about the Switch Lite are apparent before you even open the box. The packaging is so small that a standard Switch would have trouble fitting inside, and the massive dock that accompanies the standard system would stand no chance. Inside the box, theres a Switch Lite, a USB-C wall outlet charger, and a small FCC safety pamphlet. Thats it.

On paper, the differences between the Switch Lite and the original model seem pretty modest. Its 0.4in (10mm) shorter from top to bottom (a 10% reduction), 1.2” (30mm) narrower side to side (13% reduction) and about 0.27lb (115g) lighter (about 30% reduction). In the hand, though, the difference in bulk is immediately noticeable. This is a system designed, from top to bottom, to be comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The reduced size also helps the unit fit better in a bag or back pocket (though the analog sticks still poke out annoyingly in the latter case).

The slight tackiness of the Lites matte finish also makes for a better handheld grip than the smooth plastic finish of the original. And the Switch Lite gains a subtler comfort advantage over the original by being housed in one continuous casing. Getting rid of those removable Joy-Cons—and the fiddly snap-on connection tying them to the main system housing—just makes the Switch Lite feel more solid in the hands.

Portability aside, the biggest improvement on the Switch Lite is the introduction of a traditional d-pad on the left side of the controls. The familiar cross-shaped, digital, directional inputs are the tiniest bit smaller than the ones you might remember from an NES or SNES pad. Regardless, its still a head-and-shoulders improvement over the round, disjointed directional buttons on the original Switch Joy-Con. The change causes an instant improvement in any game that requires quick digital precision, from 2D platformers to fighting games to reflex-based puzzle titles.

Battery packed

Nintendo claims three to seven hours of battery life for the Switch lite. In our tests so far, weve hit the three-hour mark almost exactly while using the system at maximum screen brightness, with pretty hefty use of the Wi-Fi.Aside from the d-pad, the Lites other controls are sized and arranged similarly to the original Switch. But because of the systems reduced height, all of those controls end up pushed 0.4in (10mm) closer to the bottom of the system. Thats not much of an issue when using the left analog stick or face buttons near the top of the system. Using the d-pad or right analog stick, though, is a bit less comfortable than on the original Switch Joy-Cons.

For me, using these “lower row” controls required either crooking my thumbs a bit more tightly than usual, or flaring my hands outward a bit, meaning the bottom corner of the system no longer rested comfortably in the crook of my palm. Its by no means a huge adjustment—and the Lites reduced weight means its not an uncomfortable one, even for extended periods. But it is noticeable.

Comparisons and compromises

  • Switch in a box.
  • Rear view
  • *'80s toy commercial announcer voice* Comes with everything you see here. SD card not included. From Nintendo.
  • Portable family reunion (L to R, top to bottom): Game Boy, Game Boy Advance SP, Switch Lite, 3DS, 2DS XL
  • The Switch Lite fits in more with Sony's portable design history than Nintendo's, truth be told.
  • TFW the first-party controller for your system practically dwarfs the system itself.

Plug in

Unlike certain Nintendo portable redesigns, the Switch Lite still has a headphone jack. But it still doesnt have native support for Bluetooth headphones. There are a number of third-party accessories that can fix this issue, but the fact that you have to buy one is a petty annoyance in this day and age.Losing 0.7in of diagonal screen real estate for the Switch Lite ends up not being a huge sacrifice. In-game characters and text are still easily readable when holding the system a comfortable foot or two from your face. And the screen maintains the same 1280×720 HD resolution as the original Switch, meaning those screen elements end up the tiniest bit sharRead More – Source

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