Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: which one to choose?

Are you hesitating between buying a Nintendo Switch or a Switch Lite? Then this guide is for you. Depending on your uses and habits, each of the two consoles may be suitable for you. Find out which one is best for you and which one we believe offers the best value for money.

In March 2017, Nintendo hit hard on the video game market by launching its Switch, a hybrid console that allows you to play both in portable mode, but also on a TV like a home console using from a dock. It took him well, since the Nintendo Switch was a hit. To ride on this success, Big N then decided to decline it and market a Switch Lite which is smaller and only portable. For consumers, the question then arises: which of the two is right for me? In this paper, we help you navigate and choose which console best suits your needs.

Screen size

Lovers of large diagonal, take into account that the Switch Lite offers a 5.5-inch screen, smaller than that of the Switch’s 6.2 inches therefore. This is necessarily a parameter to take into account at the time of purchase. The two sizes may appear similar on paper, but once in hand, the difference is there. The definition, however, remains unchanged: the panel can display HD up to 1280 x 720 pixels on both models. However, some particularly greedy titles like The Witcher III are only playable in 540 pixels.

Small advantage for the Switch Lite, it offers a slightly higher resolution since it has the same number of pixels on a smaller surface. It is entitled to 267 pixels per inch (ppi) against 237 ppi for the Switch. Compared to current smartphones, this is little, but enough to play on the console.

Winner: Nintendo Switch

Switch games catalog

In theory, the Switch Lite benefits from the same catalog of games as the Switch and itself does not benefit from any exclusives. In practice, it’s more complicated: certain limitations of the Switch Lite make it impossible to play certain titles.

First, only titles with portable mode are supported. These are the majority of them, but that still rules out a few major games. One thinks of Super Mario Party, which is designed to be played on a TV with others like a board game. Its mini-games absolutely require motion control and HD rumble functionality from the Joy-Con. For the same reasons, don’t plan to play Just Dance, Fitness Boxing or 1-2-Switch with the Lite. The console is also deprived of Nintendo Labo and the Ring Fit Adventure accessory. The latter indeed use the Joy-Con independently and those of the Switch Lie are glued to the screen.

nintendo switch

Afterwards, we also have the case of playable productions, but with a largely deteriorated experience. Perhaps the most glaring example is Super Mario Odyssey, the controls of which get very complicated without Joy-Con and motion control. On Pokémon Go, catching small creatures had to be adapted and may be less fun. Ditto for Mario Tennis Aces, Splatoon 2, Okami HD, all playable on Switch Lite but less appreciable because designed to be played with Joy-Con. We can also mention The World Ends With You: Final Remix and Astral Chain, whose cooperation modes are unusable on the only portable console. We recommend that you read our guide to the best Switch games around.

Winner: Nintendo Switch

Modes, features and services

On the Nintendo Switch, the player has the choice between three game modes:

  • TV mode: placing the console on the included dock, itself connected to the TV, allows you to play on the large screen in the living room or bedroom
  • Tabletop mode: A stand allows the portable console to stand on a flat surface and play with the Joy-Con detached
  • Portable mode: The Joy-Con are attached to the screen, and the whole thing fits in the hands of the player.
nintendo switch

With the Switch Lite, it is logically only the portable mode which is supported, which does not pose only a problem of comfort but also deprives the user of part of the catalog of games, as we have it. seen above ..

Nintendo Switch Online, which notably provides access to multiplayer and a catalog of retro games, is present on both consoles. Local multi for up to eight players is also available on both devices.

If you already have a Switch and are hesitant to purchase an add-on Switch Lite, be aware that backups can be linked to a common account. There is no problem regaining your progress when switching consoles (cloud saving is for Switch Online subscribers only).

Winner: Nintendo Switch

Battery life

A part that will interest the nomads. When the Switch Lite was announced, Nintendo communicated excellent news to consumers: geared towards mobility, the portable console should have more battery life than the Switch. According to the publisher, the Switch Lite battery can last between 3 and 7 hours (3 hours on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) against between 2.5 and 6.5 hours (3 hours for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) for the Switch. That is a small gain of up to 30 minutes depending on usage.

nintendo switch pro lite

Problem: just after the official presentation of its portable console, Nintendo announced that it was releasing a new model of Switch, which replaces the old one. And if it has a battery identical to the version released in 2017, it does ship a new, more optimized Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC. Consequence: autonomy is lost and we are now entitled to enter 4.5 and 9 hours (5.5 hours on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild). A huge difference that puts the interest of the Switch Lite into perspective since we end up with a 100% portable console that is less enduring than its hybrid counterpart.

We take this opportunity to warn you to be very careful when purchasing a standard Switch because the 2017 model is still sold through resellers, especially on marketplaces. Make sure you buy a console with the serial number starting with “HAD” to get the latest Switch and its increased autonomy. If it says “HAC”, then it’s the 2017 version. If you see a significant price reduction on the Switch, it’s very likely that it’s a “HAC”, no rush then.

Winner: Nintendo Switch 2019 (HAD)

Getting started

With dimensions of 91.1 x 208 x 13.9 mm and a design better suited to mobile gaming, the Switch Lite is more manageable than its big sister and its 102 x 239 x 13.9 mm. The latter is also much heavier: 378 grams against 275 grams for the portable console. Easier to carry and handle, the Switch Lite is also durable and less resistant to shocks, which can be a plus if the device is intended for children, you’re clumsy, or planning to go. out and about.

switch lite size
Credit: Vædreus Aardimus

But the Nintendo Switch still has strengths to make. Thanks to its Joy-Con, it benefits from HD vibrations which helps to strengthen the immersion. Guaranteed effect if the game developers have taken this feature into account as well as possible. In fact, the next DualShock controllers for the PS5 should also feature similar technology with dynamic vibrations and a haptic motor.

Of course, the Joy-Con’s infrared motion sensor camera is not present on the Switch Lite either, which also poses some gameplay issues on some titles that particularly exploit this option. In fact, it becomes difficult to enjoy some games in the catalog with the Switch Lite.

Winner: Tie

What about this Joy-Con problem?

We have told you about it several times on the site, many users have had part of their experience with the Switch spoiled by the Joy-Con Drift, a bug that appears on some devices and causes “ghost actions”: menu who unfolds or character who advances without touching anything for example. Frustrating. Well on this point, no jealousy since the Nintendo Switch Lite also has these joystick problems.

nintendo switch joycon

We thought it would be spared given that Nintendo is supposed to master this type of design well and that it would not want to reignite a controversy that plagues it a bit with the Switch, but the Japanese manufacturer made the same mistake. Rest assured though, this only affects a small portion of the products and Nintendo’s after-sales service is very efficient.

Recurring problems that have earned the Nintendo Switch to be voted the most fragile product of the year 2019, according to 60 million consumers. In all cases, keep the items, including the invoice, which will allow you to benefit from customer service and repair free of charge.

Winner: Tie


When it was released, the Nintendo Switch was sold for 329.99 euros. Its recommended price then fell to 299.99 euros. For its part, the Nintendo Switch Lite is marketed at a price of 199.99 euros, a difference of 100 euros. We then have different bundles including limited editions, special colors, included games or a voucher to spend on Nintendo eShop that can vary the prices.

Between the two, the Switch Lite therefore emerges as the winner in terms of the tariff applied. However, the classic Switch remains better in terms of quality / price ratio. It remains to be seen whether you want to use the Joy-Con features or whether the purchase is motivated by wanting to play 100% in portable mode.

Winner: Nintendo Switch Lite

To know :


Nintendo Switch Lite Nintendo Switch
Dimensions 91.1 x 208 x 13.9 mm 102 x 239 x 13.9 mm
Weight 275 g 378 g
Screen 5.5 inch 720 pixel touchscreen LCD 6.2 inch 720 pixel touchscreen LCD
Autonomy 3 to 7 hours (4 hours of consecutive play for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game) 4.5 to 9 hours (5.5 hours of consecutive play for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game)
Docking station and TV stand No Yes
Joy-Con controllers No Yes
Game modes Portable TV, tabletop, portable
Catalog Only Switch games with portable mode are compatible All Switch games are compatible

You get it, Nintendo Switch Lite is just the name of Switch. It is in fact a portable console that replaces the 3DS and takes advantage of part of the catalog of games and functionality of the Switch. Given the relatively small price difference between the two consoles, most users will want to switch to the standard Nintendo Switch, which is more versatile and offers the full experience.

But in some special cases, the Switch Lite may be a better choice. It is easier to handle and more resistant, ideal for children. If you don’t have a TV and don’t plan to play docked, this is also a good solution. Too bad for this lower battery life than the new Switch which does not make it the perfect portable option.

There you go, you should be able to make your choice now. And if you still have a little doubt, we invite you to consult our full review of the Nintendo Switch as well as our review of the Switch Lite. Also note that an improved Switch, dubbed Switch Pro, is rumored to be in the works. Its launch would take place in mid-2020. This could affect the price of the classic Switch.

Winner: Nintendo Switch

Bonus question: should we wait for the release of a more powerful Switch?

It is therefore better to prefer the Switch to the Switch Lite. But a question still arises: isn’t it better to wait for the release of an improved version of the console? Such a version has been rumored for a while now, but it has not yet been officially announced by Nintendo.

However, a very credible rumor is now circulating on the net. United Daily News, well informed on the subject, indicates that Nintendo is planning to release a Switch model with an improved Nvidia Tegra X1 chip and the ability to display games in 4K. One way to help developers whose games are suffering from lack of power. However, this model could put owners of older models on the sidelines.

This is not the first rumor that points in this direction regarding the Switch Pro. Postpone buying a Switch in case the Pro ever comes out is not a very safe bet, and therefore we do not recommend waiting. If you want to buy a Switch now, check out without blaming yourself.

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