It's like the new Nintendo Switch Lite was made for me. As someone whose classic Nintendo Switch dock is keeping cozy beneath a think blanket of dust, and who is a sucker for an on-trend color option, the Lite is my new most wanted device. The thicc Switch is over, it's all about the Lite in 2019.
So what got cut to save on space and cost? The ability to dock your Switch and play on a TV (I asked Nintendo and even if you ram your new Switch Lite into an old dock, all that will happen is it charges) HD rumble, a kickstand, and the IR motion camera. You're losing a little off the screen too.
Size isn't everything
But, when tested with my own, slightly worn eyeballs, the smaller screen wasn't a problem. It's a 5.5-inch LCD screen compared to the original's 6.2-inch LCD Screen, but after a few minutes of Super Mario Maker 2 and a deep dive into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild I completely forgot about the shrinkage. Even the menus and minute flavor text of Zelda held up under close scrutiny. One thing the Lite doesn't have is an auto brightness sensor, so the screen won't adjust itself when you emerge from a cave into blinding sunlight, but you can still manually adjust it in the menus. It's hard to imagine that being a problem for all but the most demanding of handheld connoisseurs, but if you're making a detailed pros and cons list between the new and the vanilla Switch, it's something to note.
Tiny but mighty
The fact that the Joy-Con controllers are permanently attached helps the Nintendo Switch Lite feel more robust, despite weighing about .27 lbs less than the original Switch when it's in handheld mode. Because everything is one unit, it feels more stable, like it could take a small tumble down some stairs and come out OK. Please don't test this theory out.
The newer package also means a better battery life, around 20%-30% longer, which is a big chunk of Fire Emblem: Three Houses time when you're trapped on a budget flight with no access to power, a battery pack or human dignity. I wasn't at the Nintendo showcase long enough to set a timer and burn out a battery, but it makes sense that a newer model with a smaller screen would boast a more efficient power consumption.
And let's talk about the colors, which are even prettier in person. There's none of that cheap. Fisher Price shine to the plastic, so both the yolky yellow and oceanic turquoise look bright but classy. I'm torn between the two when it comes to my pre-order, and haunted by my (absolutely unsubstantiated by Nintendo or anything but my own imagination) hopes that there'll be a special edition version of the Nintendo Switch Lite to accompany the release of Animal Crossing Switch on March 20, 2020.
The real headline is that the Nintendo Switch Lite price is $100 lower than the classic Nintendo Switch, but still feels like a premium console. Unless you're absolutely stuck on having the Nintendo Switch as your home console or need to dock for major Mario Kart tournaments with the family, the Lite just makes sense as a first Switch purchase.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is now available for pre-order for $199.99, and will launch on September 20.