Nintendo Reveals New Portable-Only Switch: The Nintendo Switch Lite
For just about the entirety of this past year, reports have trickled out from places like the Wall Street Journal about Nintendo experimenting with new Switch types. The most popular rumor of these was the idea of a "Pro" type of Switch, in the same vein as the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro for the other members of the Big Three. After tons of speculation, and plenty of questions thrown Nintendo's way, the company finally decided to unveil their next new device: The Nintendo Switch Lite. Rather than being a beefed-up version of the Switch, the Lite chooses to go in the opposite direction by focusing on the Switch's portable nature. That's right; no dock, no HDMI cord. The Switch Lite is a portable-only handheld device, situating itself right alongside the 3DS and its cousins.
If you were worried about this being a small reveal with little to no information, don't be; Nintendo has had plenty to share. First up, the question I'm sure is on all of your minds: How much is it going to cost? The original Nintendo Switch costs $299.99. Since the Lite is going for a more streamlined, handheld experience, it will be sold for the asking price of $199.99 (similar to the pricing on Nintendo's past new handhelds). It will be sold in three flavors to start with Yellow, gray, and turquoise. Also similarly to the 3DS, Nintendo already has themed versions of the Lite planned for down the road. A special Pokemon Sword/Shield version featuring the games' legendaries will be sold with the launch of Sword/Shield this November.
Performance-wise, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a notably smaller experience. The screen measures in at 5.5 inches, and weighs less than the original Switch. The Joy-Con controllers on the Lite won't be detachable either, instead of being a part of the device itself. Because of this, they won't include HD Rumble or IR Motion Camera. Thankfully, since the Lite is focused entirely on portable play, the battery life is considerably longer than a standard Switch in handheld mode, clocking in at around 3-7 hours of playtime total. "The new device can play all games in the robust Nintendo Switch library that support handheld mode, although some games will have restrictions," Nintendo stated, discussing game compatibility for the Lite. "Compatible game modes will be listed on the back of game packaging and in Nintendo eShop." This includes most Switch games, as most do indeed support handheld mode. Naturally, some exceptions will apply.
Nintendo timed this announcement carefully with the release date in mind, as we don't have long to wait. The Nintendo Switch Lite will go on sale starting September 20th, a mere two months away. This announcement has already fueled discussion on the company gearing up for an alternative "TV Mode-only" Switch, one that would be focused more on the hardware and specs in sacrifice of the portability. Of course, this is all just rumor territory for now, though it would make sense for Nintendo to go both directions with the Switch's dual-play capabilities. It's only a matter of time until we find out. If you want to see all of the differences between the Switch Lite and Switch up close and personal, Nintendo has provided a handy comparison page on their official website. They've also put out an introduction video for the Lite, which is a good 6-minute watch if you want to find out more below.