In an announcement that was only surprising because it happened on a random Wednesday in July rather than last month's E3 conference, Nintendo has revealed a new version of its Switch hardware.
The Nintendo Switch Lite will release Sept. 20 for $199.99, $100 cheaper than the current model, and will be available in three colors: yellow, gray and turquoise. Unlike the current Switch, which can be played in handheld mode, on the TV screen or in tabletop mode thanks to a kickstand in the back, the Switch Lite is a handheld-only device.
“Adding Nintendo Switch Lite to the lineup gives gamers more color and price point options,” Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser said in a story on IGN. “Now consumers can choose the system that best suits how they like to play their favorite Nintendo Switch games.”
The Lite reduces the screen size on the Switch from 6.2 inches in its current version down to 5.5 inches in the upcoming portable-only version. The Nintendo Switch Lite also features a battery life of 3-7 hours, a slight improvement over the original's 2.5-6.5 hours, according to Nintendo.
There are some other changes. The Switch Lite does not include the removable Joy-Con controllers, and thus the motion controls and HD rumble feature in the current model won't be present. So games like "1-2-Switch" that require motion controls won't be playable buying extra Joy-Cons.
A big bonus for the system is that it does have a proper D-pad, which matches the digital directional pad Nintendo has used on most of their controllers since the original NES. Since the Joy-Cons in the original Switch are removable, Nintendo chose to use four buttons in a diamond formation in the place of a traditional D-pad.
It does seem kind of dumb to have a version of the Switch that can't actually switch between handheld mode and TV and tabletop modes, but having a cheaper alternative does make sense. When I bought my system last year, I expected to use it primarily in handheld mode, but I probably play in TV mode the most.
But if the Lite had been available a year ago when I bought my Switch, I definitely would have considered going with the cheaper, portable-only version. Plus, it does look really good in turquoise.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is currently playing "Star Wars Battlefront 2" and "Friday the 13th: The Game." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID, DustRAG316.