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Mike Yawney reviews the Nintendo Switch

kyle.mack | posted Wednesday, Sep 25th, 2019

Two years after introducing the ground-breaking Switch, Nintendo has released an updated version of the popular console. The Nintendo Switch Lite cuts back on some of the features, but in return eases the burden on your wallet. We’ve had a chance to use the new system over the past week. Read our review to decide if the Lite version is right for you and your family.
Smaller and Lighter
Nintendo has created a more compact version of the Switch, making it ever so smaller, and lighter. The Switch Lite comes in at roughly 120 grams lighter than the original. On paper, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s noticeable. Size-wise, imaging removing one of the Joy-Cons from the original Nintendo Switch. This gives roughly you the footprint of the new version.
It’s surprising to see how the subtle changes in size and weight make such a big difference on how it feels in your hands. Switch Lite feels much more like a portable console compared to the original Switch. Part of the reason is it’s more stable. Since the Joy-Con controllers can’t be removed you don’t get the slight wiggle that you did on the original Switch.
D-Pad Makes a Comeback
Dual analog sticks have become the norm of modern-day consoles. While they work great for shooters and adventure games, the accurate control needed to play older 8-bit, even 16-bit just Isn’t there. Thankfully Nintendo has reintroduced the classic D-pad into the design of the Switch Lite.
If you tried playing some of the classic NES and SNES games on the Nintendo Switch you may have noticed the controls feel slightly off. The D-pad makes playing those classic titles much more enjoyable, Even newer versions of classic games like Tetris 99 just play better with the D-pad.
The Screen
Sure, smaller footprint means a slightly smaller screen. The screen size has dropped from 6.2 inches down to 5.5 inches. Will you notice it? Probably not. The resolution remains the same. It still looks beautiful
Battery
Just how good the battery life on the Nintendo Switch Lite is compared to the Switch really depends on which model of Switch you own. The original Switch, released back in 2017 held 2.5 to 6.5 hours worth of charge. Recently Nintendo launched a newer version which has a better battery life of 4.5 to 9 hours. The Switch Lite will get you anywhere between 3 and 7 hours. A slight upgrader if you owned the original
Games 
Strange to say this but if you are thinking about buying the Switch Lite you need to know that not all games are playable on the system. There are a few games that simply don’t support handheld mode which is the ONLY mode supported by the Switch Lite.
Games like 1-2 Switch, Just Dance and Nintendo Labo/Labo VR all require either HD Rumble or motion control. This is not an option on the Switch Lite. The Joy-Cons are non-detachable. The number of games that you cannot play is few, however, they do include favorites like Super Mario Party.
Game Sharing
This could be an issue for families with more than one Nintendo Switch. Nintendo forces you to dedicate one Switch in your home as a primary Switch. Any other Switches in the household will be considered secondary Switches. While you can transfer digital games, even saves from the primary Switch to a secondary Switch, the secondary Switch MUST be connected to the internet to play these titles. If you cannot connect at least once every three hours, you will not be allowed to play the game. You can also ONLY play games through the account that originally purchased them, which could be problematic if parents are buying games for kids from their account.
Some users (including myself) have found that dedicating your Switch Lite as the primary console alleviates this problem as it won’t have to go online for authorization…but if someone back home wants to play they would have to play through the owner’s account, not their own. This could cause problems for cloud saves if they did log into the game owner’s account.
Another workaround is to buy physical game cartridges instead of digital files. The only downside here is you have to carry those little things around with you wherever you go…and hope no one loses or misplaces one.
No Docking Allowed
This may be a deal-breaker for some. The Original Switch was called Switch for a reason, You could place the portable console in a docking station and use it like a traditional console along with your television, This latest version can’t be connected to a TV. It’s portable only. For some, it may not be a big deal. Personally I use my Nintendo Switch on the go and have maybe only docked it one or two times in the past two years.
The Bottom Line
Nintendo’s new Switch Lite feels much more like a portable console than the original Switch ever did. It’s more compact, more stable and has quickly become my go-to for gaming on the go. If you want to play your favorite Nintendo games on the go then this is the console for you! It feels like the perfect portable gaming machine. It just becomes problematic in households with multiple Switch consoles and multiple gamers. You’ll need to come to an agreement on who plays what games and where so you don’t have to buy multiple copies of digital titles.