What you need to know

  • Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite.
  • The console is designed exclusively for handheld mode.
  • Switch Lite launches September 20 for $199.

Nintendo on Wednesday officially unveiled the Nintendo Switch Lite, a smaller version of the hugely successful Switch that launched in 2017. The new console comes in three colors and is launching September 20 for $199.

As you'd expect from the name, the Switch Lite isn't quite as capable as the original Switch. The most obvious difference is the Switch Lite is smaller; its screen is 5.5 inches compared to the Switch's 6.2-inch display. It also doesn't have detachable Joy-Con, although you can connect Joy-Con to the portable console via Bluetooth.

According to Nintendo, it developed the Switch Lite after observing how consumers use the Switch. It found that many people use the hybrid console handheld mode, thus the Switch Lite is designed exclusively for handheld play. As a result, the Switch Lite has improved battery life, but Nintendo didn't reveal exact specs.

"The two systems will complement each other and co-exist in the market place," said Dough Bowser, Nintendo of America president.

The Nintendo Switch Lite lacks a kickstand and also features a proper d-pad, rather than the directional buttons featured on the original Switch. The new portable console also features some color; it comes in yellow, grey, and turquoise, and there's also a special light grey Pokémon Sword and Shield edition on the way.

According to The Verge, the Nintendo Switch light has the same 720p resolution as the original, but this time there's no brightness sensor. You'll have to adjust screen brightness manually.

Since its launch, the whole conceit of the Switch was its hybrid nature. Connect it to a TV while you're at home or take it on the go. The Switch Lite is designed for portable play only. But don't expect the new device to replace the 3DS. According to Nintendo, there are no plans to phase out the 3DS just yet.

The Nintendo Switch Lite can play all the games compatible with the original Switch that support handheld mode. If a game doesn't support handheld mode, Nintendo says players can connect compatible controllers to the Switch Lite.

If you don't currently own a Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite is a great entry into the company's current console generation. With games like Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and Luigi's Mansion 3 on the horizon, the Switch Lite will likely be the hottest console this holiday season.

"This is the perfect opportunity for us to offer more choices, and to bring more consumers into Nintendo Switch in the third year," Bowser said.

No word on whether or not Nintendo will introduce the rumored more powerful Switch. The Switch Lite will launch on September 20 for $199.

Small but mighty

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite was designed exclusively for handheld mode. It features improved battery life, a smaller display, and is compatible with all Nintendo Switch titles that support handheld mode. It launches on September 20 for $199 in yellow, grey, and turquoise.

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