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Nintendo Switch Lite Under Test: Now the Best Game Console on the Go

Nintendo Switch Lite im Test: Jetzt auch die beste Spiele­konsole für unterwegs

tl; dr: The Nintendo Switch Lite convinces as a pure handheld console in the test with a significantly lower weight and better keys than the original. The battery lasts longer. As a second switch, however, it is not fully suitable and the smaller size is not only positive.

With the Switch Lite Nintendo brings not only a smaller and lighter version of the switch on the market, but also a real handheld. Because on the docking possibility of the switch for connection and operation on a TV, the cheaper Switch Lite has to do without. The Switch Lite costs only around 210 euros, while the switch continues to be around 300 euros. Therefore, apart from the Switch Lite, only the power supply is included. The Switch Lite has recently become available in the colors yellow, gray and turquoise.

The smaller form factor, however, brings some changes.

Differences between the Switch and Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite is 120 grams lighter than the Nintendo Switch, the weight has fallen from 398 to 275 grams. This makes them better suited for on-the-go use, which also applies to the dimensions which have shrunk from 102 × 239 × 14 mm (L × W × H) to 91 × 208 × 14 mm. Smaller dimensions also lead to a smaller display. This has shrunk from 6.2 inches from the switch to 5.5 inches at the Switch Lite, which sounds little, but is quite noticeable and visible. The resolution of 1,280 × 720 pixels remains unchanged, so that the Switch Lite even offers the better pixel density. If this is 237 ppi for the Switch, the Switch Lite is 267 ppi. However, writing in games becomes smaller and harder to read.

In addition to Bluetooth 4.1, the Nintendo Switch Lite supports 802.11 b / g / n / ac Wi-Fi and will continue to support NFC for use with amiibo.

Longer battery life than 1st generation Switch

The smaller case is also followed by a smaller battery. Instead of 4,310 mAh (16.2 Wh) in the first switch, the Switch Lite only has a battery with a capacity of 3,570 mAh (13.6 Wh). However, in combination with the other changes, this should not be negative, but even positive for the duration, which should now be between 3.0 and 7.0 instead of 2.5 to 6.5 hours. With the new second generation of the switch, which offers between 4.5 and 9 hours of battery life, the lite but can not keep up. This second generation, distinguished only by the serial number starting with “XKW” instead of “XAW”, relies on a new revision of the Nvidia Tegra X1, which at TSMC takes place in 16 nm FinFET as before in 20 nm is manufactured.

No detachable Joy-Con and no dock mode anymore

The Switch Lite dispenses with detachable Joy-Con, as it should only be used as a handheld. The controls are thus firmly integrated into the case and Nintendo relies on a digital control pad alias d-pad instead of the four directional keys of the switch – a successful change, as this can be controlled better. The two shoulder buttons ZL and ZR are much softer in the Switch Lite and have a longer stroke than the first switch, where they also click louder. This is due to a different implementation of the buttons, because with the first switch ZL and ZR press directly on a button on a board, while the Switch Lite an additional membrane is below the switches. Also, the A, B, X, Y action buttons are softer, making playing more enjoyable, and the button labels are engraved instead of imprinted, which makes them more durable.

The other sticks and buttons are identical and again convince with clear feedback and precise control. Likewise, the Switch Lite does not offer analog shoulder buttons, which would have been a real win for racing games.

The first videos have surfaced on the Internet that the Switch Lite may also have the well-known problem of “Joy-Con Drift”, in which the stick registers a slight sideways movement, even though it is in zero position. In the US, this problem has already led to a class action lawsuit and Nintendo is now repairing affected Joy-Con for free. In the test of the Nintendo Switch Lite no “Joy-Con Drift” could be determined.

Not only does the Switch Lite not include a docking station, it also does not support dock mode for use with the TV. The Switch Lite does not fit into the first generation dock. If you connect them directly to a TV or monitor via USB-C with DisplayPort, it will stay black and no image will be output from the Switch Lite.

Sensors, camera and vibration are missing the Lite

In addition, the Switch Lite dispenses with a brightness sensor, an IR motion camera and integrated vibration. Due to the lack of an IR motion camera, Nintendo Labo Kits can not be used with the Switch Lite.

Internal memory and microSD card remain the same

The Switch Lite has a 32 GB internal memory that can be expanded with a microSD card. Since the Switch Lite does not offer a stand like the switch, which conceals the microSD card slot, it now has its own cover. As with the Switch, the memory is 4 gigabytes in size with the Switch Lite, but LPDDR4X memory is used instead of LPDDR4, which reduces the voltage from 1.1 to 0.6 volts and thus also the power consumption.


Nintendo Switch Lite: microSD under cover
Nintendo Switch Lite: microSD under cover

Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Same power supply, smoother surface

The power supply of the Switch Lite is identical to the power supply of the first generation switch and delivers a maximum of 39 watts. The Switch Lite has a slightly rougher surface than the switch, giving it more grip than the first model.

All games compatible with handheld mode

The Switch Lite is compatible with any switch game that supports the switch's handheld mode. For games that do not require this and detachable Joy-Con, these can be purchased separately and connected to the Switch Lite to play such games. Super Mario Party and 1-2-Switch are some of the games that can not be easily played with the Switch Lite.

However, there are also in Nintendo's own old games such as Super Mario Odyssey, which appeared before the launch of the Switch Lite, repeatedly tips and hints, which explicitly refer to the two detachable Joy-Con switch. How to perform such moves as the targeted cap throw without these two controllers, the player will not reveal at this point on the Switch Lite.

The smaller display is very homogeneous

The display of the Switch Lite offers good viewing angles and is subjectively much warmer compared to the display of the Switch. The measurements also confirm this. If the color temperature of the switch is cool 8,050 Kelvin, the Switch Lite is 7,200 Kelvin. The option to automatically adjust the brightness of the screen is eliminated due to the lack of a brightness sensor on the Switch Lite. In very bright environments, it is noticeable again that the environment is very much reflected in the display. The maximum brightness in the representation of white is 346 cd / m² – the first switch comes to 363 cd / m². However, the homogeneity of the small screen of the Switch Lite is really remarkable. If it is lit on the right side with a maximum of 346 cd / m², then it is in the middle and left 343 cd / m². The deviation of the brightness is thus less than one percent.

Homogeneity of the Nintendo Switch Lite
Homogeneity of the Nintendo Switch Lite

The black value of the Switch Lite's display averages 0.402 cd / m², resulting in a contrast of 856: 1. The switch comes to a better black level of 0.34 cd / m² and a higher contrast of 1028: 1. The minimum brightness in the representation of white is only 2.25 cd / m², which will never be used in everyday life. The first switch with 1.02 cd / m² is even darker here.


Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Sufficient sound and quiet fan

Also, the Switch Lite has two speakers for stereo sound that are sufficient for the sound of games and occasional YouTube videos, but quickly reach their limits and barely offer bass. If they shine forward at the original switch, they are aimed at the Switch Lite down into the hand. Praiseworthy on a mobile handheld is the option that the Switch Lite will be automatically silenced when you remove a headset. These must continue to be wired via the 3.5mm jack on the Switch Lite. Via Bluetooth, no headphones can be connected to the Switch Lite, which would be helpful on the go, especially on a handheld. Meanwhile, however, there are USB-C Bluetooth adapters that eliminate this problem, but must be purchased separately.


Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch compared
Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch in comparison

As with the switch, warm air is blown out of the console at the top. The fan of the Switch Lite is again pleasantly quiet and is not perceived during normal operation. The heat development of the console itself is not negligible when playing games.

Switch Lite as a second switch not without hurdles

If you want to replace your switch with the Switch Lite, you can easily transfer user data and game scores from one console to another. Digital games can also be re-downloaded to a second switch through the Nintendo eShop with the account they purchased from. For those who want to use more than one switch, Nintendo allows you to select a switch as your primary switch so that games can always be played on it without an Internet connection.

The second switch also has to be constantly on the internet

However, to play digitally purchased games on the second switch, not only does it need to be connected to the internet once to launch the game, but it also needs to re-authenticate every three hours. If you have a smartphone with an Internet connection with you, you can help yourself with a smartphone hotspot here, but in the long run this is cumbersome and annoying. Even applications like YouTube can not be shared on two switches simultaneously with the same account – this lock is not limited to paid applications and games.

In addition, the games can only be played with the account that has purchased them – as well as Sony and Microsoft handle their consoles. If you share your switch with children in the household or use it on the way, you will quickly reach your limits. If you want to use the Switch Lite more often and not the switches because it is lighter and smaller, you will sooner or later fail to define it as the primary system – which means that the other switch will no longer be played offline can.


Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo could respond to this problem by increasing the three-hour re-authentication time interval, for example, to one day, so that long flights and car journeys, or just the day outside the home, can be bridged. Alternatively, Nintendo could also allow digital purchases of other user accounts to be played on a switch associated with the buyer if they log in in advance.

Anyone wishing to play games with different user accounts on different switches, not at the same time, should therefore refrain from digital purchases and choose the classic gaming cards, if available. However, this carries the risk of loss and makes the games not always and everywhere available if another family member just has it.

Transfer memory to the Switch Lite

Cloud Stores allow you to transfer the scores of a user account to a second switch and not have to start a game from the beginning. However, this requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership, which costs 3.99 euros in the monthly subscription, 7.99 euros in the 3-month subscription and 19.99 euros as an annual subscription. If you do not have a subscription, you can transfer the savegames, but there is no synchronization via the cloud and they are deleted on the exit console – without a subscription to the online service, the Switch Lite can not be usefully used as a second switch.

Games must also support the function of cloud storage. For example, Splatoon 2 and FIFA 19 do not do it. Officially designed to prevent abuse and cheating by reloading the game on another system, where digital items have not yet been sold or held a better rank.

Nintendo Switch Lite: playing cards are inserted
Nintendo Switch Lite: playing cards are inserted

If you use the Switch Lite as a second switch, you should always check before starting a game to see if it has the most current score on the system. The second switch does not always check this reliably alone.

On the next page: Battery Life, Ergonomics and Conclusion

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