Differences between Nintendo Switch Lite and the original Switch

If you are in the market for a Nintendo Switch, use our handy guide to learn the differences between the new Lite model and the original.


It would be an understatement to declare the Nintendo Switch as a successful product. Since its launch back in the first half of 2017, Nintendo’s handheld console has enjoyed consistently strong sales and helped cultivate a growing library of excellent original games and ports. Nintendo has sold nearly 40 million Switch hardware packages and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to a revised CPU from NVIDIA and some calculated cuts to the original design, Nintendo has just released an all-new variant of the console, known as the Nintendo Switch Lite.

The Nintendo Switch Lite offers the same great experience that owners of the original console enjoyed, now with a smaller size, improved battery life, and lighter weight. Should you find yourself in the market for a new Switch console or if you are considering upgrading from the original model, it will be helpful to know the differences between the devices so you can make the best decision.

What are the differences between Nintendo Switch Lite and the original Switch?

Nintendo Switch Lite differences
The Nintendo Switch Lite is both smaller and lighter than its older counterpart.


The biggest differences between the new Nintendo Switch Lite and the original Switch are mostly in size and weight. The original Switch handheld measured 9.4 x 4 0.6 inches in size, while the Switch Lite is only 7.2 x 3.6 x 0.6. Both models share the same overall thickness, with the Lite version offering less width and height. The Switch Lite is also 4.3 ounces lighter than the original model. This makes it more pocket-friendly, which could be a major factor for users who value portability over other concerns. The Switch Lite also has a slightly rougher outside finish, which should make it slightly easier to grip than the glossy finish on the original Switch.


Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers
The original Nintendo Switch is the only model that comes bundled with Joy-Con controllers.

The components that make up the insides and display of the consoles also differs. The original Switch used a custom-designed processor from NVIDIA based on the Tegra X1 design. The Switch Lite uses a slightly upgraded variant of that chip released in 2019, though there will be no noticeable difference in-game performance between the two models. The Switch Lite makes use of a 5.5-inch 720p LCD screen versus the 6.2-inch 720p LCD in the original variant. The Switch Lite also lacks the detachable Joy-Con controllers included with the full-sized Switch. Unlike the Joy-Cons, the Switch Lite offers a conventional d-pad under the left control stick for input.

The smaller screen helps the Switch Lite achieve slightly better battery life than the original 2017 Switch handheld. It should be noted that Nintendo began offering a revised standard-sized Switch in 2019 that offers improved battery life over the first release. Any new Switch console on shelves now will be one of the 2019 revisions. Prospective buyers should know that the Switch Lite lacks the dock included with the regular Switch. This means you will be unable to hook it up to a television and can only play Switch games that offer official handheld mode support.

Color options and pricing

Nintendo Switch Lite colors
The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in three colors at launch, as well as a special Pokemon-themed version.

Lastly, the final differences between the Switch models are price and color. The Nintendo Switch Lite is sold for $199 while the full-sized model retails for $299. The Switch Lite is currently available in gray, turquoise, yellow, and Pokemon Sword and Shield paint jobs. The full-sized Switch is available in black with either red, blue, or gray Joy-Con controllers. Some special variants of the full-sized Switch are also available at various retailers.

If you are curious about the Switch Lite and its software library, you can learn more about the newest portable-friendly Nintendo console by stopping by Shacknews' Nintendo Switch Lite home page.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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