While 2020 will see the release of two flagship next generation consoles in the PS5 and Xbox Series X, Nintendo went a different route in 2019, releasing a more affordable, stripped down model of their wildly successful Nintendo Switch console. The Nintendo Switch Lite fits in my pocket and has a D-Pad. It's size makes it the perfect second Switch for households fighting over screen time. The Nintendo Switch Lite has earned our Shacknews Best Hardware of 2019 award.
Nintendo Switch Lite departs from its predecessor's original design in some striking ways that lead to improvements and also less features. Switch Lite does not feature detachable Joy-Con controllers, but the buttons feel sturdier as a result of building the controllers into the device. The addition of a directional pad ( the + Control Pad as Nintendo now calls it) is a welcome improvement as many Switch players found the Joy-Con directional buttons to provide mediocre gameplay experiences in platforms or games like Tetris 99.
Sadly, the Switch Lite doesn't do what was the biggest selling point of the original Nintendo Switch in 2017. You can only play Nintendo Switch Lite in handheld-mode, but if players know this ahead of purchasing the device, it can be the perfect handheld console experience. Almost all of the existing library of NIntendo Switch titles are playable on the Nintendo Switch Lite, and it is even easier to take it on the go with its more portable form factor that fits perfectly in your pocket.
The Nintendo Switch Lite costs less than $200, making it the most afforable way to get into Nintendo's Switch ecosystem. For families in need of multiple Switch consoles, Nintendo has created a new and fun device that will likely see multiple SKUs released by the end of this generation. I know I will be on the lookout for a Legend of Zelda Special Edition Switch Lite down the road, but for now we have turquoise, yellow, grey, and Pokemon-themed devices to choose from.
We applaud Nintendo Switch Lite for being an affordable device that came at the right time in the console family's life cycle. It stands above everything else as our Shacknews Best Hardware of 2019. Head to our Year of the Games: 2019 article to read more about the rest of The Shacknews Awards 2019 winners.
Asif Khan posted a new article, Shacknews Best Hardware of 2019 - Nintendo Switch Lite