Key Points

  • The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video game systems of all time.
  • This Nintendo Switch Lite product has less effective specs and comes at a cheaper price.
  • The Nintendo Switch is the 4th most popular Nintendo system ever sold. 

TLDR: Serious gamers, go for the Nintendo Switch. For budget-conscious, less-frequent gamers, the Switch Lite is the way to go.

Our opinion? The Switch is the best bet for all-around superior gaming experience.


The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video game systems of all time, with current estimates holding that the hybrid video game system has sold somewhere around at least 92 million systems. Indeed, the system has proven to be so popular that the Switch has spawned an offshoot: The Switch Lite. This Nintendo product has slightly less effective specs, but also comes at a cheaper price and with more flexibility than its predecessor system does. 

Switch lite vs Switch
Switch Lite vs Switch … which is the better of the two? YOU decide.

Switch Lite vs Switch: Side-by-Side Comparison

Switch LiteSwitch
What it isPortable Video Game SystemHybrid Portable & Console Video Game System
Primary usePlaying Nintendo Switch GamesHybrid Portable & Console Video Game System
NameNintendo Switch LiteNintendo Switch
ConceivedLate 2010s2010s
Initial release20192017
Technical committeen/an/a
Influential developersNintendoSaturo Iwata, Tatshumi Kimishima, Genyo Takeda, Shiegeru Miyamoto
Open formatNoNo
Technologies influencedn/aSwitch Lite

Switch Lite vs. Switch: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • At the moment, the Nintendo Switch is the 4th most popular Nintendo system ever sold. 
  • The system itself first became necessary out of a desire to appeal to all players, including those who played games more casually and those who were looking for a more intense experience.
  • Both systems have the ability to allow players to play older Nintendo games and connect to the Nintendo network. Both also have social networking options and support playing games against friends, provided the game supports that kind of style of play. 
  • Six games, thus far, have sold more than twenty million copies on the device.
  • Both devices are available in multiple colors and sold in a variety of prepackaged formats.
  • At the end of 2019, 30% of the owners of the Lite were estimated to be owners of the base system. In other words, people were buying second systems for their homes.
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch Lite is sizably smaller than the Switch.

Switch Lite vs. Switch: Summary

The Switch, which first premiered in 2017, was considered revolutionary for its time, as it was the first major “hybrid system.” The system could be played portably or played attached to a dock that could be hooked up to any television set. It came with a 6.2-inch screen, detachable controllers, and third-party support, meaning that a variety of accessories could be hooked up to the device and used regardless of if the system was docked or undocked. The game also can be balanced on a table using a built-in latch. It can also be hooked in with another nearby system to allow for networked play. At the moment, the price of the base model is $300. 

Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console developed by Nintendo, and can be used as a stationery and portable device.

It is also worth noting that an OLED model – otherwise known as a higher-end Switch – premiered in October 2021. The OLED model came with a variety of improvements, including stronger audio, a wired LAN port, multiple bundles, and more. The OLED model has performed well in sales thus far. 

The Lite had a variety of different specs than those of the base system. It comes with a smaller screen and its controllers don’t detach, thus limiting the games that can be played on the system. However, it does come with many of the same features as the base system, including Bluetooth capacity, Wi-Fi, and NFC. 

Switch Lite vs. Switch: Which is Better?

It depends on how you define “better,” as there are unquestioned differences across a variety of metrics, including size, battery life, cost, specs, and more. 

To be sure, the regular Switch comes with more options. It has more accessories, can be played on a television or portably, can be played with purchased hardware games (as opposed to the Lite, which can only use video game ones). The regular system also has a larger size, detachable controllers, and a larger screen. All of this makes playing the base Switch system a more enjoyable experience than the Lite.

However, the Lite does come with certain advantages. As a smaller system, it is more portable. Furthermore, there is a serious cost difference: The Lite costs a mere $199, while the base system costs at least $100 more, depending on the specific package purchased, and what accessories come with the device. Last, the Lite has a bigger battery size. As such, there is unquestionably a consumer demand to play the Lite. 

Ready to Buy a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite?

If you’ve read all about the similarities and differences between the Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite and you’re ready to buy, the purchase links are below.

For the serious gamer who appreciates finer graphics and more robust gaming features, go for the Nintendo Switch.

For the casual gamer who simply enjoys a fun distraction from time to time and wants it at an affordable cost, the Switch Lite is the way to go.

Next Up…

Switch Lite vs Switch: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Switch?

The Switch is the hybrid Nintendo system that can be played either portably or hooked into a television. It comes with many new accessories, including detachable controllers, a tabletop mode, and numerous models, including the OLED and Lite.

What is a Switch Lite?

The Lite is a more portable version of the base system. It cannot be docked with a television and its controllers are not detachable. It is also smaller and more portable, even though this comes at the cost of having less compatibility with many accessories.

How big is the Switch Lite screen vs. Switch?

The base system comes with a 6.2-inch screen, while the Lite system comes with a 5.5-inch screen.

Why get a Switch Lite vs a Switch?

There are three primary reasons. The first is cost, as the Lite is around $100 cheaper than the base system. The system is also more portable, as the Lite is smaller and can be moved easier, and without any additional equipment. Finally, the Lite has a a longer battery life than the base system.

Which is best, a Switch or Switch Lite?

In terms of features, compatibility, ability to work with accessories, and screen size, the base system is better. However, the Lite is more portable, cheaper, and has a longer play time thanks to battery improvements.

Can Switch Lite play all switch games?

Most, but not all: Some Switch games cannot be played on the Switch Lite. This includes many popular games, such as Just Dance, Ring Fit, Super Mario Party, 1-2 Switch, and more.

Are Switch and Switch Lite games the same?

Yes, the games are the same. Physical copies or digital versions can be used in either.

How much does a Switch cost vs. a Switch Lite?

The “standard” price of both uses is $300 for the base system vs. $200 for the Lite. However, this can change, depending on a variety of factors, including the games or accessories sold with the system and any retail markups.

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