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What is the difference between a Nintendo Switch™ and the Nintendo Switch Lite™?

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Trying to keep up with the continual release of new gaming devices can certainly make your head spin a little. If you’re on the hunt for a gaming device and want to understand the differences between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite, this article is for you!

For the purposes of this article, we’re talking about Switches that are right off the shelf. The Nintendo Switch systems you get from Fully Loaded are a bit different. We customize our solutions to meet the needs of each client. For example, our clients may be looking for a  gaming solution that has no wi-fi capabilities or one that is truly plug and play with games loaded on the system already. Our customers enjoy our worry-free support and 3 year warranty on all Fully Loaded Systems. If a custom solution sounds like it might be a good fit for you or your company, let’s talk!

For off-the-shelf Nintendo Switch consoles, the biggest differences are:


Let’s start with the most obvious difference, the price. Most retailers sell the Lite starting around the $200 mark and the Switch starts at $300. Depending on what bundle you purchase, the price will go up from there.


The biggest difference between the two Nintendo options is the mode of play. The Switch can be connected to a TV or monitor to be played on a larger external screen, it can be played in table top mode (use the built-in kickstand to prop up the Switch, disconnect the Joy-Con™ and play), or it can be played in handheld mode. The Lite can only be played in handheld mode. If you have visions of family or group gatherings around a TV playing a gaming console, the Switch is your only choice from Nintendo to make that a reality.

Connect and Play

Both the Switch and the Lite can connect via local wireless to up to 8 systems for connected, multi-player gaming. You can also connect online to play with family and friends who may not be in the same location as you. If you’re looking for a customized Switch that cannot be connected to Wi-Fi, we can help. Read more about the Fully Loaded Solution.


For those of you who require a certain aesthetic, color may be an important selection for you. The Switch Joy-Cons come in more color combinations than the Lite does. The Lite comes in turquoise, yellow, coral and gray. The Lite is a solid color device, however, there are thousands of cases that can be added to the Lite to change the look of the entire unit. The Switch has a bit more color personality built into it. Though the main base of the Switch is a solid Gray, the attached Joy-Con controllers can be customized to two different colors each. The Joy-Con, which connects to the gray base when in portable mode and detaches to play when connected to an external video source, come in gray, blue, neon red, neon blue, neon yellow, neon green, neon pink, neon orange and neon purple. The fun thing about the Joy-Con is that you can mix and match your color options. Choose a neon red controller with a neon blue strap for one side of your Switch and a neon green Joy-Con and neon yellow strap for the other.

Gaming Options

All Switch games are compatible with the Lite version, however, they must all be played in handheld mode which makes a few games somewhat more challenging. Games like Ring Fit Adventure and the Nintendo Labo games work best with Joy-Con controllers. But the most popular titles like Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Odyssey, etc. and most of the other 2,000+ games can all be played equally well on the Switch and the Lite.

Battery Life

Since both versions can be portable gaming devices, battery life is a big issue. The battery life on the devices are relatively similar depending on the games being played. The Switch shows a battery life of 2.5 – 6.5 hours while the lite is a little longer on average at 3 – 7 hours of game play.

Switch Features

The Switch has two additional features that are not available in the Lite. HD Rumble – provides sensory feedback via the Joy-Con and IR motion camera to view and record interactions with games like the Nintendo Labo learning games.

Overall, the game play function of the Switch and Lite is the biggest difference between the two devices. If you’re looking for a super fun portable device that can entertain you on the go, the Lite might be just what you need. However, if you’re looking for something more group centric, the Switch is a safe bet for family and group fun.

Questions? We’re happy to help! Call (425) 582-3173 or email me at shelly@fullyloadedelectronics.com


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