Nintendo just released the Nintendo Switch Lite, a handheld-only version of its popular hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo revealed the Switch Lite in July after months of speculation about a cheaper, portable-only revision to its popular console. The Switch is already the best-selling video game console of 2019 at $300 — and a new "Pokémon" game coming this holiday season, along with the just-released "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening," are sure to boost sales even further, combined with the new, cheaper console.
Nintendo made a habit of making cheaper, more portable versions of its previous handheld consoles, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Switch Lite arrives as the popularity of the original Switch hits a fever pitch. I got some hands-on time with the Switch Lite prior to release, at a Nintendo press event at New York City's Rockefeller Center.
As a portable-only device with no Joy-Cons, the Switch Lite seems to forsake some of the original Switch's innovations in favor of embracing what's most important — the great games you can find on the platform.
The original Switch successfully introduced the idea of the hybrid video game console in March 2017. The Switch can be connected to a TV for high-fidelity gameplay, or taken on-the-go as a portable console. Furthermore, the Switch's controls can be separated from the console and used as two separate motion controllers called Joy-Cons. Nintendo sold more than 30 million Switch consoles in two years with these hybrid features at the core of its marketing.
But the Switch's success has also shown that there is a general interest in a portable video game console with access to the latest releases. The Switch Lite will appeal to players who may already own a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One and want to play games with the same level of quality while they're traveling. Parents may be more willing to invest in a handheld console at a lower price point when introducing their children to gaming.
Nintendo gave us a chance to try "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," "Super Mario Odyssey," "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," and "Super Mario Maker 2" on the Switch Lite during a private session.
Here's what it was like using the Nintendo Switch Lite, and how it compares to the original Nintendo Switch: