We are big fans of Nintendo’s smash hit console. Having picked up a new Lite and V1.1 console last week it now means we have trudged down to the local game store and spent our own hard-earned cash on all three models! So what better time to have a look at them, and hopefully help you figure out which one suits your needs.
First, let’s identify what we are talking about. The original launch Switch we will refer to as the OG Switch. The new model that was released in September 2019, we are calling V1.1, and finally the new Switch Lite is the smaller handheld only version.
The OG Switch V the V1.1
On the surface, the differences here are minimal so we are bundling them together. Nintendo has resisted the urge to change any of the exterior elements. Instead of focussing on making improvements under the hood, but not in the ways we had hoped. A new screen and a more efficient processor delivers a substantial boost to the battery life, but no boost to performance.
If you have an OG Switch, why would you change? Simply put, it’s this extra battery life. When testing a game like Breath of the Wild. The OG Switch lasted around 3 hours before needing to be plugged in. The V1.1 Switch lasted well over 4.5 hours. Across a range of titles, battery life has seen a boost from 2.5-6 hours right up to 4.5-9 hours. That is a huge increase.
New Screen: This has caused some debate. The new screen is a warmer screen so there is a small, but noticeable, change to the colour pallet. Replacing the cool bluish tinge with a warm pinkish one. You only really notice the pink when looking at pure white screens (in the menu for example), the benefits show in-game as the colours are much more vibrant. This change seems to be very much a personal preference, so we recommend checking it out in person yourself. A good test is to use your TV and change from a cool to warm setting and see if you like it.
What’s it like to hold? The Switch is actually a pretty big handheld device but it feels great in hand. The buttons are easy to reach and at no point are you contorting thumbs to reach the analogue sticks. The analogue thumbsticks are pretty terrible when it comes to FPS games, and I’ve yet to play any game (Wolfenstein/Doom tested) that feels nice to play. Add to that the buttons are too small and clicky to be enjoyable. The screen is nice and big. Text is easy to read and you can play with ease for hours. Both come with a Dock that lets you connect it to a TV and play with a more traditional controller.
Nintendo has revised its Switch-able console into a pure Handheld device. This is a cheaper, lighter, smaller, stripped-down version. It looks great, the touch feels nice and the buttons are amazing. It also has a real D-Pad (not the little clicky buttons). The screen, while smaller, looks a bit sharper and really the smaller size isn’t noticeable unless you hold it up against an OG Switch. Overall the new small size is great as a handheld to carry with you and feels premium.
But that’s where the good points end. It doesn’t come with a Dock, and even if you have a spare dock at home it will not work. The USB-C port has no ability to push video to a TV. It also doesn’t have a kickstand so you can’t even stand it up on a table and use a controller with it. A Pro controller will connect via Bluetooth, but you will either have to prop up your console with a book or buy a third party cover that has a kickstand built-in.
This is very much a handheld device. So you would expect it to be very comfortable to hold in your hands for long periods, but it’s not. The smaller size means your hands are nowhere near as comfortable as the OG or V1.1 Switch in handheld mode. I have to bend my thumbs into an unnatural position to get to the right thumbstick, or I have to try and hold the console with my fingers rather than in my palms. Either way, it’s not comfortable and the end result is having to put it down every 40 mins. This is much more like playing a game on a phone (or Vita if you had one of those).
The console is a solid piece so the controllers do not detach. This isn’t as much of an issue for me as I rarely detached the OG controllers anyway, but it does rule out parts of games that do use a detached controller.
The Lite is an entry-level console. It comes in at a lower price point and will be great for kids or if you only play in short blasts on the bus to work. If you want to sit at home and put in a few hours into a session then it is difficult not to recommend spending the little extra and get the V1.1 and getting the benefit of the docked mode.
Switch Lite: A great device for small kids, or small-handed adults. Perfect for short handheld blasts of gaming on the move. But the lower price and great buttons are not enough to make up for the missing features.
OG Switch: The original is still a great console. It has only been surpassed in terms of battery life but not in terms of performance. If you only want to play games in docked mode there is no reason to get the new model. If you are happy to live with the 3-6 hours of battery life then keep an eye out as these might start popping up with a nice discount now the V1.1 is out.
Switch V1.1: It will be full price, but it is the best on the market. The extra battery life is great. It means a lot more sessions in between charges. The new screen, I personally prefer, but it’s not a game-changer. The ability to use docked mode, a kickstand and the 4-9 hours of battery makes the extra €100 worth it over the Lite.