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How Many Games Can a Switch Hold? With & Without SD Card. Nintendo switch lite all games

How Many Games Can a Switch Hold? [With Without SD Card]

Do you wonder how many games can a switch hold? Or are you considering purchasing a Switch Lite and wondering how many games it can hold? With digital games becoming more popular, it’s essential to understand the storage capabilities of your gaming console.

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We will guide you through the storage capacity of both the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite and tell you exactly how many games a Switch can hold. Additionally, we’ll explore the benefits of purchasing an SD card for your Switch and the compatibility of different microSD cards.

Curious about how to manage your data on your Nintendo Switch? Check out the Official Nintendo Switch Support’s Guide for Data Management.

Lastly, we’ll provide tips on choosing the right size microSD card to enhance your gaming experience. Get ready to optimize as we tackle how many games can a Nintendo switch hold.

How Many Digital Games Can a Switch Hold?

The number of games a Nintendo Switch can hold depends on the model you have and the size of its storage. The standard Nintendo Switch has 32 GB of storage, allowing you to store and install around 4-8 games, including large games like Zelda.

However, if you have the option for a Switch with 64 GB of storage, you can store double the number of games, up to 8-16.

This number increases further with larger storage options like 128 GB, with the ability to store 25-28 games, all depending on the size of the games.

If you find yourself running out of space on your Switch follow our guide on How to Delete Games on the Nintendo Switch the Right Way.

How Many Games Can a Switch Lite Hold?

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You can hold around 5 average games in the internal memory of the Switch Lite. The Nintendo Switch Lite has an internal memory of 32 GB, but with the system software taking up 3 GB, you have effectively 29 GB of free space. On average, games take up 3-8 GB of space.

The number of games you can store can vary based on the size of the games and whether they are physical or digital. Physical games don’t require downloading the entire game, while digital games can take up a lot of space.

A common tip given when asked how many games can a Nintendo switch hold is to download smaller games. However, you can also transfer larger games to a memory card.

With a memory card, you can add up to 1 TB of storage to your Nintendo Switch Lite, allowing you to store hundreds of games.

Is It Worth Getting an SD Card for Switch?

Yes, it is worth getting an SD card for the Nintendo Switch. The standard model only has 32GB of internal memory and games can take up a lot of space. For example, the Dragon Quest Heroes bundle pack is larger than the Switch’s internal storage capacity, and Nintendo suggests that you use an SD card when downloading it.

The average AAA game today is between 40GB and 60GB, so without external storage, the Switch will be limited in terms of storage space. Every Switch console supports up to 2TB MicroSD cards, which are cheap and easy to add.

Simply insert the card into the slot behind the kickstand on the original Switch or OLED design, or plug it in on the Switch Lite.

With the continued popularity of the Switch and the upcoming game releases, it may be time to consider purchasing one of the best SD cards for the Switch.

Which SD Cards Are Compatible With Switch?

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According to Nintendo Support, officially-licensed Nintendo Switch microSD cards are the best choices. Neither a regular SD card nor a miniSD card will work. The Switch requires a microSD card specifically. The Nintendo Switch supports the following types of microSD cards:

A system update is required to use a microSDXC card on the Nintendo Switch. We recommended you use a microSD card with a high transfer speed to improve your gameplay experience.

A UHS-I (Ultra High-Speed Phase I) compatible card with a transfer speed of 60 to 95 MB/sec is ideal.

SanDisk Ultra 128GB MicroSD is the best Nintendo Switch SD card for most people. SanDisk Ultra 200GB MicroSD and SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSD are also good options with 200GB and 64GB of storage respectively.

If you want to consider another brand, Silicon Power 1TB Superior SD card is also a great option.

If you want to check more options at different prices, any of these compatible Micro SD cards will allow you to hold between 4. 6 games on your Nintendo Switch.

What Size MicroSD Card Should I Buy?

Currently, the best options for MicroSD Card capacity range from 64GB to 1TB, with SanDisk offering a 1TB option. However, we recommend you go for the 200-256GB range as a 128GB card will fill up quickly. Focus on capacity rather than speed as the Switch only supports UHS-1 cards with a maximum theoretical speed of 104MB/s.

To save money, you can opt for multiple cards and switch between them as needed.

The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite have 32GB of internal storage, while the Switch OLED has 64GB, which may not be enough for those who buy a lot of digital games.

To ensure you have enough storage, invest in a larger microSD card.

Do Faster SD Cards Make a Difference on Switch?

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Yes, but with a caveat! A faster SD card can make a significant difference in the Nintendo Switch’s performance when it comes to game loading times. It can help reduce the time you spend waiting on loading screens but there is a limit. But don’t forget that it is also important to FOCUS on capacity.

The Nintendo Switch can only transfer data at up to 95 MB/s, so a faster SD card might not be necessary. It is better to spend money on capacity, as storage can easily be underestimated, instead of speed.

As long as the SD card is UHS-I, you will get similar loading times or even slightly better loading times compared to a faster-rated card.

How Many Games Can a 128GB SSD Hold on Nintendo Switch?

A 128GB SSD can hold approximately 19 Nintendo Switch games based on an average of 6.7GB per title, considering unusable storage space on the card itself. However, the size of the Switch games varies greatly, ranging from just a few MBs to over 20GB.

So how many games a switch can hold with a 128BG SSD will depend on the specific sizes of the games you choose to install.

To maximize the number of games that can be stored, you can regularly transfer game data from one SSD to another. This way you can use one SSD as a backup or storage space while using the other as the main one.

This way you can keep unused data saved somewhere else and transfer it to your SSD card whenever you need it.

How Many Switch Games Can 1TB Hold?

With an average game size of 6.7GB, you can store approximately 150 games on a 1TB memory card. Breath of the Wild, one of the largest games on the Switch, takes up around 13.4GB of storage space, and you could store up to 74 copies of the game on this 1TB memory card.

A good option for this is the SanDisk Ultra. It is easy to install and compatible with all Switch models, including the original Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED. It has an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 on Amazon.

Number of Games per SSD Card Capacity

As a rule of thumb, these are the number of games that you can keep on your SD card depending on your SSD card capacity:

Capacity Number of Games
16 GB 2 games
32 GB 4 games
64 GB 9 games
128 GB 19 games
256 GB 38 games
512 GB 76 games
1 TB 152 games
2 TB 304 games
4 TB 608 games

How to Move Games From Your Switch to SD Card?

To move games from your Nintendo Switch to a microSD card, follow these steps:

Step 1. Insert the MicroSD Card

Turn off your Switch and insert the microSD card into the slot under the kickstand.

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Step 2. Open “System Settings” From the Switch’s Home Screen

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Step 3. Scroll Down Choose “Data Management”

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Step 4. Select “Move Data Between System / MicroSD Card”

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Step 5. Choose “Move to MicroSD Card”

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Step 6. Select the Game(s) or App You Want to Transfer

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Step 7. Click “Move Data” Confirm

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The game will now be transferred to the microSD card. Note that game save data cannot be moved to the card and will still be stored on the console’s local storage.

Screenshots and videos can be stored on the microSD card, but there is a limit to the number of files that can be stored.

Summary

So how many games can a switch hold? That depends on the model of your Nintendo Switch. The standard Switch has 32 GB of storage, allowing you to store around 4-8 games.

The Switch Lite has an internal memory of 32 GB, with the system software taking up 3 GB, leaving you with effectively 29 GB of free space.

An SD card for the Switch can add more storage, with the Switch supporting microSD cards of up to 2 TB.

We recommended you use a microSD card with a high transfer speed for a better gaming experience. The options in terms of capacity range from 64 GB to 2 TB.

Nintendo Switch Lite Review

Zach Sweat is an experienced editor, writer, and photographer. Aside from Lifewire, he has written for IGN Entertainment, Void Media, and Whalebone Magazine.

Nintendo Switch Lite

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Despite removing some of the unique features on the larger Switch, the Lite version is a superb little console for those who like to game on the go.

Nintendo Switch Lite

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Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch, has been a massive comeback for the Japanese video game giant after the Wii U failed to draw much interest. The Switch is one of Nintendo’s best-selling devices ever, despite hardware that lags behind the competition in terms of power. The Switch Lite builds on that success with similar hardware, complete compatibility, and an even more portable form factor.

Where the original Switch is a hybrid portable console, the Switch Lite is a more traditional handheld gaming device. It still provides most of the best features of the full-sized Switch, but it’s also Nintendo‘s only pure portable since the discontinuation of the 3DS family of handhelds.

Although I appreciate what Nintendo has done here with the Lite, a few key missing features might not make it the optimal choice for everyone.

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Design: Cute and compact

It’s hard not to swoon at the sight of the Switch Lite. The handheld console is cute and compact, featuring unique color options, bright white buttons, and joysticks wrapped around a downsized screen. The whole unit is about the size of a beefy phablet. The screen alone is about the size of an iPhone SE.

Compared to its larger cousin, this device is light and slim, with a smooth matte surface that spills across the entire unit in a beautiful, uninterrupted fashion. Whereas the regular Switch creates a stark contrast between each Joy-Con and the console, the Lite is one continuous body that creates a sleeker look and sturdier feel.

Looking at both Switches side-by-side, the Lite isn’t massively smaller in comparison, but it seems that way when you swap between the two. The reduction in size and weight doesn’t make it challenging to use for those with larger hands.

The screen has been decreased from 6.2 inches to 5.5 inches, still sporting the same plastic overlay above it (meaning you’ll want to get a glass protector to prevent scratches), and the length and height have been trimmed down a good bit. The most obvious change here is the overall length of the Lite, which is slimmer by roughly the size of an entire Joy-Con on one side.

The smaller size is because the regular Switch has removable controllers, and the Lite does not. The compromise on its size is that you can’t take your Joy-Cons off and instantly start playing a local multiplayer game. Although that might be disappointing for some, the Lite now feels much better for long handheld gaming sessions when compared to the bulkier model.

Although I appreciate what Nintendo has done here with the Lite, a few key missing features might not make it the optimal choice for everyone.

Aside from the lack of removable controllers, the Lite features the same layout as the Joy-Con inputs, down to the spacing and functions. On the left are two shoulder buttons, a minus button (select), a joystick, a directional pad, and a screenshot button. The right side is mostly the same, with two more shoulders, a plus button (start), four inputs, another joystick, and a home button.

The only real notable difference here is that Nintendo has opted for a traditional D-pad, which is leagues better than the old layout for platformers, fighting games, and pretty much everything else. This distinction is, of course, because you’ll no longer be removing the left controller and requiring it to function as a separate device.

The top is home to the power button and volume toggle, a vent, a 3.5mm jack, and the game card slot, while the bottom holds the USB-C input for power and the addition of a new standalone SD card slot.

Where there’s usually a kickstand on the Switch with a hidden SD card slot, this version drops that option (since you can no longer remove the Joy-Con for tabletop mode) and adds a small door for expanding your storage. The kickstand was flimsy anyway, so you likely won’t miss it.

There’s still the issue with the USB-C port sticking straight out of the bottom, making it hard to sit flat against something, but this is somewhat less annoying since you’ll likely be holding it while gaming. Unfortunately, the Lite does not fit into the dock that came with a Switch. If you want to charge it, you have to plug it directly into the included USB-C charger or the one on a regular Switch, as they’re the same.

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Setup Process: Hit the switch

If you’ve set up a previous Switch console in the past, the process here is mostly the same, but it’s even easier since there are no Joy-Cons.

Since the Lite is exclusively handheld, there’s no dock to worry about here, but make sure your console has enough juice before beginning setup. Setup starts with pushing the power button on the top and is facilitated by an on-screen guide that helps you set up the usual stuff like Wi-Fi, account creation (or login), etc. When complete, either pop in a game card or download one digitally to begin gaming.

Things get trickier if you have an existing Nintendo account that you want to use with both the Switch Lite and an older Switch. The good news is that you can, but the bad news is that Nintendo doesn’t make it super convenient.

When you link your Nintendo account during setup, you can choose which Switch you want to be your primary system and which will be your secondary. That means that Nintendo essentially makes you decide to set up the Switch Lite as a secondary system that can only play your games while logged in and connected to Wi-Fi, or you can transfer the old Switch’s data to the new one.

Things get trickier if you have an existing Nintendo account that you want to use with both the Switch Lite and an older Switch. The good news is that you can, but the bad news is that Nintendo doesn’t make it super convenient.

If you opt to make your Lite the secondary, you can kiss goodbye to playing any of your digital games on the go unless you have stable Wi-Fi on hand. Because of this, I decided to make my docked Switch the secondary (since it is always at home with Wi-Fi access).

While this does solve most of the issues, it’s annoying that it forces you to choose. Other systems, like Xbox, only allow one “home” console to play your games without being logged in, but it’s less of an issue since those consoles aren’t portable.

Another thorn in the side here is that your saved data is local, and if you want to save data to the Cloud, you will have to pay for Nintendo’s online service (thankfully, it’s cheap). However, none of this data migration will happen automatically like other gaming consoles. You’ll need to manually download your saves locally each time and then update them on the console you want to use, even with the Cloud option.

Sure, all of this does work, but it’s a pain to do and feels like another shortsighted attempt from Nintendo in a world where other competitors are leagues ahead. With other consoles and PC platforms like Steam, your saved data syncs to the Cloud automatically, allowing you to play wherever you want without worrying about losing progress.

There’s yet another issue if you have kids or multiple accounts on your Switches. Since one Switch is now set as your primary, other users can’t access all your games from a secondary console.

For example, if you set the Switch Lite as your primary system, nobody can play games you’ve bought and downloaded on your home Switch unless they log into your account. You could always keep that other Switch as your primary, but then your Switch Lite will need Wi-Fi to access titles. It’s easy to see the problem there, but apparently, Nintendo doesn’t.

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Performance: Decent for mobile gaming, but no FHD

Much like the original Switch, the Lite is by no means a powerhouse console sporting top-of-the-line graphics and hardware. That said, it doesn’t necessarily need to be. The Switch Lite performs similarly to its larger counterpart while in handheld mode, but let’s delve into specifics.

Sporting the same custom Tegra X1 from Nvidia, the Switch Lite has plenty of CPU and GPU power for its humble needs. The screen maxes out at a 720p resolution, which isn’t great but gets the job done on such a small screen. Since you can’t use the Switch Lite with a dock, there’s no way to play in 1080p.

Although the screen is reduced from 6.2 inches to 5.5 inches on the Lite, I didn’t notice a big difference. The Lite’s display packs more pixels per inch (PPI) at 267 PPI compared to the original Switch’s 236 PPI. The display looks sharper, but with such a marginal difference, most won’t notice much.

I’ve played many games on the Switch Lite, including modern classics like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon Let’s Go, and Shovel Knight. All these had a solid performance from the console, with no considerable dips in frames, hiccups, or freezes.

Like its predecessor’s mobile mode, the Switch Lite is unfortunately capped at 30 FPS for many titles (though it can hit 60 in some single-player games). Unlike the Switch, which you can dock to boost performance, you’re stuck with the handheld specs on the Lite.

A quick example is that single-player Mario Kart 8 Deluxe runs at a smooth 60 FPS in 1080p on a docked Switch but 720p at 60 FPS in the handheld mode. Adding more players reduces your frames to 30 FPS, which is also true for Smash Bros. The Switch Lite isn’t designed for single-device multiplayer, though, and you’re unlikely to get three or more players all crouched behind the 5.5-inch screen anyway.

These somewhat disappointing performance numbers look bad compared to a home console but remember that this is a handheld console that you can play for hours on end without needing a power cable.

If you’re like me and love to use the previous Switch in handheld mode for single-player games, the Lite will quickly become your go-to Switch for this particular setting. I’d even argue that this is perhaps the ideal way you should use it.

Another thorn in the side here is that your saved data is local, and if you want to save data to the Cloud, you will have to pay for Nintendo’s online service (thankfully, it’s cheap).

Since the Switch Lite doesn’t have detachable Joy-Cons, you’ll need to bring an extra controller if you want to play local multiplayer games on the go. It works the same way as the original console, but it’s far less practical on the Lite since you can’t dock it, it doesn’t have a kickstand, you need separate controllers, and the screen is smaller. The option is there if you want, but this isn’t the Switch for you if you want to do local multiplayer.

Online multiplayer does, however, work pretty well. Boot up a game like Super Mario Party, Super Smash Bros., or your favorite free-to-play shooter and connect to the internet just like you would on the original Switch. For most matchmaking, however, you’ll need to pick up Nintendo’s online subscription service Nintendo Switch Online.

This service is inexpensive at just 20 a year (or 35 a year for a family plan that allows up to eight users, also available at 4 a month), but many remain frustrated with its capabilities. It includes cool perks, like access to a growing library of NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Sega Genesis games, the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, Save Data Cloud, and special offers for members.

Once again, there’s no Ethernet port, so you can stick with Wi-Fi and hope for the best or grab an aftermarket adapter, which is far less practical on the Lite, seeing how it’s handheld only.

Online games have worked well for me, despite needing to rely on Wi-Fi. However, Nintendo’s online service is still far behind the likes of Sony or Microsoft, and the lack of a wired connection means you may run into issues with speed and stability if your Wi-Fi isn’t great.

Frustrations like the lack of in-game chat cripple the Nintendo Switch Online, and Nintendo has done little to address these issues. Many functions still require you to use the app on your smartphone (like online voice chat), and while Xbox and Playstation users get free games for their consoles as part of their subscription services, Switch users only get older virtual console games.

All said and done, the performance is excellent for single-player experiences on the Switch Lite, with online multiplayer trailing behind but perfectly functional. Local multiplayer is easily one of the biggest strengths of the original Switch and our favorite aspect. However, the methods used to create a more portable console with the Lite also severely hurt its viability.

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Software: Still a bit drab, but smooth and snappy

If you’ve got an older Switch already or at least spent some time with one, the software found on the Switch Lite is exactly the same. Thankfully, that means it’s clean and snappy, but also a bit boring.

Booting up your Switch takes you to a quick start screen that allows you to either jump back into your recently used game or go straight to the main home screen by pressing the home button. This home screen provides a horizontal scrolling line of tiles for your games and apps, arranged by what you’ve recently used. Moving down to the lower row provides access to stuff like news, the eShop, screenshots, controller settings or the console’s settings.

Although you likely won’t be using Joy-Cons too often with the Lite, the bottom right will display your current controller setup so you know what’s connected. There’s also a handy little guide for what buttons you can use to interact with the options on screen. Up top, your profile and friends list can be accessed alongside a clock, a Wi-Fi meter, and a battery gauge.

Despite being stripped of some of the Switch’s more unique features and strengths, the Switch Lite is a perfect console for gamers on the go or those who prefer handheld.

While the overall UI is quick and navigable, it feels drab. There are still no themes to swap aside from a simple light or dark mode, so don’t get too lofty with your customization ideas.

The biggest strength of the UI might be that you can use the touchscreen for most functions outside of games. Navigating the screen by tapping elements is even easier than using the controllers, and having an on-screen keyboard means typing out names and info is as easy as texting on your phone.

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Battery Life: Slightly better, but not the best

Battery life on the original Switch was just okay, to put it lightly, but typically you were lucky to get anything over 3 hours of screen time with most titles. It eventually received a bigger battery in a minor hardware revision, which helped. The Switch Lite has a slightly smaller battery than the revised Switch but also has lower power needs due to its small screen.

The Lite comes equipped with a 3,570mAh lithium-ion battery (compared to the 4,310mAh on the first Switch) that promises 3 to 7 hours of runtime. That extensive range exists because some activities on the console are far less demanding than others.

This slight bump in battery life is primarily due to the Switch Lite’s smaller screen, which needs less juice. Charging the battery takes about three hours, but only if you drain it completely. Using it occasionally instead of for extended gaming sessions, I’ve found that I don’t need to charge it that often and that it charges fast when I do.

Demanding titles like Breath of the Wild will still place you on the shorter end of that battery life spectrum, but I could log about 3.5-4 hours even with Zelda. Indie games and others that are less power-hungry can get you up to 5 hours and above. Note that you can tweak settings like brightness, Wi-Fi, and airplane mode to give even more screen time.

A portable charger is still one of the best accessories you can pick up for the Switch, and there are many quality options out that are approved by Nintendo. I recommend picking one up, but be careful which one you choose. I’ve stuck with reputable brands and haven’t had any trouble, but I have heard horror stories from people who have bricked their consoles with unsupported options.

Lastly, the battery is internal, so you can’t easily pop in a new one when it starts to degrade. While I haven’t seen any degradation with mine, it’ll happen at some point. When it does, sending it to Nintendo for repair is the only real option.

Price: Inexpensive console gaming in your hands

It’s no surprise that since Nintendo removed many features from the Switch to create the Lite model, the price has also decreased considerably. The Switch is already at a pretty sweet price of 300, so how does the Lite stack up?

The Switch Lite has an MSRP of 200, which is a pretty good value. It plays all the same games as the original Switch at a significantly lower price and is much more portable. You do lose the ability to dock it; for some people, that feature will be worth the extra 100.

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Nintendo Switch Lite vs. Nintendo Switch

The biggest competitor to the Switch Lite is the original Switch. Nintendo has done an excellent job with both of these devices, but they each have some strengths and weaknesses you should consider before buying.

The first thing to consider is whether you want to play couch co-op or versus with your friends. If you plan to use your Switch primarily for playing Mario Party or Smash Bros. with a bunch of your friends on the couch—get the regular Switch. You need the original Switch to play on a larger screen, and it also comes with two Joy-Cons that you can use as separate controllers.

Even if you wanted to play with one other person locally on your Switch Lite, you’d need to spend about 60-70 on some Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller, thus nearly reaching the price of the full-sized console.

If you plan to use your Switch primarily for stuff like playing Mario Party or Smash Bros. with a bunch of your friends on the couch—get the regular Switch.

If you feel like you’ll use your Switch away from home, or you’re primarily a solo player who plans to FOCUS on single-player games or online multiplayer, the Switch Lite is equally good here. The main difference is that the Lite can only be used in handheld mode and takes a slight hit in resolution. The strengths of the Switch Lite are that it’s ultra-compact and portable, so if you mainly want something to take with you from place to place, it’s the better bet.

The Switch Lite also makes a great companion device if you already have a Switch. If you have both, you get the best of both worlds—the Lite’s portability and the regular Switch’s extra features.

Perfect for gamers who prefer handheld.

Despite being stripped of some of the Switch’s more unique features and strengths, the Switch Lite is a perfect console for gamers on the go or those who prefer handheld. It features an extensive library of exclusives that are perfect for a highly mobile system like Animal Crossing—and it’s hard to argue with the price.

Nintendo Switch Lite Review

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The Nintendo Switch Lite is still as cute as when it first launched, proving a good alternative to the original for children and those that want a more portable device. Its affordable price does come with some restrictions, like a lack of TV output, motion controls and limited local multiplayer capabilities, but that doesn’t erase its fantastic games library and compact design.

Cons

Introduction

The Nintendo Switch has been on the market since 2019 and is the smaller, more affordable alternative to the vanilla Switch.

The Switch Lite doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its two siblings, the base Switch and shiny Switch OLED. While it does come with some limitations, it nevertheless boasts a fantastic games library, including new releases like Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Bayonetta 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

It now benefits from Nintendo’s latest Switch Online service, a paid subscription in the same vein as Xbox Game Pass and Playstation Plus Premium, giving users access to games from the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Mega Drive, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance.

It’s clear that the Switch Lite still has a lot going for it four years after launch, which is why we wanted to revisit this console and see if it can stack up in the era of the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally. It may not be the most powerful handheld on the market, but it’s certainly still the cutest.

Design

To get the obvious out of the way, the Switch Lite is incredibly adorable. It has a chunkier design than the base Switch and larger bezels than the Switch OLED, but I think that just adds to its charm. It can be found in five colourways – blue, yellow, grey, turquoise and coral – with our model sporting the turquoise look. It can easily be held in one hand and would be a better fit for smaller children than the other models due to this smaller size.

It has an identical button layout to its siblings other than the traditional D-Pad on the left-hand side, which I find a lot more enjoyable to use than four disconnected inputs. The buttons themselves feel a little squishier than my regular Switch. I did not feel like this resulted in decreased responsiveness, actually feeling more satisfying than the harder inputs on the base model.

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The most striking design change is the lack of Joy-Con controllers since these controllers are fused to the body of the console. While this does have an impact on the performance of some games it does eliminate any accidental damage that could be brought about by younger gamers. The console itself feels sturdier too, but I put that down to the fact that I wasn’t worried about breaking the controller docks, a constant worry for me while playing on the base model.

Nintendo did update the Switch Lite to support Bluetooth, allowing me to game with my wireless earbuds. My experience was seamless and crisp, but I’m thankful to see the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack for any wired connections. There is also a USB-C port for charging, alongside a microSD port to add more memory.

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Screen

I was hesitant about the screen size of the Switch Lite, which sits at just 5.2 inches compared to the original’s 6.2 inches. Since it still packs the same 720p resolution it actually looks a little better than the base model, as the pixels don’t need to be stretched out quite as much. This ‘improvement’ is hard to spot, but it does mean that you won’t need to worry about the visuals on screen.

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Due to the lack of docking abilities, there is no way to upscale any content higher than 720p. I’ve played a couple of titles on the Switch Lite – such as Hades, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – and they all looked great, or as great as 720p can look. Granted, the Switch OLED will provide a more premium viewing experience thanks to its titular OLED panel, but that doesn’t mean that the Switch Lite looks bad by any means.

This doesn’t discount some of the other qualms that surface with the design. When playing games with lots of text, such as Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it can be hard to read smaller portions of text in menus and during dialogue scenes. As such, it’s often necessary to hold the screen closer to your face.

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Battery life

Battery life for the Nintendo Switch Lite can range between three to seven hours, depending on the game and the brightness intensity of the screen.

Unlike the base Switch model, the Lite has not undergone any battery upgrades since its launch, meaning that models bought right now will have the same battery capacity as the ones that came out in 2019.

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There are myriad factors to consider when testing a console such as this, so we put the Lite through its paces through continuous sessions of Super Smash Bros Ultimate and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. On the former, the latter tapped out just shy of the four-hour mark during an eight-player battle.

Less intensive titles such as Undertale and Untitled Goose Game fare better, squeezing far more time out of the battery. You’ll notice increased fan noise and a high temperature towards the top of the unit while playing more graphically intensive games, but it’s seldom distracting enough to be an issue.

UI and Social

The touchscreen on the Switch Lite makes navigating it simple and streamlined. Switching between users is also very easy – up to eight accounts being supported – with users being prompted to pick a profile every time they start a game or want to access the eShop.

Screenshots can be taken by pressing the screenshot button on the left-hand side. Media can be sent directly to social media or to a phone via a QR code, with the ability to send it to a laptop or desktop via the USB-C port too. Sending media over on the Switch series is a lot simpler than using a PS5 for example, with the menu and navigation being much cleaner.

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The Switch is a completely dedicated gaming console, with no support for apps like Netflix, Disney Plus or YouTube. This sets it apart from devices like the PS5 and Xbox Series X which put a lot more FOCUS on entertainment beyond gaming. Due to the smaller screen and battery life limitations, I have no issue with it being exclusively a gaming machine, but you may want to look towards handhelds like the Steam Deck for a more well-rounded experience.

Nintendo introduced a video game subscription service in 2017, Nintendo Switch Online. It works in a similar way to Xbox Game Pass and Playstation Plus Premium, giving users access to NES and SNES games, with the Expansion Pack offering up Sega Genesis, N64, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles.

It’s pretty affordable too when compared to other gaming services. The base membership costs 19.99/£17.99/€19.99 a year, with the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion pack costing a little more at 79.99/£59.99/€69/99 a year.

Games

The Nintendo Switch Lite is anomalous in some regards, largely because it makes a small selection of existing games defunct due to the lack of detachable controllers. Titles such as Super Mario Party, Nintendo Switch Sports and 1-2 Switch simply aren’t supported in handheld mode, requiring individual Joy-Cons to function.

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In some cases, this could be remedied by buying and connecting individual controllers, but the lack of a kickstand makes this a very inconvenient solution. Beyond this, the majority of games I tested using the Switch Lite worked perfectly, with visuals, control methods and performance living up to the original console’s standard.

Ultimately, if you are happy to go without motion control titles and some multiplayer games, the Switch Lite has a massive games library that is well worth delving into, it will just depend on which games you want to play more.

Should you buy it?

You want an affordable portable console:

The Switch Lite does not pack the same power as the Steam Deck or ROG Ally, but it’s more than serviceable for on-the-go gaming. It supports a massive library of games from Nintendo and third parties and has a great battery life, and it comes in a lot more colourways than the standard model.

You want a docked experience with more power:

The main downfall of the Switch Lite is that it can not be docked to an external TV/monitor and misses out on a selection of motion control games. If you want a more premium experience, you should opt for another handheld console or splash out on the standard Switch or Switch OLED.

Final Thoughts

The Nintendo Switch Lite still holds up as a worthy console within the handheld market a few years after launch. It is an excellent portable console that refines the display, buttons and overall form factor of its older sibling.

It does sacrifice docked play and the Joy-Con controllers of the vanilla model, which could be a dealbreaker for some. But if you’re only interested in portable play and don’t want to break the bank for the more luxurious Switch OLED, then the Switch Lite is a no-brainer.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite: What should you buy?

The Nintendo Switch OLED is finally here, and it’s a tempting prospect — especially if you don’t already own a Switch.

However, if you’re looking to buy Nintendo’s handheld hybrid for the first time, you shouldn’t just grab the OLED version and call it a day. There are three Switch variations from which to choose — the premium Switch OLED, the inexpensive Switch Lite and the middle-of-the-road base Switch — and each one offers certain advantages and drawbacks.

The good news is that there aren’t a tremendous number of differences among the three models. No matter which Switch you get, you’ll be able to play the same games, navigate the same interface and enjoy the same handheld experience. What sets the Switch models apart, for the most part, are their screen sizes and their TV connectivity, and those features are all easy to explain.

The Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite contest doesn’t have to be a complicated issue if you know what you’re looking for and how much you want to spend. Here are the similarities and differences among the three devices.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Specs

Row 0. Cell 0PriceScreenDimensionsWeightBattery LifeStorageTV DockingDetachable Joy-ConsColor Options
Nintendo Switch OLED Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Lite
350 300 200
7-inch OLED, 720p, 60 Hz 6-inch LCD, 720p, 60 Hz 5.5-inch LCD, 720p, 60 Hz
9.4 x 4.0 x 0.6 inches 9.4 x 4.0 x 0.6 inches 8.2 x 3.6 x 0.6 inches
14.9 ounces 14.1 ounces 9.8 ounces
4.5 to 9 hours 4.5 to 9 hours 3 to 7 hours
64 GB 32 GB 32 GB
Yes Yes No
Yes Yes No
Black and White / Red and Blue Gray / Red and Blue Gray / Turquoise / Yellow/ Pink / Purple

2019 and later. Models from 2018 and earlier offer 2.5–6.5 hours

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Similarities

First things first: No matter which Switch you buy, you’ll be able to play exactly the same games. That’s extremely important to know. Nintendo has not limited any of its games’ compatibilities based on the version of the Switch you own, and it’s unlikely to do so in the future. Every Switch console can play every Switch game, via either a physical cartridge or a digital download.

Similarly, the guts of each Nintendo Switch model are functionally identical. Each one runs off of a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset, with 4 GB RAM and a microSD card slot to expand storage.

There are two slight differences here: the Switch Lite runs a Tegra X1 chip, which improves battery life for the smaller device. The Switch OLED offers 64 GB internal storage, as opposed to the base Switch and Switch Lite, which each offer 32 GB. The Tegra X1 does not appear to enhance the Switch Lite’s gaming performance, however. Likewise, the storage differences aren’t super-important, since it’s both easy and inexpensive to expand storage via microSD.

Every Switch model functions in a handheld mode; every Switch model uses the same straightforward OS to navigate through games and apps; every Switch model supports Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth audio and a handful of USB-C accessories.

If you take the Switch Lite out of the picture for a moment, the similarities are even more striking. The base Switch and Switch OLED are exactly the same size and almost the same weight. They offer nearly the same battery life. They can both connect to TVs and detach their Joy-Cons for impromptu multiplayer sessions.

In other words: while the three Switch models aren’t exactly interchangeable, you can’t go too wrong with any of them.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Design

The Switch and Switch OLED are, for the most part, interchangeable in terms of physical design. While the base Switch is a little lighter (less than an ounce), they both share the same profile: a central touchscreen tablet with a detachable Joy-Con controller on either side.

There are two main differences between the base Switch and the Switch OLED, apart from their screens. The first is that the OLED has larger, more robust speakers. The second is that the OLED has a study kickstand that runs the length of the whole device, while the base Switch has a flimsy kickstand that takes up only a few inches of space.

The Switch Lite, on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. It’s a much smaller console (eight inches across instead of nine-and-a-half), and doesn’t have any options to dock it with a TV. As such, you can play it only in handheld mode.

The controls are also hardwired into the console, so there are no Joy-Cons to remove. The Switch Lite does have one big benefit over its bigger brethren, though: an actual D-Pad rather than four uncomfortable directional buttons.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Screen

The biggest differences between all three Switch models comes from the display. All three are different sizes, with the Switch OLED naturally having a different panel.

The Switch Lite has the smallest display coming in at 5.5 inches. That’s trumped by the standard Switch’s display, which measures in at 6 inches. Both have the same LCD technology, and deliver reasonably impressive screens that have decent brightness and a good range of colors.

But if you want the best Switch screen you need to go for the Switch OLED. It’s organic light-emitting diode display, the same type of tech you’ll find on the best phones, offers a much brighter, more contrast-heavy and color rich display that its stable mates. And at 7 inches, it’s larger too.

However, all three screens use a 720p resolution and have a fairly standard 60Hz refresh rate.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Dock and TV compatibility

The primary disadvantage of the Switch Lite is that you can’t connect it to a TV. It’s a pretty sizable drawback. Obviously, Nintendo considers the ability to switch between handheld and docked modes important enough to name the whole console after the feature.

Still, there are some folks out there who really have no interest in playing the Switch on a TV screen. The Switch Lite is also arguably a good match for younger kids, especially if there’s a dearth of shareable TVs in the house.

The base Switch and Switch OLED can both connect to a TV without issue, as each one comes with a dock. The docks, however, are ever-so-slightly different. The Switch OLED dock comes with a built-in Ethernet port, whereas the base Switch dock doesn’t. If you want to use a LAN connection in docked mode, then getting a Switch OLED is a no-brainer for that reason alone.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Controllers

The Nintendo Switch OLED and base Switch have exactly the same controller options. By default, they come with two detachable Joy-Cons. The Joy-Cons are versatile controllers. You can combine both of them in a controller mount; you can play with one in each hand; you can even use each Joy-Con as a tiny standalone controller, in case you want to get a spontaneous multiplayer match going.

The Switch Lite, by contrast, doesn’t have detachable controllers. What you see is what you get.

Granted, you could pair Joy-Cons (or the superior Switch Pro Controller) with any of the Switch models, including the Lite. But since the Switch Lite doesn’t stand freely, using external controllers with it is a bit of a challenge. You’d have to buy a third-party case or stand.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Battery life

Due to its smaller chassis, the Switch Lite also has a smaller battery. Depending on the game, the Switch Lite can get between three and seven hours of battery life. ( demanding games, like Zelda and Metroid, tend to drain the battery faster than retro or indie fare.) In our own testing, the Switch Lite lasted for three hours and 18 minutes on a single charge.

The Switch OLED and base Switch theoretically have the same battery life: between four-and-a-half and nine hours, according to Nintendo. The OLED screen is bigger, but also more power-efficient.

This calculus changes, however, depending on whether you have a launch-model Switch (from 2017 or 2018) or a refreshed Switch (from late 2019 to the present). Back in November 2019, Nintendo slapped a more efficient battery into the base model, which means that newer Switches simply have more battery life than older models do. The good news is that if you buy a new Switch today, you’re guaranteed to get the 2019 refresh.

In our own testing, the Switch OLED got 5 hours of battery life on the dot, while the launch-model base Switch got 3 hours and 27 minutes. The 2019 refresh of the base Switch did better, though, at 4 hours and 40 minutes. That means the Switch OLED probably has the best battery life among the three systems. But your exact playtime can change dramatically, depending on the game, the screen brightness, the volume and so forth.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite: Price

Another major difference among the three Switch models is how Nintendo has priced them. The Switch OLED is the most expensive of the bunch at 350; the Switch Lite is the cheapest at 200; the base Switch is in-between at 300.

Planning to get a Nintendo Switch Lite? Start with these games!

The Switch Lite is like the original Switch, except it’s made for dedicated handheld mode only, so you can’t play it in docked mode on your TV. But it’s cheaper and much more portable because of the smaller size, making it even easier to access the Switch’s great game library! Here are some of the best Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode, so you don’t have to miss out on any of the fun.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart is a classic Nintendo Party game, and with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you can easily take it on the go. An entire Grand Prix seldom takes more than 30 minutes to complete, so it’s a great game to play while you are traveling on a train or bus, as we found in our hands-on review. Plus, there’s a fun DLC called the Mario kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass if you’re into that sort of thing — just be sure it’s worth it first before buying.

Select your favorite Nintendo racer and hit the tracks! With all the obstacles and objects to come, will you make it across the finish line first?

Diablo III Eternal Collection

Diablo III Eternal Collection packs in the original game and all of the content from the expansion. Choose from seven different Hero classes, embark on a quest to slay every demon in your way, collect loot, and upgrade your skills. You can play through the story or grind through seasons and compete with other players for the best run times while getting exclusive items. Up to four people can play together.

Scour the dungeons and save the world from demon invaders. Choose a character and scoop up loot as you fight to improve your abilities.

Stardew Valley

I find Stardew Valley to be one of the most relaxing games to get lost in. A game with farming, fishing, mining, or fighting, there is a little something for anybody, as you can see in our detailed review. Plus, the game saves at the end of each in-game day, so you can play a day while on the way to work or a day at lunch.

A whole farm to do with as you please and a whole community to connect with as you’d like. This game is almost like therapy.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

When we reviewed Animal Crossing: New Horizons it became one of our favorite games here at i. The newest version of Animal Crossing takes you away to a remote island, where you will build and customize your new home. Make friends with the animal villagers, build your town with the facilities you want, and gather and craft items.

Animal Crossing is the ultimate relaxing game where it can be whatever you want it to be. Your personal island awaits! Get to your tropical paradise and begin building it to be all you could ever dream of.

Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield is a super fun Pokémon adventure on the Nintendo Switch — which is why we loved it when we reviewed it! Travel across Galar as you train and become the new Pokémon Champion, encounter the legendaries Zacian or Zamazenta (depending on your version), discover new regional variants and completely new Pokémon, and much more. There is also DLC that launched in 2020 called the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass if you find that you really love this title.

Explore the Galar region and catch new Pokémon as you journey to become the next Pokémon master and learn about Zacian and Zamazenta.

Splatoon 2

In our review, we found that the gameplay in Splatoon 2 is comparable between docked and handheld modes, but when you are trying to hone in on those perfectly aimed shots, having the screen in your hands can actually be better. Splatter some paint where you will; Splatoon 2 is a great handheld option for the Switch Lite.

Paint the town all over again! Form your team and make your color the most splattered, taking out the other team.

Fallout Shelter

Build and manage your perfect vault as Overseer! Fallout Shelter was initially designed as a mobile game, making it ideal for on-the-go playstyle. It’s not a game you have to FOCUS on too hard. You play a little wherever you can and still feel like you’ve made progress on your vault.

See how well you can do as an Overseer! Recruit new vault dwellers and keep it running smoothly.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a must for every Switch owner, as we discovered through our playthrough. This iteration of the popular crossover fighting game has over 70 characters from past Smash games as well as new faces, every stage there is, a brand new single-player story mode, and much more. You can go online and play against others or enjoy it locally with up to eight people.

Go head to head against other Nintendo favorites and see which character is the best! Fight up to eight total players at once.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening is not a new title for Nintendo fans. This game has had two releases before this one, and all three are rave successes. When we reviewed it, we loved it for its beautiful animation style and captivating story. Whether you are a long-time Legend of Zelda fan, new to the franchise thanks to Breath of the Wild, or just looking for your first Zelda game, Link’s Awakening is a great place to start.

Relive an old Zelda favorite redone in an adorable 3D style. Discover the secrets of the Wind Fish.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong is another classic Nintendo name, and Tropical Freeze has remained largely unchanged since its initial release on the Wii U. We tested this game out and found that it’s an excellent 2D platformer; it doesn’t shy from difficulty for platformer fans, but it also isn’t impossibly daunting for those new to the Donkey Kong titles.

This beautiful island has been turned to frost by invaders. It’s up to Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, Cranky, and Funky Kong to kick them out and bring back warmth to the island.

Gaming on the go

The Switch Lite is designed for the sole purpose of being handheld only, so this is the one you’re going to take with you everywhere. While there are thousands of the best games in the Switch library, these are some of our favorites that will work wonderfully in handheld mode.

If you want some recommendations, Mario Kart is always an enjoyable racing game for the entire family, even if you aren’t usually good at racing games. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is also a great fighting game for everyone to enjoy, and with over 70 characters, you’re sure to find a new favorite. And then there’s always Diablo III, because who doesn’t enjoy tearing through hordes of demons to get awesome gear and become stronger?

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