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Nintendo Switch Lite Review Roundup: What Critics Love (and Hate)

Nintendo Switch Lite Hands-On Review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch Lite is upon us, and with a price of $199 and a portable form factor so cute that it's hard to resist, what can go wrong?

We did get our hands on the Nintendo Switch Lite and soon enough we'll have a full review, but what are other outlets saying about the Nintendo Switch Lite so far?

The Switch Lite is getting big praise for its attractive, travel-friendly design, though some reviewers seem to miss the versatility of the original Switch. Here are some early reviews:

The Verge (Rating: 8/10)

In The Verge's review, Andrew Webster complemented the Switch Lite's streamlined and sturdier design. They also mentioned that they managed to get four or five hours of battery life, which is an improvement upon the regular Switch. Webster also took a liking to the directional pad.

The Good
"As an all-in-one unit, it’s solid, making it much better for kids or people who travel a lot."

"By shrinking things down slightly, the Lite’s display actually makes games appear sharper and clearer."

The Bad
"The Lite doesn’t have a kickstand or any way to hold it up, so you’re forced to either lay it down on a flat surface or jury-rig a way for it to stand in order to play."

"Nintendo had to cut out key features, most notably the detachable controls, built-in rumble, and the ability to connect to a television set."

Kotaku (Rating: N/A)

In Kotaku's review, Mike Fahey praised the Nintendo Switch Lite as one of the best handheld devices they've ever used. Fahey complements how "sturdy, stylish and comfortable" the machine is.

The Good
"The plastic that makes up the Switch Lite’s casing has a soft and slightly rough texture to it that’s a joy on the fingertips."

"I’ve been playing with the Switch Lite for several days now, and every time my thumb brushes that D-pad there’s still a tiny burst of joy."

The Bad
"The $200 Switch Lite is not a versatile gaming device. It plays Switch games in handheld mode. It does not support television mode."

"The Lite’s smaller screen (5.5 inches to the Switch’s 6.2) and lack of an integrated kickstand make tabletop play inconvenient."

Polygon (Rating: N/A)

Nintendo Switch Lite Hands-On Review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In Polygon's review, Ben Kuchera commended the Switch Lite for its more compact, and colorful design. Kuchera also loved the switch to a cross-shaped D-pad and welcomed the increase in battery life.

The Good
"The cross-shaped D-pad is a nice improvement over the four discrete buttons on the standard left Joy-Con, and as I said before, the brightly colored, smooth matte plastic is tactile and pleasant to hold."

"The smaller size allows the console to fit more easily in my pockets. With the controls built into the unit, I was never scared of an analog stick catching on my pocket or bag, wiggling a Joy-Con out of position."

The Bad
"The Switch Lite has no detachable Joy-Cons; the controls are part of the package, which is a single hunk of plastic. This decision remains concerning due to Nintendo’s long-standing issues with controller drift for the platform, considering the inability to replace the Switch Lite’s controls if something goes wrong."

"If you thought the Switch was uncomfortable as a portable device, the smaller Switch Lite may cause more problems for you."

Engadget (Rating: 90/100)

In Engadget's review, Devindra Hardawar complemented the Switch Lite for its light and comfortable design, the directional pad, longer battery life and the fact that the machine is $100 less than the original Switch. Hardawar said the Switch Lite is the best option if you don't intend on gaming on your TV.

The Good
"The brighter colors, slimmer size and light weight make it almost seem like a Funko Pop version of the Switch. Your hands naturally gravitate towards it, like it's a puppy begging to be pet. And once you hold it, it's hard to let go."

"The major difference is the directional pad, which is sure to delight fans of classic 2D games. It's smooth, accurate and simply fun to use."

The Bad
"Its smaller size makes tiny text a pain. Zelda's item descriptions were already hard to read on the Switch, and you'll really have to squint to see them on the Lite."

"You'll also have to be careful about syncing saved data between your consoles. [...] It's an annoying process to deal with, but it's something Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners will also encounter with multiple systems."

GamesRadar+ (Rating: N/A)

Nintendo Switch Lite Hands-On Review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In our very own sister site's review, GamesRadar+'s Sam Loveridge stated that they loved how lightweight the Switch Lite felt and appreciate that Nintendo cut down on the gimmicks to make it a simpler console.

The Good
"The finish is a kind of soft matte; the kind that you think might be prone to fingerprint grub, but I can confirm that even while playing and also eating a pizza, the Lite has come away still beautifully yellow."

"Because of its compact design, and that weight loss, I can see the Lite becoming your new travel buddy, dropped easily into a backpack or handbag, with the OG unit waiting at home to play games on the big screen, or for those intensive Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe multiplayer sessions."

The Bad
"The only caveat so far is that you'll need to pick which Switch you want to set as your Primary console. It's only your Primary Switch that will be able to access digitally downloaded games offline – aka on a flight or other long non-WiFi-enabled journeys."

"Super Mario Maker 2 does feel pretty cramped on the 5.5-inch display, so I'd strongly advise investing in a stylus if you want to get involved in creating."