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If you just can’t bring yourself to pay $300 for Nintendo’s Switch portable console, fret not. House Mario has announced that a smaller, slimmer, and most importantly cheaper version of its runaway hit will start shipping in just a couple of months. Get ready for the $200 Nintendo Switch Lite, complete with hype video featuring human beings that are totally gamers. Switch General Producer Yoshiaki Koikzumi runs down what’s different about the Switch Lite. This version is an undockable portable, so maybe we should call it the Nintendon’t Switch.
Of course, to hit this lower price point, Nintendo had to make some trade-offs. The Switch has a pair of removable JoyCon controllers for playing games in docked mode on an HDTV. The Switch Lite can’t do any of that. Not only are the JoyCons integrated into the unit, but the Switch Lite has no dock or HDMI output. The Switch Lite also eschews HD Rumble force-feedback functionality and the infrared motion-sensing camera, too. The Switch has a 6.2″ 720p integrated display, but the Switch Lite will have a smaller 5.5″ 720p panel.
Nintendo’s changes to the Switch Lite aren’t all bad, though. A standard D-pad has replaced those bizarre directional buttons on the left JoyCon. The Switch Lite lives up to its name by weighing at just 0.61 lbs., 0.27 lbs less than the original. The Switch Lite measures just 3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches, compared to the 4.0 x 9.0 x 0.55 inch predecessor. Nintendo says the Lite should last longer on battery power, too—up to four hours playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an hour longer than the original.
According to The Verge, Nintendo says that power efficiency boost comes from a “more power-efficient chip layout.” The Switch Lite might not be the only system with a more power-efficient chip, though. In a second report, The Verge cited an FCC filing that says the original Switch is getting an updated SoC as well. The original Tegra X1 was built on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process, so this could be just a die shrink. Such a shrink could enable the new chip to run at faster speeds, and Eurogamer says that Nintendo is experimenting with doing just that.
One other caveat with the Switch Lite is that it’ll only work with games that function in portable mode. Personally, I’ve never seen a Switch game that doesn’t run in handheld mode. Nintendo doesn’t say anything about Nintendo Labo or its recently-released VR titles, either. However, Switch staples that can support multiple players on the same console like MarioKart 8 Deluxe will be a no-go. When the Switch Lite launches in September, it’ll be available in Yellow, Turquoise, and Gray. When Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield launch on November 8, Nintendo will also release two special edition Switch Lites that feature new legendary Pokemon Zacian and Zamezenta. If you prefer your Switch to switch modes, don’t fret—the old model will stick around.