Nintendo has done it again. They have iterated on one of their devices and created confusion among parents. We’re going to break down the differences and similarities between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite. 

The Games

We’ll start with the most significant point. There are no games that are exclusive to either the original Switch or the Switch Lite. You don’t have to scrutinize labels on this one. They all work. 

The Dock

The biggest selling feature for the Nintendo Switch at launch was the docking technology. Each Switch that was sold included a dock that you could use to have the Switch… well… switch from handheld console (like the 3DS) to a home console (like the PS4).

The Nintendo Switch Lite does not include a dock, and, in fact, it can’t be connected to a television at all. It is a handheld only console. That does mean that it is less flexible that the original Switch. 

The Controllers

The original Switch came with a pair of Joy-Con controllers. They can be removed from the sides of the Switch and used as a pair of controllers or combined with a Joy-Con grip into a single controller. 

The Switch Lite is an all in one device. There are no detachable controllers. Instead, they are permanently built into the side of the machine. The Lite is compatible with devices like the Switch Pro controller in the event that you wanted to use them. This is key for games like 1, 2, Switch (a party game). 


The original Switch is a larger device than the Switch Lite. It measures in at 4 inches tall and 9.4 inches long. It also has a 6.2-inch screen. The Lite, on the other hand, is 3.6 inches tall and 8.2 inches long. 

The numbers don’t paint the full picture regarding the size comparison though. The Switch Lite is also significantly lighter.

The Cost

The original Nintendo Switch costs $299.99 and includes a dock, 2 Joy-Cons, and a Joy-Con Grip. 

The Nintendo Switch Life, on the other hand, will set you back $199.99.

Which one should I buy?

This is a tough decision, but it is ultimately going to come down to how you imagine your family using it.

If you don’t think that there will ever be a circumstance where you will want to put the Switch in a dock and play the games on the TV, then the original Switch is likely overkill. There is no reason to spend an additional $100 for a fancy charging dock for your Switch.

However, if you think that the opposite is true, even to a relatively small degree, then you will need to determine if it is worth that additional $100 charge for the ability to use it on the TV.

What do you think? Which would you want to buy? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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By Stephen Duetzmann

Editor in Chief Founder/EiC Blogger, Podcaster, Video Host RE: games that families can play together.

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