Basically a budget friendly Nintendo Switch that's meant to be more portable. Unlike the iphone 11 and iphone 11 Pro, Galaxy 10e and Galaxy 10, iphone XR and iphone X, etc it doesn't keep all features the same, just downgraded.
In fact like the Nintendo 2DS (compared to 3DS) it actually takes away some features.
If you already own a Nintendo Switch console, you can sync* or transfer from your profile/games/saves using your Nintendo account. Very simple; when you boot up system for first time it'll walk you through it step-by-step
*If you sync or link one account to multiple switch consoles, the non-main one has to verify every few hours to play downloaded games which can be a hassle if you don't have internet connection
Let's go through the list of changes:
1. Size, weight, portability
Overall size in general: The Switch Lite is basically the Original Switch (I'll be referring it to 'Switch' moving forward) but with one of the joy cons detached.
You think this will be more portable, but in practice from my personal experience it's not. If you consider size only The Switch can detach joycons for better storage. Downside is that you must be aware where you put the screen and joycons and attach them later.
There is a difference if you pocket thing whole thing without detaching i guess
Seeing the smaller size, there may be more hand cramping involved if you have giant adult sized hands
Switch Lite is lighter in weight, but it's not a night-and-day difference. Not going to tell unless you have both side-by-side in each hand.
Bezels are colored which is nice. It's not black like on the Switch, so able to distinguish where the screen ends
2. No detachable joycons
Cannot detach joycons, making the logo snap/click sound clip that game trailers start off/ends with absolutely useless when referring to Switch line of systems in general.
As one singular unit, fused into the system; feels more solid in the hand compared to original
Downside is that it loses some functionality in some games
You are not able to split controllers to let a friend play
Some games that you can't play on Switch Lite out of the box (as of this review) are: 1-2 Switch Fitness Boxing Just Dance (Series) Nintendo Labo (Series) Nintendo Lano VR Ring Fit Adventures Super Mario Party Surgeon Simulator
There are also other games that's not as convenient to play in handheld only like: ARMS Fortnight Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Mario Tennis Aces Pokemon Let's Go series Super Mario Odyssey Splatoon 2 Zelda Breath of the Wild
You can buy joy cons to play on Switch Lite, but that costs additional $70 MSRP. Might as well buy a Switch at that point
If the thumb sticks breaks or if there are drifting issues, you can have it fixed by Nintendo for $80.
3. Cannot be docked to TV, no kick stand
No docking station. If you own the Switch with docking station; the Switch Lite cannot fit in it.
As of right now, there's no official docking station for Switch Lite from Nintendo, and no 3rd party adapters
No kickstand to play on tabletop mode. Seeing the smaller screen you wouldn't want to anyway even when a lot of controllers are sync and people squinting their eyes when huddled around the system
4. Has a D-Pad.
Best feature of the system in my opinion. Better tactile feel when playing. Enhances gameplay especially when playing 2D fighters
D-pad and other buttons (ABXY, shoulder buttons) are more muted when pressed which is great when playing in a public setting
5. No IR, HD Rumble
The IR Motion Camera and HD rumble features have been removed. Games that support these features will not work on Switch lite
6. Better battery??
4-7 hours versus the 3-6 hours of the original launch Nintendo Switch.
If you buy the newer 2019 model of Switch (Retail box with a lot of Red), the battery life is better than the Switch Lite
7. New colors
Comes in Turquoise, Grey and Yellow There's also a Pokemon Sword and Shield ( Zacian and Zamazenta) Edition edition
8. Smaller screen
5.5 vs 6.2 inch screen
Resolution is the same at 720p, but more compact making it appear sharper with a 267ppi vs 236ppi
Overall, I like the concept of a more portable (?), affordable switch, but I don't like the fact that it exists.
If it's like the 2ds (with no 3d support). Devs (even first party) will eventually take away features in games in the future: motion controls, AR support, HD rumble, docked TV mode, etc to cater to a wider audience.
They should have just made it smaller and kept everything the same
Good buy for those budget friendly, but if you like more options best to go for the upgrade if you can afford it.