5 things you need to know about the Nintendo Switch Lite

It's smaller and cheaper, but also loses some key Switch features

The rumours are true: the Nintendo Switch is shrinking – and shaving off a chunk of the price tag in the process.

Nintendo just announced the Switch Lite, a handheld-only edition that's a little bit smaller and trims some key features from the equation, including the detachable controllers and TV support. On the other hand, it's colorful and cute, lasts a little bit longer, and is much cheaper than the full-bodied Switch.

It's rolling out this autumn, and we've got the full scoop on what to expect. Here's what you need to know.

1) It's a proper handheld

It's still called a Switch, but the Nintendo Switch Lite drops the whole convertible thing that defined the original edition. This is a strictly handheld system, designed for play-anywhere enjoyment, and with a form factor that's arguably closest to the PlayStation Vita in the grand scheme of things.

Given the handheld focus, it's probably a good idea that the screen is a bit smaller, shrinking from 6.2in to 5.5in to lessen the overall footprint. And while the battery capacity is lower, Nintendo says that you'll get a smidge more uptime from a full charge. Also handy: you get a proper d-pad on the left side now, instead of face buttons.

2) Some things are missing

The biggest change, however, is that you cannot play the Nintendo Switch Lite on your TV. There's no dock and no cable that can directly connect you to a larger screen; this one's purely portable.

Given that approach, the Joy-Con controllers are no longer detachable: the Switch Lite is a single, cohesive unit. The system has also shed the infrared sensor at the bottom right of the standard Switch, and no longer has HD Rumble capabilities throughout.

3) It works with most Switch games

Any Nintendo Switch game with handheld mode support will work on the Switch Lite, and that's pretty much everything. The Switch Lite has the same processing power and touch capabilities, as well as the same buttons (or equivalents), so nothing is really shortchanged.

There are a few exceptions, however. For example, the cardboard-based Nintendo Labo kits won't work with the Switch Lite. Those fun, experimental peripherals require Switch Joy-Cons or the screen itself, so the Switch Lite will not suffice. With some other games, such as launch title 1-2 Switch, you'd need to buy separate Joy-Con controllers and pair them wirelessly to play it on the Switch Lite. We don't recommend going to that kind of hassle for 1-2 Switch, by the way.

4) It's out in September

The Nintendo Switch Lite will release on 20 September. We don't have UK pricing just yet, but the US version will sell for US$199.99. That translates to about £160, but given that the standard Switch is £279 compared to $299 in the States, we'd expect a price more like £189-199.

It will be available in yellow, turquoise, and grey versions, and there's a fourth coming later this year – a light grey Pokémon Sword & Shield version with blue and pink buttons and sticks, as well as sketches of new legendary monsters Zacian and Zamazenta on that back. That one will be available on 8 November, a week ahead of the games' 15 November debut.

5) It's not replacing the 3DS

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the new Nintendo 3DS, right? Yes, basically… but not officially. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser tells The Verge that the company will continue to support the aging dual-screened handheld.

There's essentially nothing releasing for the 3DS these days, and Nintendo didn't show anything at E3. However, the handheld has an excellent past lineup and is significantly cheaper than the Nintendo Switch Lite – especially the simpler 2DS rendition without the 3D effect. It's still an ideal system for younger kids, given the price and library, and it's likely to linger in the market for some time to come.