Tesla's Optimus Robot Everything From Tesla AI Day Bella Hadid's Spray-on Dress Hasbro's Indiana Jones Toy 'Hocus Pocus 2' Review AirPods Pro 2 Discount Meal Delivery Services Vitamins for Flu Season
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

I regret buying my Nintendo Switch Lite

Now, more than ever, I wish I'd waited for the OLED Switch.

It's smaller and cheaper, but is it better?
Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The Nintendo Switch is my favorite video games console. Maybe ever. Considering how much I loved my Super Nintendo, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, that's saying something. 

But given my current circumstances -- a parent with limited time to do anything that isn't working, sleeping or taking care of two cacodemons disguised as young children -- there's never been a console better designed for a person like me. It's the console that pours itself into the gaps of my busy life.

The only issue I ever had with my Nintendo Switch is I had to share it. I'll never forget the first scratch I got on the screen. Truly a dark day.

I was cleaning up my kids' play area when I saw it. My Nintendo Switch. Face down. Screen down atop a gigantic pile of sharp, spiky Legos. It was like waking up and seeing your pet goldfish belly up in the tank.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO," I screamed. Actually screamed. I sank to my knees in physical agony, rocking back and forth in the fetal position, cradling my Switch, pausing to frantically searching for scratches, angling the screen against the light.

"No. No. No."

Yep, scratches. Two of them. Deep ones.


It was in that precise moment that I began to fantasize. About a completely indulgent purchase that made no sense. A second Nintendo Switch. A Switch safe from the abuse of exuberant children. A Switch that would remain hidden in some locked drawer in my bedroom.  

A secret Switch for me and me alone.

I harbored this glorious dream for years, and when Nintendo announced the Switch Lite -- a smaller, cheaper (by $100) version of the original -- I thought, this is my chance. The perfect excuse. A brand new updated version of my favorite console. 

So I bought it. A brand new Switch Lite, a crisp, fresh turquoise number. I headed home from the shop with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. My secret Switch, forever pristine, forever safe from grubby fingerprints and rogue scratches. Perfection.

And it was. For the first month or two my Nintendo Switch Lite was a dream. I kept it safe from grubby, careless little hands, played it at night, on the bus. 

But now, almost two year after buying it, my Nintendo Switch Lite remains mostly unplayed. I barely touch it and, if I'm being honest, I regret buying it.


If I'm at home, I want it on my TV.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

It's not necessarily the console itself, or the games. That's all fine. It's the functionality -- what the Nintendo Switch Lite can and can't do in comparison to its older, bigger brother.

I don't necessarily regret buying an extra Switch, I just wish I'd bought the original Switch. Actually, now that the OLED Switch is en route, I regret not waiting to buy that upgrade instead.

My reasoning back then was pretty straightforward. I'd have one regular Nintendo Switch, a home Switch that was for the kids. Portable if need be, but mainly played on the TV and in the house. The Switch Lite -- a pure handheld console that can't connect to the TV like the original -- would be with me at all times. It didn't need to be connected to the TV, so why pay extra for the privilege? 

Now that I've owned and played both versions of the Nintendo Switch, however, I'm here to tell you: I should have paid extra for the big boy. Months down the track, I can't think of a single circumstance where I would recommend the Nintendo Switch Lite over the original Nintendo Switch.

I miss the larger screen. I miss being able to give the console a facelift by adding different-colored controllers. Most of all I miss having the option to dock my Switch and play on the much larger TV screen once my kids are safely asleep.

I didn't think I'd miss this feature but I was wrong. It's easy to forget just how much better games like Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing look and feel on a big screen. The fact these games can be played in handheld mode is a modern miracle, but playing on TV is still, for the most part, the ideal way to play.

Is the Switch Lite better for kids? Not really. That's the main argument for the existence of the Switch Lite, but it doesn't hold water. Kids like to play video games on TV as much as adults do. The added cost is a concern, obviously, but paying the extra $100 is definitely worth it in this case.

Is the Switch Lite useful as a second Switch, like I once argued? Again, not really. A second Nintendo Switch is useful as a second Nintendo Switch, not the Lite. The original Nintendo Switch does everything the Lite can with the added benefit of having a larger screen in handheld mode. The Switch Lite, in comparison, is compromised. It's cheaper, obviously. But not cheap enough to justify buying over the original. 

Simply put, the Switch Lite erases what made the original unique. That's why, instead of pouring itself into the convenient gaps of my busy schedule, my Switch Lite remains unloved and unplayed. A secret Switch in a locked drawer. Safe from scratches, sure, but aren't they the sign of a console that's loved? My first Nintendo Switch earned its battle scars through hundreds of hours of play. My Nintendo Switch Lite, on the other hand, is gathering dust.