Nintendo Switch Lite Tips: 11 Ways to Get the Most Out of It

Congratulations on the new Switch Lite! Now let’s get to work. Whether you got a Switch Lite as a gift this holiday season or you picked one up yourself, setting it up is a breeze but there are a couple of things you should know. First off: Oh my god it’s so cute, right?

If you got the regular Nintendo Switch instead, we have a selection of tips tailored for that experience you can check out here. OK, OK, let’s get to it.

1. Learn Its Limitations

The first thing you should know about the Switch Lite is that it can’t do everything the full-size Nintendo Switch can do. It can do most of the same things—the important stuff like play most of the same games and use the same accounts and controls—but there are a few features that have been omitted to make the Lite a bit smaller and sleeker than its larger sibling.

For instance, there are no Joy-Cons to disconnect from the Switch Lite. It can’t be docked for playing on a TV, and it has a smaller battery than the full-size Switch (about six hours of gameplay depending on the game). The Switch Lite also doesn’t have motion controls.

A very small selection of games can’t be played (or they have reduced functionality) because they require motion controls, but you can play them properly if you buy the Switch’s Joy-Cons and connect them to the Switch Lite. These include games like Super Mario Party, 1-2 Switch, Just Dance, and Fitness Boxing. To see if a game is compatible with the Switch Lite, check the game’s physical packaging (or check the eShop) and look for a handheld mode icon.

2. Revel in Its Strengths

I can fit the Switch Lite in just about any shoulder bag, handbag or purse I own. It even fits in some jacket pockets. It’s not that much smaller than the regular-sized Switch but those extra inches Nintendo shaved off make the Switch Lite one of the most portable devices I own, outside of my phone. Even if I don’t think I’m going to use it, I bring it with me anyway. I mean why not? It weighs nine ounces, which is a tad heavier than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Photograph: Nintendo

Also, colors! The Switch Lite comes in turquoise, yellow, and gray. There’s also a special edition Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield version in gray, pink, and blue, though it can be hard to find. The original Switch is a well-designed and well-built console, but it’s just not as sleek or stylish as the Lite.

3. Turn on the Battery Widget

It’s not hard to find out how much battery your Switch has left, just hold the home button and the window that pops up will tell you. But in my experience, it can be a good idea (especially when traveling) to turn on the always-on battery widget on the home screen. This will display the battery percentage right beside the little battery bar. It’s a little easier to tell how long you have left in Hyrule if you can see a specific number. To do that, go to System Settings > System > Console Battery % and toggle it on.

4. Explore the Dark Side

The Switch Lite is a handheld-only console, and staring at a bright white home screen can be a bit overwhelming if you’re playing late into the night. I’d suggest turning on dark mode, which will turn the menus from white to a dark charcoal gray, which is much easier on the eyes. Here’s how: Open System Settings > Themes and choose Basic Black.

5. Change Your Region to Access Region-Locked Games

Some regions of the world will see game releases a bit sooner than other regions. Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch is region-free, which means you can just change your region in the settings and access any region’s Nintendo eShop. That’s how so many Switch owners started playing Pokemon Sword & Shield before it hit store shelves in their countries. Here’s how you do it: Pop open your Settings > System > Region and change your region to whichever one you’d like!

6. See How Many Hours You’ve Spent in Hyrule

It’s not exactly essential information, but sometimes it’s kind of nice to check on how many hours you’ve spent in a particular game. To check it out for yourself, hit your profile icon on the top-left corner of the home screen, then Profile. You can also check out how many hours your friends have spent in their games. Need to fill out your friend list? Well, read on.

7. Play With Friends

The Nintendo Switch, and by extension the Switch Lite, have an online service but it’s not much use without some friends. To add friends, or let other people add you, you’ll need to find your friend code. Just hit your profile picture on the top-left side of the home menu and click Profile. From here you can see your friend code, which you can provide to people who want to add you.

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