After numerous reports, Nintendo finally confirmed the existence of a smaller Nintendo Switch model, dubbed the Nintendo Switch Lite. This iteration of the console differs from the flagship Switch in numerous ways, most notably by being tailored for handheld play, with no detachable Joy-Con controllers or television support. It also has a slightly different button layout, including a true D-pad, but don't expect that to be added to the base Nintendo Switch model.
Speaking to CNET, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser confirmed that Nintendo currently has no plans to update the base Switch's Joy-Cons with a proper D-pad like the one featured on the Switch Lite. "There are no plans, or nothing to announce, in terms of further variations of Joy-Con," Bowser said.
The lack of a true D-pad has been a common complaint about Switch's Joy-Con controllers, but while Nintendo doesn't appear to be rectifying that anytime soon, third-party manufacturers have stepped in to offer their own alternatives. Hori sells a variety of left Joy-Cons that replace the standard directional buttons with a more traditional D-pad, although the controllers have some limitations--namely, they can only be used while attached to the system in handheld mode. The D-pad Joy-Cons come in Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon designs.
That isn't the only way the Switch Lite differs from the base model. The system is lighter and boasts a smaller screen. It also has an estimated 20-30% better battery life than the standard Switch, but it lacks some features such as rumble and the IR sensor. Being tailored for portable play means the system won't be compatible with all Switch software--only titles that support handheld mode. That means you'll need to own a pair of Joy-Con controllers in order to play certain games like 1-2-Switch or Super Mario Party. Nintendo has also said it is planning a transfer feature that will allow you to move between the Switch and Switch Lite, although the company hasn't shared any details on how that will work yet.
The Switch Lite launches on September 20 for $200 USD. The system will be available in three different colors at launch: yellow, turquoise, and grey. Nintendo is also releasing a special edition Pokemon Nintendo Switch Lite on November 8, just ahead of the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield. That version of the system has a light grey body, cyan and magenta buttons, and illustrations of the games' two cover monsters, Zacian and Zamazenta, on the back.