HOW IT’S DONE

Where the magic hap­pens.

APC Australia - - Contents -

What makes the Nin­tendo Switch Lite tick?

There’s a new Switch on the block: the Nin­tendo Switch Lite, and it comes with less in or­der to cost you less. It also ar­rives in some hot new col­ors.

MA­JOR TECH SPECS

Built-in 5.5-inch 1280×720 ca­pac­i­tive touch­screen LCD

Cus­tom Nvidia Te­gra pro­ces­sor 32GB of in­ter­nal stor­age (up to 2TB ad­di­tional stor­age via mi­croSDHC or mi­croSDXC card) 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth 4.1, NFC, USB Type-C port (charg­ing only), and 3.5 mm au­dio jack Built-in ac­celerom­e­ter and gy­ro­scope Recharge­able 13.6Wh lithium-ion bat­tery

Evolved with un­de­tach­able con­trollers

KEY FIND­INGS

We yanked re­ally hard on the con­trols in the hope of scor­ing two new bright yel­low Joy-Cons, but alas, they don’t de­tach. A more tra­di­tional dis­as­sem­bly is re­quired.

The way is blocked by im­pass­able tri-point screws. Un­der the back cover, we find an­other cover. Mov­ing on, the SD card reader is now per­ma­nently at­tached to the main board – on the old Switch, we’d al­ready re­moved it by now. Mod­u­lar­ity is good for re­pair, so this is a step back­ward. Let’s peek un­der the metal shield to look at the in­ter­nals.

We blow the cover off our re­vised­for-2019 Switch and do some Lite com­par­isons. Most im­por­tant change: The bat­tery in the Lite is no longer up­side-down. It’s also smaller and sits next to a lighter-gauge heat pipe, while the head­phone jack has gone fully mod­u­lar.

More ef­fi­cient hard­ware makes for longer bat­tery life (three to seven hours, ac­cord­ing to Nin­tendo) and less waste heat, so we’re un­sur­prised to see a down­sized heatsink and fan. An­other slight dif­fer­ence: The pre­vi­ous L and R trig­gers pressed di­rectly against a but­ton on a PCB, but the new trig­gers switch to a mem­brane-style key.

Pulling aside a ded­i­cated mini -Joy-Con board, we get to a source of con­tro­versy in the Switch – the joy­stick. Ini­tially, th­ese joy­sticks look sim­i­lar to the 2019 Switch joy­sticks – but the de­sign of the clasps around the edges is dif­fer­ent, and the case is eas­ier to open. In­side, there’s some new trace rout­ing, a nar­rower stick click but­ton, and wider-look­ing metal slid­ers. A guess at the cause of joy­stick drift is that the con­tact pads un­der the slid­ers wear down.

The orig­i­nal Switch had a non­lam­i­nated, air-gapped dis­play, mak­ing for cheap and easy screen re­pairs, so how does the Switch Lite fare? A lit­tle heat and pry­ing is all it takes to coax the dis­play assem­bly from the frame, and with a bit more con­vinc­ing, the digi­tiser/screen sep­a­rates from the dis­play. Success! Re­pairabil­ity score: 6 out of 10 (10 is eas­i­est to re­pair). Screws, rather than ad­he­sives, se­cure most com­po­nents. Many com­po­nents, in­clud­ing joy­sticks, fan, and head­phone jack, are mod­u­lar and can be re­placed in­de­pen­dently. The bat­tery, though strongly glued down, can be re­placed af­ter re­mov­ing the rear case. The digi­tiser and dis­play are not fused, but firmly glued in place. The flash stor­age and SD card reader are now sol­dered di­rectly to the moth­er­board. Un­com­mon tri-point screws hin­der all re­pairs.

Re­mov­ing the board, we note that the for­merly mod­u­lar flash stor­age is now sol­dered down.

This is what we’re tear­ing down to­day: the bright yel­low, brand new Nin­tendo Switch Lite.

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