HOW IT’S DONE
Where the magic happens.
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
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.