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Since Nintendo launched the Switch Lite on September 20, I have transitioned to using it as one of my primary gaming devices. And while I immediately fell in love with the dedicated handheld, I’ve had some concerns about durability. I take the Switch Lite with me everywhere. I drag it along around the house, in the car, and any other place you can think of. But I don’t keep it in a case or in a bag. It’s usually in my pocket. And I’ve worried since day one that it’s going to start falling apart.

With those fears in mind, I figured that now is a good time for a check-in. The Switch Lite should hold up for three months even if I am kind of rough on it. But is it actually withstanding everyday use? And even if it is, is it showing signs of wear?

The short answer is that it is in like-new condition. And that’s not due to me going easy on it. I’m not trying to damage it, but I’m not coddling it, either. My kids even get their hands on it sometimes. I’ve caught my 1-year old almost trying to peel the tips of the analog sticks off. And yet, it can put up with everything we are dishing out.

Let’s go over the biggest points of concern.


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Nintendo Switch Lite 3-month check-in

Analog sticks

When I find the baby trying to rip off the analog sticks, several more of my hairs turn white. Even before the Lite came out, I figured that these sticks would have the highest potential for failure or damage. That was the case for me with the original Switch. I ran through multiple Joycon controllers because the rubber grips would rub off.

So far, that hasn’t happened here. It’s not even starting to happen. I’m starting to have more confidence that Nintendo really did make the Switch Lite with kids in mind. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to let my child keep trying to demolish it, but it does mean that I feel better about putting it in my pocket.


But it’s not just the stick that could fail. Lint could get in the buttons and cause malfunctions or some other problems. But again, the Switch Lite just hasn’t had any of those problems.

I think this is most indicative of solid build quality. Gunk and grime just isn’t finding its way into the crevices around the buttons. The space is too tight because Nintendo has refined its manufacturing process.

Overall wear and tear

Let’s forget about the mechanical components. Is the Nintendo portable holding up aesthetically? Yes. I’m most surprised that it just doesn’t seem to get bumps and bruises very easily. The screen doesn’t have any noticeable dings. And the plastic still has that new-look coating.


A $200 consumer-electronics device should withstand three months of regular use, and the Switch Lite does. But my use drifts beyond “regular” and into “rough,” and I’m growing more confident that the Lite is made for that as well.

Nintendo has made a lot of tough devices. The company’s Nintendo World Store in New York has a Game Boy on display that survived a bombing in the Gulf War. It still works. The Switch Lite has more potential points of failure than the Game Boy did, though. And that’s why I’m still so anxious about it.

Still, Nintendo clearly knows how to make a handheld that can last, and the Switch Lite is in the beginning stages of living up to that legacy.


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