I mocked the Switch Lite, then went backpacking to Southeast Asia

Soapbox features allow our individual contributors and contributors to give their opinions on hot topics and random things they’ve discussed. Today Rory details how Nintendo’s smallest Switch finally won him over…

Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

“Yes sir, this is definitely a sleeper train. Don’t worry.”

The lady at the checkout chuckled to herself as her colleagues smirked knowingly. I was there: another ignorant Westerner who had just stepped off a plane to Bangkok and was fooled by… well, everything, to be honest with you.

– Well, if you say so!

With (slightly) new confidence, I return to the platform and climb onto the train a second time. I look out of the dirty window to confirm the platform number and study the information on my ticket for what seems like the fiftieth time.

“Okay, I’m in the right place. It’s definitely 10 hours from Chiang Mai.”

But I still don’t see any beds. My back is starting to hurt at the prospect of spending the next 14 hours upright. But I believe the words of the ticket saleswoman.

For a moment, I look away from the impressively plump rat scurrying along the tracks, and as I look up I see a train conductor in a spotless green uniform with the same intense expression on his face.

He reaches for the overhead storage compartment and, turning the special tool slung around his neck, discovers… oh, Christ. Not the luggage compartment at all, but my bed for the night. It’s like a dinner tray! No wonder I didn’t see him.

sleeper train bed
Thai trains are not designed for very tall people. I know it now. — Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

I climb a rather sketchy looking ladder and laugh to myself as I try to squeeze my six-foot-four body into definitely not six foot four space. To add to my misery, it’s September in Thailand and the humidity is punishing.

I’ve always said that a switch that can’t be docked isn’t good for me.

Two nights of (very) eventful partying at the Mad Monkey Hostel ensures that my sleep patterns get messed up too, and as the train pulls away, screeching and bouncing, I realize the train lights stay on for the rest of the day. journey. It will be a long night.

At this point, I’ve already destroyed the Citrus Twist Lay’s (absolutely elite, btw) and the double-stuffed Oreos I bought for the trip, so I can’t even swallow the boredom. Fortunately, I have an ace up my sleeve.

Pre-flight checks

You see, I had a last-minute packing rehearsal a few weeks ago, and it turned out that cramming your entire life into a 40-litre Osprey backpack is not an option. enough as much luxury as you want.

My “going out” shoe was the first casualty, but with every attempt to break the zipper, it becomes clear that I will have to make some pretty serious cuts. Either that or buy a bigger backpack, but frankly no one has time for checked baggage fees.

So while I’m thinking about which three T-shirts to take and which seven to throw away (I new to that, Fine?!) My laptop is giving way to a thinner tablet and Bluetooth mini keyboard. At the moment, weight loss is becoming something of an obsession. I feel like a McLaren engineer.

I open the front compartment and see my OG fire up the Switch and its big, bulky case is staring back at me. To my recently obsessed eye, it is monstrously huge. I’m reluctantly starting to imagine nine months(!) without a second playthrough of Metroid Dread, and… actually, you know what? It’s not so bad.

‘Cause I’m going journey! I will jump waterfalls, ride motorcycles on white sand beaches, climb mountains and celebrate every second of every day and night with young, beautiful people! Of course, I won’t have time to worry about GRID Autosport lap times because I’m crying out loud.

Change of heart

“But… we could just buy a Nintendo Switch Lite…” my subconscious whispers almost like Smeagol. “What will the master be doing on this difficult 18-hour flight? Read books’? What kind of books, dear? What are books, hey?!

[Switch Lite] turned out to be a truly meaningful update in more ways than I ever imagined

Smeagol was right. You won’t see him in those glossy Instagram videos, and travel stories are usually filled with tales of dawn visits to Buddhist temples rather than 19-hour bus rides, but you know what? Traveling across a continent as vast as Asia typically involves a lot of… well, travel! Who would have thought?!

So, the Switch Lite started to sound like a decent option. The thing is, I wasn’t thrilled with his disclosure.

“A switch that can’t switch?! No stand, no rumble, no detachable Joy-Con? And why is it so cheap looking?!”

I’ve always said that a switch that can’t be docked isn’t good for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played Rocket League with the best of them, but there’s something about games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a 55-inch screen that makes me feel more…invested.

Each by thread

Also, how big is the difference when moving from Switch to Switch Lite? Really do?

Well, reader, after spending the evening rubbing my clothes (which were now folded into a compression cube, fyi) to oblivion, I can confirm that this proved to be the difference between being able to squeeze my filter bottle into my front pocket . , and potentially contract some kind of waterborne disease.

GRID Motorsport
GRID Autosport looks great on the small Lite screen. — Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

Sure, I lost that bottle in a Vietnamese hostel after about 10 weeks, which made the whole operation completely pointless, but you know what? I am still SO glad I took the Lite with me; it turned out to be a truly meaningful update in more ways than I ever imagined.

fun in the sun

I took mine from the (admittedly often nefarious) world of the Facebook Marketplace for just £80.

You see, a gentleman my age has blown out enough birthday candles to remember the days of the Game Boy Advance and the original Nintendo DS, which, while fantastic handhelds in their own right, didn’t boast the most impressive displays.

Thankfully, I found the 720p panel on the Nintendo Switch Lite to be an absolute marvel. Even in the bright sunlight of northern Thailand, the screen’s peak brightness of 380 nits meant that reflections from my double chin (damn those Oreos!) were mercifully rare.

As a result, navigating Metroid Dread’s muddy underground corridors was a breeze, even during the two days I spent cruising the Mekong River in the legendary “slow boat.”

And as I thought back to the fond memories of looking for shade in the playground just to get roughed up in Metroid Prime Hunters, I couldn’t help but think we’d come a long way.

Playing with power

Compared to the HAC-001 model, the extended battery life is also a huge benefit; when you’re living life like crazy and zipping back and forth and everywhere, charging your devices isn’t always the first thought, so it was nice to know that running out of charge wasn’t the end of the world. Especially when your charging setup would sometimes look like this…

Charging setting
I can say with some confidence that this is probably classified as a fire hazard in at least 50 countries. — Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

Not only does the Lite last longer on a single charge compared to the launch model, but the smaller 3,570mAh battery means it also charges faster. And ate less juice from my powerbank – an absolute lifeline for any traveller.

Sharp and durable

Heaven Sword HD
Skyward Sword HD really stands out on the Lite’s sharper screen. However, I can’t do anything about these Tadton quests. — Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

Much has been made of the decision to use a non-removable Joy-Con on the Lite, and while the move is certainly not without its downsides, I was definitely pleased with the console’s increased durability on occasions when I dropped my backpack on the floor. in sweaty, dramatic exhaustion. It happened a lot.

There is also improved image clarity. Games running at native 720p look incredibly crisp and clear on the Lite’s smaller, higher pixel density screen. The effect is doubly impressive when games are also running at 60fps, as is the case with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, which looks completely different from its dirtier Wii debut.

And the best part? I took mine from the (admittedly often nefarious) world of the Facebook Marketplace for just £80. It was in near mint condition and by the time I pawned my starting Switch Off I was already £50 in the black.

Stickin’ around

Recently, Twitter has been inundated with talk of aging Switch hardware getting a little dated, and with a recent Bloomberg report suggesting that Nintendo is actually ramping up production in 2023, it looks like we won’t be getting new hardware. revision soon.

Wolfenstein 2
To be honest, it’s still witchcraft for me. — Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

And to be honest, I’m fine with it. Barring any major disaster, I will of course be there on day one for the Switch successor. But at the same time, I’m still amazed every time I fire up my tiny Switch Lite and watch it chew through something like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, no matter what “anything below 4k/144fps, COMPLETELY UNPLAYABLE!” the crowd is talking.

Now that we can be fairly certain that a hypothetical Switch 2 isn’t an immediate concern (and now that I’m not jetsetting), I won’t lie: I’m in the Switch OLED market, which is basically why I can play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as the good lord intended: on a powerful telly.

But don’t let that take anything away from the Switch Lite; for what he laid out, it couldn’t have been much better.

I’ve eaten incredibly delicious food on my travels—seriously, if you’ve never tasted pad krapow or panang curry, sort it out—but just as sweet was the humble pie that Nintendo gave me.

Back in Blighty

Now, unfortunately, I have returned to the icy wastelands of the British Isles after my trip was cut short. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I won’t try to break up street fights again if I ever work up the courage to go back to the Philippines.

But what did I learn from traveling Southeast Asia for three months?

I learned that despite the misleading name, 7-Eleven is actually open 24 hours a day and is truly our lord and savior; life means absolutely nothing if there are no people you love near you; and Nintendo is still the undisputed king of affordable portable gaming systems.

Lite is not just a smaller switch; it’s portable perfection.

Vientiane airport
Image: Rory Cocker/Nintendo Life

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