Around a month ago Nintendo revealed that they would be updating the base model of the Nintendo Switch, replacing it in stores with a new version that includes a longer-lasting battery life.
Nintendo reported the new model would offer 4.5 - 9 hours of battery life, a big improvement from the 2.5 - 6.5 of the original. With the improved model now out and available in stores, the battery life is already being put to the test by consumers and hardware reviewers/enthusiasts.
Earlier this month GameXplain did a test of the new model’s duration at maxed-out settings for brightness and other features while running Breath of the Wild, one of the Switch’s most demanding games. They found the new model lasted 3 hours and 53 minutes, a 57% increase on the original. That might seem a long way short of the 5.5 hours Nintendo suggests for Breath of the Wild, but few people will play with all the settings cranked up to the max.
Tomsguide tested the new model against the original by running endless, CPU-controller 8-player Super Smash Bros. matches. The newer model lasted a solid 4 hours and 50 minutes when compared to the 2 hours and 45 minutes of the original. That’s a 1.75x increase in battery life, and not far off the 1.8x step up promised by Nintendo for the most draining of games.
Other Reddit users have reported that the notoriously battery-devouring Fire Emblem: Three Houses also sees a big improvement, with an hour of play only draining 18% of the battery. Assuming the rate was consistent, that would stretch out to around 5.5 hours for the full battery.
Overall is it sounds like the battery life for the newer Nintendo Switch model is a marked improvement over the original, but that doesn’t mean you should trade in your current Switch immediately. Given saves can’t be transferred between Switches and just how affordable battery packs are, it’s probably not worth buying the console all over again. As ever, it's also worth remembering that the portable-only Switch Lite is also on the way soon. Nintendo has marked the battery life for that as lasting 3 - 7 hours. It's not quite as long as the newer model, but it still beats the original Switch.
If you are keen to pick up a new Switch model, make sure yours is the updated version by checking that the serial number begins with XKW. Have you already bought the updated Switch? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know about how the battery life is holding up with your favorite game in the comments below.