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Nintendo Switch Refresh Promises Much Better Battery Life, Available Mid-August

Battery life in some games could be nearly double thanks to tweaks under the hood

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Nintendo Switch Refresh Promises Much Better Battery Life, Available Mid-August

Better battery life means more playing time on the road between charges

Highlights
  • This is not the purported 'Nintendo Switch Pro' which is still rumoured
  • Nintendo has not officially said what hardware has changed
  • Buyers are advised to make sure they are getting the new revision

Nintendo has released a new revision of the original Nintendo Switch portable console with much better battery life. The new device is otherwise identical to the original Switch in terms of appearance and functionality, and will be sold at the same price of $299.99 (approximately Rs. 20,520). While the original Switch claimed to offer between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, the revised version is listed with 4.5 and 9 hours as figures for guidance. Nintendo says that battery life will vary considerably depending on what game is being played, and offers approximate figures for its own title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as an example - the original Switch is said to last for just 3 hours of continuous gameplay, while the new one should be able to run for 5.5 hours.

Other than nearly doubling battery life expectations, there are no visible or functional changes to the new device. Rumours of a more powerful 'Nintendo Switch Pro' have circulated for some time, but this is not that device. It is possible that Nintendo has changed some internal components or is benefiting from updated manufacturing processes. The listed weight of the device has not changed, and details of the battery capacity won't be confirmed until someone can perform a teardown of a unit.

It is possible that Nintendo has used a new revision of the Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC that powers the Switch, harnessing a smaller 10nm production process to increase power efficiency rather than boost raw performance. This would also make sure that games don't run any differently on different hardware revisions.

There are two ways to distinguish the old and new versions of the Nintendo Switch. The first one is the model number, which has changed from HAC-001 to HAC-001(-01). The second is the serial number, which should start with the letters XKW for the revision, while older units will have their serial numbers beginning with XAW. 

Nintendo is clearly listing both options on its website and has provided both sets of battery life specifications on the Switch's product page. It is not certain that all online retailers will follow this example or include this level of detail in their listings, so buyers are advised to be cautious.

Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart are listed as retailers where the new console will be available in the USA when it goes on sale. Versions with the grey as well as the red-and-blue detachable Joy-Con controllers are listed along with the older model, but packages and special edition boxes with game bundles are not clearly marked as containing the updated Switch yet.  

The news has come just a few days after the official unveiling of the smaller, more affordable Nintendo Switch Lite model. The Switch Lite will be available from September 20 priced at $199 (approximately Rs. 13,800). It features a smaller screen than the original, along with controls that cannot be detached. The Switch Lite cannot be connected to a TV or used as a tethered console. Unfortunately, Nintendo does not sell its consoles or games officially in India despite demand

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Further reading: Nintendo, Nintendo Switch
Jamshed Avari

Jamshed Avari has been working in tech journalism as a writer, editor and reviewer for over 13 years. He has reviewed hundreds of products ranging from smartphones and tablets to PC components and accessories, and has also written guides, feature articles, news and analyses. Going beyond simple ratings and specifications, he digs deep into how emerging products and services affect actual users, and what marks they leave on our cultural landscape. He's happiest when something new comes ...More

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