Just last week, Nintendo finally announced the Switch Lite—a cheaper and more portable version of the classic Switch but without the original’s TV docking support. However, it seems the Switch Lite wasn’t the only hardware upgrade Nintendo had planned, because now Nintendo has announced a new model for the standard Switch with some refreshed components and nearly double the battery life.
The news was first revealed by Nintendo Japan’s Twitter account which points back to a listing on Nintendo’s Japanese homepage. While details regarding what Nintendo specifically changed for this new Switch model are somewhat sparse, if Nintendo’s recent FCC filing is any indication, this new version could include an updated version of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip, new flash memory modules, and a revamped circuit board.
[任天堂HP]バッテリー持続時間が長くなったNintendo Switchの新モデルに関するお知らせを掲載しました。 https://t.co/ONuBgOIrd2
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) July 17, 2019
Either way, it seems these new components have had a positive influence on the Switch’s battery life. On Nintendo’s Japanese website, the company claims that the refreshed Switch can now last between 4.5 to 9 hours on a single charge, up from 2.5 to 6.5 hours for the original Switch.
That alone is a pretty serious increase, but it gets even better when you see that Nintendo says when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in handheld mode (which is notorious for sucking up a lot of juice), the new Switch should last 5.5 hours, as opposed to just 3 hours for the previous model, which is nearly twice as long.
Unfortunately, for anyone considering buying a refreshed Switch to get that extra battery, differentiating between the old and new models prior to purchase may be somewhat difficult. On Nintendo’s website, the new model’s retail packaging doesn’t appear to contain any references to updated hardware or longer battery life, which means you might need to check the serial/revision number listed on the device itself.
Here’s Nintendo’s official battery life comparison chart taken from the Nintendo Japan website.Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Nintendo Japan)
Alternatively, since Nintendo has specified that the upcoming special edition Dragon Quest X1 S Switch is also one of the new models with extended battery life, you could eliminate the guesswork and just get that variant. And if you’re not desperate for a Switch with longer battery life right now, you could wait for retailers to sell through their existing stock, as this new Switch model looks it’s meant to replace the older Switch hardware going forward.
So does this updated Switch model suggest Nintendo might release a Switch Pro later this year too? Sadly no, as during an interview with CNET last week, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said the Switch Lite would be the “only new Nintendo Switch hardware this holiday.” Though based on the release of this updated Switch, there seems to be a little wiggle room when it comes to Nintendo’s definition of “new hardware.”
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for more info on the new Switch model and its availability. We’ll update the story as soon as we hear back.