Nintendo just announced the new Switch Lite, a smaller and more affordable handheld-only version of the original Switch console. Nintendo is also making some improvements to the original Switch model that will help extend the console’s battery life by about two hours.
Anyone looking to pick up the version of the Nintendo Switch with the increased battery power will have to check for the new bright red packaging. Additionally, buyers can check for a model number reading “HAC-001(-01)” and a serial number beginning with “XKW.” The original Switch models have serial numbers that begin with “XAW.”
According to Nintendo’s “Compare Systems” page on their site, the updated Switch can run a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for about five and a half hours, while the original model can sustain the battery for three. Of course, battery is dependent on the game. Nintendo says that the updated Switch can generally play games off the battery power in a range between four and a half to nine hours, compared to the original’s battery life of two and a half to six and a half hours on average. The recently revealed Switch Lite will have an expected battery life between three and seven hours on average (and about four for Breath of the Wild.)
Nintendo recently filed a “Class II Permissions Change” with the FCC to make some relatively minor adjustments to the hardware in the Nintendo Switch console, without having to register it as a new product or as a “Switch 2.” This update to the original Switch model is not the rumored “Switch Pro” model that was rumored to be in the works and speculated to release around the same time as a Switch with a lower entry point cost.
On their site, Nintendo is only promising an extension to the battery life with the “XKW” series Switch consoles, and not suggesting that there’s going to be a significant performance difference between the two versions. The FCC listing stated the updated Switch would house a slightly different processor and flash storage, but didn’t make mention of a new battery. Nintendo seems to be sticking with the standard Switch’s 4310mAh battery, and the enhanced battery life is due to the new Mariko version of its Tegra chip. The same chip will also be used in the Lite handheld version of the Switch.
The updated Nintendo Switch with increased battery life will launch in Japan in late August and be available in the US this September, according to a statement Nintendo game to Eurogamer. The price will be the same at the current original Switch at $299.99. Nintendo is also offering some new Joy-Con colors starting October 4th in Blue/Neon Yellow and Neon Purple/Neon Orange. Joy-Cons are compatible with the Switch Lite but have to be purchased separately, and these new colors will retail for $79.99.