Some of us are going to be new Nintendo Switch parents by the end of the week, and like all parents, we worry about our children. Specifically, we're concerned about the Switch's battery life. During Nintendo's Switch presentation on January 13, we learned the Switch's battery has enough juice to last between two and five hours. That's … vague.
The Switch obviously guzzles more energy while playing a huge open-world game like Zelda: Breath of the Wild than it does while idling on its starting screen menu. But when it's put through its paces, the Switch's battery does better than you think it might.
Family Gamer turned on its Switch and let it run without interruption next to pretty much every handheld device you can think of, barring the N-Gage (seriously though, check out that spread!). The Switch blacked out at 5.12 hours, comparable to the PS Vita (5.01) and iPad Mini 2 (5.39). By the way, the Game Boy Color is the champion of battery conservation (35.45 hours).
Family Gamer's test should be taken with some salt, since it doesn't disclose how old each of its devices are. There aren't any old Switches in the wild yet, and lithium-ion batteries sometimes hold less of a charge as they age.
GameXplain conduced a serious acid test of the Switch's battery last week when it left Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned up to max. Wi-fi was turned on, screen brightness was cranked way up, volume was maxed out – the works. The taxed Switch lasted for two hours and 28 minutes before it dropped into sleep mode (which keeps your progress from getting wiped by a drained battery).
That's not too bad, considering the GameXplain crew specifically set out to determine how long the Switch's battery would last when put through its worst paces. That said, the Switch's battery appears to be slow to charge. GameXplain docked Zelda and continued to play after their test, and it took 30 minutes for the Switch to reach a 10% charge.
Looks like the Switch's AC adaptor is just going to have to be one more cord to lug around when you travel. Hey tech wizard-inventors of the world, we're ready for widespread wireless charging whenever you are.