Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is by far the most appealing launch game of the Nintendo Switch — at least going by our traffic numbers — and the game’s graphical performance gave us another interesting detail about the system: you’ll be able to play the game for around three hours between plugging the Switch back into the dock or a wall outlet, according to Nintendo.
This actually gives us some interesting context for the battery life of the Switch itself when you’re using it purely as a portable system. The company said that the battery life will be somewhere between 2.5 and 6.5 hours if you’re playing a game on the Switch’s screen in one of the portable modes, but that’s a pretty wide variance.
Knowing that Breath of the Wild will run for around three hours in full portable mode gives us a useful idea about what other games of the same graphical intensity will do to the system’s internal battery. We also know that the game’s resolution drops from 1080p to 780p when it’s removed from the dock and played on the included screen.
It’s likely that there are a number of variables here, but if a game is less taxing graphically than the newest Zelda, it’s likely you’ll get more than three hours out of the Switch. If it looks simpler, at least in terms of visuals, you’ll likely get some more. But three hours of usable battery life for a game of that visual quality running for three hours gives us an idea of just how limited our time out in the wild may be with the system.