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How to charge the Nintendo Switch on the go

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How to play with power if you’re going mobile

Nintendo Switch USB-C charging port
Jeff Ramos / Polygon

One of the biggest draws of the Nintendo Switch is its ability to be just as compelling in your living room as it is in the palm of your hand.

If you’re anything like me, you’re likely going to have your Switch tucked in your bag every day. Of course, that lifestyle does come with some drawbacks.

As we covered in our Nintendo Switch review, you’re only going to get about two and a half to three hours of battery life playing games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That’s fine enough for most subway rides. But what about folks with longer commutes, or playing their Switch on a road trip? How can you charge the Nintendo Switch on the go? What do you need to pack in your bag every day?

To charge on the go, all you need is USB Type-A to Type-C cable. Of course, where you get the power is the big question.

Since most of us are surrounded by Type-A USB ports, you’ll be in luck once you have the cable. We’ve tested where to charge on:

  • a USB power outlet
  • a smartphone USB charger plugged into a power outlet
  • a laptop USB port
  • a portable USB charging brick

All of these were adequate enough to charge the Switch with just the cable alone. However, we found some especially interesting things when we tried to charge the Switch with a USB Type-C to Type-C connector on the latest MacBook Air.

If you’re going to charge on the go with a power brick, our friends at The Verge covered a very important point in their review: For intense games like Breath of the Wild, your USB charging brick probably won’t be able to replenish the battery at the same rate it drains. If you’re jamming on a game like Shovel Knight, you’ll probably be fine.

Remember: The Nintendo Switch has a 4,310 mAh battery and a 6.2-inch 720p screen. Three hours of Breath of the Wild is actually pretty adequate, all things considered. Either way, the dream of playing one of the-best reviewed games of all time on the go is great, and you won’t need much to keep your console charged.

Correction: The Switch does not come with a USB cable. We’ve edited the article to reflect this.