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New Nintendo Switch technical analysis backs up better battery life claim

The new X1 chip even gives some performance improvements

Photo of the packaging for the revised Nintendo Switch model, showing a docked Switch and controller in front of a television, with a red background
The revised Nintendo Switch announced July 17, 2019, in its new packaging.
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Nintendo’s revision of the Switch delivers “tremendous” power savings and even small performance gains, according to Digital Foundry’s analysis of the new hardware.

Though Nintendo is barely marketing it as a model revision, focusing more on the upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite, the improvements are big enough to make it preferable to the 2017 console’s original configurations, Digital Foundry says. Battery life is almost doubled, to five hours at 50 percent screen brightness and four hours, 18 minutes at full brightness, over the launch unit. That aligns with estimates Nintendo gave when it announced the Switch revision in July.

This, according to Digital Foundry’s analysis, is because the updated Tegra X1 processor consumes significantly less power. It’s more than adequate compared to the OG Switch, whose chip was manufactured with a “stepping stone” process used mainly by mobile devices and not consoles.

As for performance, though Nintendo is not promising any processing gains over the existing model, Digital Foundry still found some slight improvements which it attributes to a new memory configuration. Tests on Mortal Kombat 11 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild showed occasional framerate gains, even if Nintendo isn’t using the faster GPU clocks Nvidia advertises for the new Tegra X1.

Last week, Nintendo began offering exchanges for old Switch models purchased after July 17, 2019. Polygon confirmed these exchanges with Nintendo customer service representatives, though the offer only applies to the US and Canada. The new version is in stores now for $299.99. Buyers should be looking for models with the number HAC-001(-01). We drew up a guide to help you make sure you’re getting the newest one, whether shopping online or in a store.

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