Nintendo confirmed many long-standing rumors last week when they announced the existence and upcoming release of the Nintendo Switch Lite. This handheld-only model comes in at a lower price point and slightly improved battery life than the original Nintendo Switch. A more powerful version of the Switch is rumored, as well, but instead of announcing major changes, Nintendo quietly (almost silently) announced a new Switch with improved battery life and not much else.
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On Nintendo’s model comparison page, a new original Switch model was placed under the original. HAC-001(-01) will be a whole new SKU with serial numbers beginning in XKW instead of the original XAW. The different serial number will seemingly be the only external difference between the new model and the old. The d-pad that’s coming with the Nintendo Switch Lite will not make it to the new version, presumably because playing with a single Joy-Con in docked mode necessitates distinct buttons like in the original version.
How’s the improved battery? Pretty nice, actually. The official comparison says the original XAW carries a 2.5 to 6.5 hour battery life, while the updated XKW model will provide 4.5 to 9 hours. This carries a 2.5 hour improvement when playing battery draining juggernauts like Breath of the Wild. You can play that game for three hours on the original and a whopping 5.5 hours on the upgrade. That’s a heck of a road trip or flight without needing a charge.
Even the upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite doesn’t have as long-lasting a battery, peaking at 7 hours and providing roughly 4 hours of a power-intensive game like Breath of the Wild. If you’re holding onto hope that there’ll be a new Nintendo Switch “Pro” announced, maybe don’t hold your breath. This kind of battery improvement doesn’t suggest (to me, at least) that there’s an even beefier version just around the corner.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 17, 2019
There’s no release date yet for the XKW model, but Nintendo is releasing two new Joy-Con combinations in October. That purple/orange combination is straight out of a Nickelodeon fever dream from 1991 and I’m into it.