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How does the Nintendo Switch battery life compare to other portable devices?

Published Feb 28th, 2017 5:10PM EST
Nintendo Switch battery life
Image: WITTEK/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

From the day it was unveiled, one of the most pressing concerns regarding the Nintendo Switch has been its battery life. If it’s supposed to double as a home console and a console you can take with you, it needs to last, but Nintendo doesn’t always have the best track record when it comes to battery life for portable devices.

In order to see where the Nintendo Switch stacked up against the competition, FamilyGamerTV conducted a massive battery test featuring the Switch and over a dozen other devices. The results might surprise you.

For this test, FamilyGamerTV left all twenty devices on their respective menu screens for as many hours as they would last. No apps or games are run on any of the devices — this is just how long each of them will last while idling at the main menu. Believe it or not, the Nintendo Switch comes in seventh place:

Here are the full results from the comprehensive battery test:

  • DSi – 2.41hrs
  • 3DS – 3.25hrs
  • iPod Touch 2 – 3.39hrs
  • 2DS – 3.55hrs
  • GBA SP – 3.59hrs
  • iPad 2 – 4.00hrs
  • iPad Air – 4.04hrs
  • New 3DS – 4.04hrs
  • iPod Touch 3 – 4.13hrs
  • DS Lite – 4.51hrs
  • PSP – 4.56hrs
  • GBA Micro – 4.57hrs
  • Vita – 5.01hrs
  • Switch – 5.12hrs
  • iPad Mini 2 – 5.39hrs
  • DS – 6.51hrs
  • New 3DS XL Mugen Battery – 15.02hrs
  • GBA – 29.32hrs
  • Game Boy – 31.12hrs
  • Game Boy Color – 35.45hrs

Your results will undoubtedly vary while playing games on the Switch (Nintendo says it should survive around three hours with Zelda, which is about what I got out of it in my time with the game), but it can last quite some time while idling, even with the screen on. As an aside, I left my fully-charged Switch sitting on my bedside table in sleep mode overnight and the battery had hardly dropped a percentage when I woke up.

The Nintendo Switch launches this Friday, March 3rd for $299.99. If you forget to preorder a Switch, you might still have a chance to grab one on launch day at Target or Best Buy.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.