After announcing the Nintendo Switch Lite, Nintendo quietly released a revision of the standard Switch model, dubbed simply the new Nintendo Switch. While not quite the long-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro model, the new Nintendo Switch does bring a handful of upgrades to the original. The new Nintendo Switch battery life is the console’s main draw, as it’s greatly improved compared to the original Switch’s because of a brand new Tegra chip. There also seems to be a few other subtle differences between the new model and the original. In this guide, we’ll run through all the new Nintendo Switch differences, providing you with a comprehensive new Nintendo Switch buying guide.
What’s the difference between the new and old Nintendo Switch?
Since the new Nintendo Switch is technically just a revision of the original Switch model, most of the differences between this and the old model are pretty minor. That is, except for the battery life, which is vastly improved over the original model. We’ll cover the details on that and other changes below.
Battery life & temperature
Likely the main reason most fans will make the decision to pick up a new Nintendo Switch is the battery life. The new Nintendo Switch has significantly better battery life than the original Switch model, ranging from 4.5 to nine hours compared to the original’s 2.5 to 6.5 hours, according to Nintendo. While battery life depends on the games and apps in use, Nintendo says the new version’s battery will last about 5.5 hours while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — a 2.5-hour improvement over the original Switch’s approximate 3-hour Breath of the Wild play sessions. Breath of the Wild is one of the Switch’s more demanding games, so this increase is pretty impressive.
The battery life increase comes thanks to a new version of Nintendo’s custom Nvidia Tegra chip, which allows for more efficient power use. Since there’s no new, larger battery, there’s no size or weight difference between the new Nintendo Switch and the old one. In theory, the new chip should also improve the Switch’s temperature regulation capabilities.
Screen color & brightness
Another difference between the new Nintendo Switch and the old is the system’s built-in screen. In a video by YouTuber Kevin Kenson, color expert Wesley Knapp analyzed each model’s screen and found that the new Nintendo Switch screen is brighter than the old model and has warmer tones. According to Knapp, the new Switch screen’s brightness is just around the threshold for screen visibility in direct sunlight. Knapp also said the new Switch screen’s warmer tone brings the color closer to an accurate depiction of color (“what the developers actually meant for you to see”) than the old Switch.
Rumors earlier this month seemed to indicate a new Switch model could be receiving a new Sharp display, but the new Switch’s screen isn’t that. The Sharp screen will most likely appear in something like the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro.
As of yet, the new Nintendo Switch doesn’t appear to have any kind of increased performance over the old Switch. GameXplain’s BrainChild conducted an in-depth analysis of each system’s framerate, and found no significant difference between the two models’ performance.
How do I tell if I’m getting the new Nintendo Switch?
Despite Nintendo not officially referring to the new Nintendo Switch as a new Switch model, there are a few easy ways to make sure you’re getting the new Nintendo Switch version without even turning them on.
The most obvious difference between the old Switch and the new is the box. Old Switch consoles come in a white box with red accents, but the new Nintendo Switch boxes are completely red. You can see a comparison of the two in the picture at the beginning of this section (left: new Switch; right: old Switch).
If you’re buying the new Switch from a third-party seller that doesn’t have the complete box, you can look to the serial number for verification of the new model. Original Switch consoles have serial numbers that begin with “XAW,” while new Nintendo Switch models have serial numbers that begin with “XKW.”
If the box is missing altogether, you can make sure you’re not being duped into buying the old Switch by checking the model number, located on the bottom of the console’s back side. Old Switch consoles have the model number “HAC-001,” while new ones have the model number “HAC-001-01.” We found at least one retailer that provides the model codes “HADSKABAA” for the new Switch and “HACSKABAA” for the old Switch, as well.
Where can I buy the new Nintendo Switch?
While it was initially difficult to find the new Nintendo Switch online, some online stores like Amazon and Best Buy appear to have separate listings for both the new Switch and the old Switch. If you’re concerned about receiving the wrong version, check the retailer’s listing for any of the information we covered in the “How do I tell if it’s the new Nintendo Switch?” section above.
If you’re still concerned, it might be best just to head into a local retailer to see the box for yourself. Many are reporting that retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and GameStop are stocking the “Switch V2” model now, so you’ll probably be able to find one if you have a look around.
Are there any new Nintendo Switch discounts?
While not specifically aimed at the new Nintendo Switch model, GameStop is currently running a trade-in deal that could significantly reduce the price of the new model. From August 12 to September 15, those who trade any Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch console will get $25 extra store credit. Since the store credit trade-in value of a regular Switch console is currently $200, that means you could get $225 credit for trading in a Switch, reducing the cost of a new Nintendo Switch model to just $75.
For more Nintendo Switch, check out our Nintendo Switch Lite pre-order guide.