The stamina of the Nintendo Switch has been something of a talking point ever since it was revealed that the console would last between three to six hours on a single charge. However, it's easy to forget that the days of a handheld running for weeks on a single set of AA batteries are well and truly over; the 3DS was hardly a stayer when it came to juice and the same can be said of other mobile devices, such as tablets and phones.
Having said that, a recent battery test by our friends over at Family Gamer TV has given some interesting results, with the Switch proving to be longer-lasting than the DSi, 3DS, 2DS, GBA SP and New 3DS, clocking a lifespan of 5 hours, 12 minutes under these particular test conditions: screen on, full brightness, no software running, all wireless connections (if any) enabled. Older handhelds like the Game Boy and GBA which don't have an operating system were left running a game.
Naturally there are some provisos here; games which really push the hardware are going to drain the battery faster, so don't expect to get the same kind of stamina when you're playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Here are the full results:
- DSi - 2.41hrs
- 3DS - 3.25hrs
- iPod Touch 2 - 3.39hrs
- 2DS - 3.55hrs
- Game Boy Advance 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
- Nintendo 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 Colour - 35.45hrs
What do you make of these results? Did you expect the Switch to perform worse, or better than these systems? Let us know by posting a comment below.
Damn. Didn'trealjse the Gameboy Colour battery was that long
Fair enough but home console gaming on the go probably works the processor into a sweat a lot more than other handheld devices. Still good though!
it doesn't make sense to test the devices without games running.
so the 3DS lasts 2.5hours in home menu?? well my 3ds lasts longer playing a game. stupid test
I mean, that's not bad.
good but that's without it running a game which Im assuming being a gaming machine is something your likely to do.....
Also, that's quite the impressive collection of devices there...
How old were the batteries in the other devices? Doesn't seem a fair comparison unless they're new.
I dont believe any results on that list...a gba sp lasting under 4 hours. yeh right. how old was this sp and how knackered was the battery. my gba sp used to last all day playing a game
Hardly a scientific test putting a brand new, hardly used system up against those old devices which have been used a lot.
You'd also need to turn them all on at the exact same time...
But the video was entertaining nonetheless. Sorry for being that guy
Not a great comparison. Some of these devices should have lasted longer, they must be knackered. Also, the Switch won't last 5 hours+ if you're playing a game. You're hardly going to sit at the startup screen. Still it was an entertaining video.
Edit: This is far more accurate.
It lasted 2 hours and 28 minutes. And that was with the game sitting idle with Link standing at the edge of a cliff. I'd imagine playing the game, using the buttons and control sticks would tire the battery out even faster.
I'm not too interested in the comparison but it's interesting to see what the switch battery can do.
I care more about the standby life, and from what I hear the Switch is much improved over the 3DS. I want to be able to sleep the system and come back a week later and still have a good amount of charge, like I can with the Vita.
@Malanta My GBA SP used to last ages but recently the battery lasts more like the few hours like they've mentioned above.
@Moon lol there's no reason they'd have to be turned on at the same time. They just need to be timed separately. So long as you start it up right when it's fully charged, you can time them weeks apart and it won't matter.
Game Boy Color rules!
Not all that surprising considering they'd already said it had a battery life of up to 6 hours... the problem is that this is not a practical test... this is basically a test of the maximum battery life, which is pointless... what we really need to know is the minimum battery life.
@wazlon @Malanta I haven't tested mine recently but back in the day it would last a week (of on and off playing) without needing to be charged; 4 hours is ludicrous.
I am more shocked to see the DSi battery Life = 2.41hrs !!!
@wazlon our GBA SP was an AGA-101 model with a brighter screen which accounts for the shorter life I think. But yes, other systems here were ones we've used a lot in the home.
@dres Maybe we need a new DSi.
@NowhereMan11 He means since creation. Testing a new machine vs a system whose battery is a decade or more old.
Skeptical scoff! Seriously though, that's surprising. I believe the Switch battery will be just fine. Next!
Sufficient. For instance, I never had a smart phone that managed to last longer than a couple of hours when actively used for playing, browsing, chatting.
Man, the brighter GBA SP didn't have that good of a battery, did it? I use a custom AGB-101 and, thanks to its AA batteries, it lasts me a lot longer than 4 hours. And that DSi is definitely busted.
I have no problems with the Switch's battery life. It's not great, but it's not bad either. Still need to see how long will it last with less demanding, more pick-up-and-play games.
Lol at first I was like 'whoa battery tech in the past was awesome!"
..... then I remembered NONE of those GB's had lit screens. and once I plugged in that goofy, practically useless "worm light".... battery plummets to like 2 hours.
That's great if I just wanted to stare at it and not play games.......
Man, I love video games!
So nice just seeing all those systems together
To be fair to the video all of them were in an idle state. You can churn through an iPad battery pretty quick if you're playing a 3D game. The 3DS in particular can churn through the battery when running a graphically intensive game with the 3D on. It was a like-for-like comparison and probably about as good as they could realistically do.
And in any case, if you're running a game like Shovel Knight or something? You're not going to churning through the battery that much more than you would be on the home menu. You'd probably get even more out of it than this test showed running a game like that if you had things like auto-brightness turned on.
Pretty much skewed in the Switch's favor, as it's the only rechargeable device with a brand new battery. This really doesn't prove anything other than "the Switch not dying for 5 hours if you fall asleep with it at the menu".
Good thing they did not include the Neo Geo Pocket Color in their test. They would still be waiting for the batteries to run dry.
I wish they made the switch thicker and could have used all that space for a big battery.
I dont get it. What does this test mean?
I know only that Switch plays BotW for 2,5 hours from battery, and my good old NDSL can provide me no less than 10 hours of PH or ST.
So if we just stare at the u.i screen we get a little over 5 hours in a single charge? YES!!!! That's sooo coo.. oh. K. Ok.
Pretty sure my gba sp lasts longer than that
Interesting, but hardly accurate let's be honest. As noted, some of them have been used to death that affects how long the battery lasts. Would be more accurate to have completely new models of each (and very costly) and have them running a game.
This is kind of useless without actual games running, still it's interesting I guess.
Nice to know but I'd rather know how long it lasts while playing a game.
Genuinely surprised at the results - achieving parity with the Vita is good enough in my books.
You know if you use Rayovac brand AA batteries instead of Duracell and Energizer, you'll actually get ten extra hours on top of that for the Game Boy instead of the pathetic 31 hours of Duracell. Here's the result of them AA batteries.
My sp lasts 5 hours. 7 hours of fun play game boy games
They should put it on the Switch Box.
"Lasts longer than other hand helds as long as you don't play a game!"
My game gear last 29 minutes
@Damo I will be probably the only one here pointing that out, but I noticed how you spelled GBC with "u"
That's with all setting turned on to its max capacity. It should last a little longer when the settings are adjusted
Well at least it has better battery life than my new 3DS XL.
MHGEN lasts for like an hour for me when playing online with 3D off and max brightness. And it's not a particularly old portable.
To me this only seems like an improvement, especially considering the massive power jump required to go from SD to HD.
The energy used is most likely immense given how long it also takes to charge the device relative to it actual battery life, when playing a game. I can only imagine how much the final cost would have gone up by or how it would have messed with the overall design of the console if they tried to use anything with a higher capacity. Or perhaps we'd get exploding battery issues lol
@SLIGEACH_EIRE I think the better wording would be you'll get AT THE LEAST 2.5 hours of gameplay, no matter what game or setting, coming from a full charge. They did this test with max brightness, Wifi on. Although I can imagine using these settings in many places (park bench or coffee shop on a sunny day) they make it seem like this is the best you'll get playing Zelda, when it's not. A Switch scenario that'll be common for me is playing in bed, brightness low and Wifi off, which should easily stretch the battery 1.5-2 hours
@Moon You're 100% right, though, and I was about to be "that guy" as well if nobody else had. I should hope that a brand new Switch not running a game would have a better battery than a 6-year-old iPad 2 battery that's (presumably) gone through many, many charging cycles.
If they all had brand new batteries in them, I'd be much more interested in the comparison, or if they all had a "demanding" game being played on them, but, alas.
Lol. Gameboy Color is the winner of battery life. XD
Nintendo were not lying when they said battery life will vary by game.
Doing tests on my PC, the amount of heat and noise generated is 100% dependent on what game I'm playing and what I'm doing in said game. The Witcher 3, with it's dense grasslands and detailed hair physics causes the GPU to rise to 80 degrees Celcius, and that's with the default fan curve. Less demanding games like Rocket League run at 59 degrees and a game like Sonic CD causes the GPU to idle at room tempertuare.
It's the same for mobile phones. Playing a video game like Grand Theft Auto causes the phone to burn in your hands and die in an hour, especially when explosives and the police are involved.
Even the developer on Minecraft Pocket Edition wrote that raising the render distance (how far you can see) is not good for the battery.
So where is the WII U gamepad? I don't like it that's its absend. I'm done with it already
This seems very strange to me... I can ensure you that my iPad Air runs way over 4 hours with screen on when I use it to play streaming music over wifi and connected to a blutooth speaker... After 4 hours, I still have about 80% battery left... So these tests seem very strange to me.
Quite remarkable results here.
Pretty much this, from the iPad Air 2s I have used, it staying on can give you 8 hours no problem. At at the store I work at, if the charging cables stop working, we usually don't worry about it and will fix it the next day before the store opens because they will last most of the working day, 8-10 hours of the screen constantly on with the demo running and that is also with people and kids coming in to use them and/or play games on them. From the ones I have used, i have basically done nothing but play games on it for 6+ hours.
The only way I can see them being this bad is if they are old iPads where the battery isn't at it's prime or it was never fully charged to begin with.
I was excited by the headline, but what a silly video. Testing the handhelds sitting at the menu screens, while the GPU and, likely the fan (which has been confirmed by previewers to run in handheld mode but in VERY quiet slow speeds) in Switch remains unused? That's a fairly meaningless test, unfortunately.
I believe various previewers have confirmed about 3 hours on Zelda, so Nintendo's numbers seem to be real world numbers. 3 hours isn't great, but it's at least launch-3ds "ok" for a game waaay more sophisticated than OOT 3D.
Thank goodness for external chargers.
Yeah. I have an ipad mini 2, and that thing will last forever on a single charge. I think this whole video is misleading. Quite frankly, this doesn't really tell us much about the Switch anyway; no one is going to just stare at the home screen for the entire time.
didn't nintendo say up to 6 hours (in game)? how will it ever reach that if it can't even do it when it's idle?
did he install new batteries in all of the older systems or is he really comparing brand new batteries to up to 10 year old or so batteries?!
@manu0 My sentiment exactly, just what I was going to say.
I would give the Switch 2.5-3 hours tops under the load of a game.
This test is absolutely worthless!
@manu0 This test was using full screen brightness. Manufacturer numbers usually specify "at default screen brightness." While Nintendo didn't specify, I know other devices including Vita specified the battery "at default brightness and volume, all wireless and BT disabled." That would account for the missing 50min vs max specification.
@GamePerson19 Yes but not much longer. 3 hours and that's from Nintendo themselves. That's probably with default settings too.
lol, I've got a Ipod touch that won't last more than a minute from full charge.
did he really check the charge status for the AA batteries with a wii remote? roflmao
@SLIGEACH_EIRE this is clearly the story Nintendolife should have run...instead of this worthless story.
What next Nintendo life a story of how the switch has the same battery life as other electrical devices when switched off!
Gameboy is still the best handheld.
Completely useless test, but entertaining to see how little drain old systems had. A lot of the older systems didn't have much going o to drain batteries. I willl say being able to buy AA batteries would be nice, but lord how many would you need to power a modern device for 5 minutes 😖
I won't echo what has already been said too much. I'm interested to see what the standby will be, I'm not even as pressed about minimum battery life, I have an anker 20000 battery that I keep on me for my phone, multiple ports so the switch has life support when needed.
@dew12333 I had same problem. Just change the battery. They cost about 10 pounds
Playing games on my iPhone or iPad Air (1), the battery doesn't last long. No matter what the usual naysayers say, the batterylife of the Switch really is impressive.
@Damo: Well if you ask me, I'd say the test conditions are pretty unrealistic. Who keeps the screen on on full brightness with all wireless connections enabled, without running a game?
Sure, this set of conditions should be included for comparison, but these are the test conditions that would've actually been interesting for me:
1. Screen off, lowest brightness setting, no software running, all wireless connections disabled
2. Screen on, lowest brightness setting, demanding game (Zelda) running, all wireless connections disabled
Yeah, this doesn't really count unless you're actually playing games on the thing. When the games are running it actually runs down the battery much faster depending on the game. With those older systems those times are probably very close to the actual gameplay time too, but I don't think that's the case with most modern portables.
@SLIGEACH_EIRE Yeah, and I also think with those older systems you'd actually get roughly the same battery time during gameplay as you do on the idle screen, certainly with the very old systems that didn't do much but play the games, so it's not really a fair comparison to put everything on idle and pretend that's the kind of time you're going to be able to use the system for before having to worry about the battery dying on you.
Pretty impressive. I'll be able to use the Switch as a mobile device for when friends and I meet at StreetPass meets (because we're keeping our 3DS' with us too). Plus there's always the ability to take your AC Adapter for charging on the go. Actually what I'll be doing is I bought a cheap USB-C cable online and will use it with a spare iPad adapter I have lying around.
Be interested to see the Wii U gamepad added to this list for comparison. It's not technically a portable, but I use it like one around the house a lot of the time.
@SLIGEACH_EIRE That test you are linking to was done with brightness and sound on max and wireless on. Other tests with more handheld mode friendly settings has shown the battery lasting just over 3 hours. Like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiBtZ34vuQg
No software running, so not a case that I'm interested in since I won't be sitting on the OS watching a plain screen a lot.
What a nonsense test.
When are we getting the article on breath of the wild wearing out the Switch battery in less then 3 hours?
@speedracer216 forgot all about that worm light 😆
Job well done.
I remember people being less than happy about the battery life of the 3DS. I guess now people have come to accept it.
Good news for those people that own a switch but not any software
@Crono1973 Well the thing is it's longer than the new 3DS battery life. At max lighting (with no 3D), it lasts about an hour when I play MHGen, which is quite frankly a less demanding game given that's not open world and the maps are fairly small as well (most enemies aren't synced either with other players, except large monsters). That and the game is still SD based rather than HD.
The Switch will give me about 2 to 3 times more gaming time in portable mode on a game that's CONSIDERABLY more demanding. If anything that's an improvement.
Not many people here have made apples to apples comparisons except the rare few like @memoryman3 with the PC comparisons.
Now, here is one of the good reasons I have to only get BoTW for Wii U, not for Switch. It was also originally designed for Wii U, keep in mind.
Besides, who wants to play a really super in depth surrealistic adventure game when out and about, anyway? Not me. Probably not a couple other people, too.
Long live Wii U!
"How U Will Play Next"
These comparisions aren't that important. What's more useful to know is how long the consoles last when running a game on max settings.
Not bad, I guess, but considering it's doing nothing, that's not great. If it hit double digits doing nothing I'd feel better, but energy costs money.
doesn't it depend on the game, isn't that what they said? Anyways, that's actually not bad at all, for it being a powerful portable.
Good news for a change!
I think they should test Ocarina of Time 3D on a New 3DS XL (no 3D) and max lighting and Breath of the Wild on Max lighting. I think one source reported 2.5 hours on max lighting for Breath of the Wild. I can tell you that I won't need to worry about battery life while playing BoTW as I am playing it on the system it was designed for and while I do have the higher capacity battery for the Gamepad, I probably won't need it since they cut the second screen features for parity with the Switch version.
@Ernest_The_Crab Your battery is bad.
Hold up, unless they put brand new batteries in each of these devices, it's not a fair comparison to gauge a many-years-old device against a brand new one. Batteries degrade over time.
Maybe because it had the power of a mouse, it was so underpowered
@icebear80 thank you for this. So much better than anything I've seen about battery life. This is a real scenario for me playing the game
@Sinton Completely agree. Naysayers don't take into account that playing a game that makes hard use of the video processor in the iphones or Android devices will drain the batteries. If I were to play Pokemon Go constantly battling gyms and catching pokemon on my G4, it would drain my new battery in matter of a few hours. The older battery it would overheat it to the point that the phone shut down to prevent damage.
So I think the battery life of the Switch goes along with other devices.
GBA was a monster, what a great handheld it was!
Wait, it beats the Game Boy SP, too?! And the iPad, and the PS Vita? That's amazing!
Time to rub it into some naysaying friends' faces.
Man, I don't remember that DSi battery being that bad
@dres The last time I used my DSi (about a year ago) the battery lasted ages, maybe 15-20 hours as a guess.
They needed to test the Game Gear, Nomad, TurboExpress, Lynx, Pocket and Pocket Color.
It is baffling how this can be called a comparison of any kind. It just shows a blatant lack of understanding of the scientific method and how to set up an experiment when so many things are compromised before the test even begins.
@wazlon Yeah, the DS Lite has much longer battery life than listed here.
@BaffleBlend It's BS.
@Crono1973 I miss the days of long battery life for handhelds
Having to charge all the time does get on my nerves.
The game is not sitting idle if he's staring over a cliff, it's rendering all the graphics in the draw distance which takes processing. I would say that actually burns the battery quicker.
Sitting idle would be a pause menu or pointing the camera towards a spot on the ground and not moving it. I still maintain the best way to test this is to actually play the game on a full charge until it dies. Not leaving it in one spot constantly, that doesnt imitate the user experience at all.
I'd put the standard Wii U GamePad at 3 - 4 hours and the extended battery at 6 - 8 hours.
Well this test was interesting and if anything affrims that some games on low settings might get close to that 6 hrs. Good news is the Switch comes apart easy (no nasty glue) and the battery is not hardwired. So it can be replaced in the future when extended life options become available.
Now the test that did the all high settings also affirms N's claims of about 3hr for Zelda. Zelda is not a MMO so do we need wifi for anything? Typically portable game players are used to playing with lower setting to maximize life so this is nothing new.
Friday my Zelda test will be no wifi, brightness one below max, sound with earbuds about 1/2 volume and if I get close to 4hrs I will be thrilled. I will be playing a lot of Setsuna as well and with ots retro style I bet that does even better.
I'll take all the battery I can get lol
the gameboy color is the nokia 3310 of handhelds.
That is actually really good when you consider the quality and detail of the graphics of games like Zelda. A three hour play time for a game like that is more than enough, most people don't play for hours at a time on the go anyway. As a gaming piece of tech the Switch is quite impressive if you don't only compare the specs to the competition because that is comparing Apples to Oranges, seeing as those systems are traditional systems and can't be taken on the go and as such have more room for beefier components under the hood.
Yeah, no. The DS and DS Lite lasted 20-30 hours when they were new. If the point of the test was to compare it to an old used system that you don't do anything to fix up, then I guess, but even then that's unfair because the Game Boys in the test got to use brand-new AAs manufactured this year. If you're gonna replace those corroded AAs you got from Circuit City 20 years ago, you should also replace the decade-old, easily consumer-replaceable batteries in the other systems.
My backlit SP lasts a lot longer than that at full brightness. Someone has some batteries in bad shape here.
I beg to differ from other's people's argument against the Family Gamer TV's test. The basis of the battery life test is a base test where all the portable consoles are under similar conditions.
Different games have different GPU requirements, and thus affects battery life. So, you can't make a console play a random game and test the battery life of each console. There are too many variables that comes into play that makes such a battery life test unfair. It's like having 3 people (Persons A, B, C) have them take different solutions that can boost their performance, and each person do a different task (A runs across the street; B runs up a flight of stairs; and C runs a half-marathon).
You can test different smartphones playing the same game, that's a good workaround for testing battery life. But because every game on a console is different, and there's no 2 consoles with the exact game (with the exception of Virtual Consoles) the conditions are unfair to perform a test.
My 3ds lasts longer while playing a game lol
@SLIGEACH_EIRE - I see you used a very specific method to arrive at your conclusion: you found the video that supported the most negative conclusion, and decided beforehand that it would be absolute authority.
@SMEXIZELDAMAN - Like me, you probably don't put your system up to full brightness. Middle or a step or two down from max can really save battery life, and honestly in most cases it's easier on my eyes.
@Action51 It lasts 3 hours with default settings according to Nintendo, so it's not much better. And the video says that everything is on max, wi-fi on, so people aren't being misled.
@dres That's the problem with the whole thing. Old batteries in everything but the Switch. The New 3DS XL would beat it.
Twenty years ago, we needed 20+ hour batteries to last us on long car or plane rides.
Fifteen years ago, when rechargeable batteries and a charging cord first emerged for Game Boy Advance SP, we still needed long battery lives because outlets weren't common in cars, buses, trains, and planes.
Today, normal outlets are very common in all those long-distance transit options. 2 hours between charging – with the screen on – is really normal. Sleep mode extends the life of the Switch by huge amounts. Your Switch will last in sleep mode while you're at work, and when you get on the train to return home it will have plenty of time left. And if you need an additional hour of charge, I'm sure you'll find an outlet. Just always bring your charging chord with you. It's not that hard.
Lasts longer than my Vita...works for me. I won't even use it that long with my schedule anyway.
@Action51 min brightness always on all my devices and powersaver settings when applicable. Even min brightness is perfectly fine in most settings except outside in the sun. Idk why devices these days come with such brightness!
Tap here to load 121 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...