Yesterday Nintendo released its list of Black Friday bargains in the US, with $20 off the price of a whole bunch of quality games and a Switch console bundle that throws in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 'free' for the price of the standard console. Not a bad deal on the face of it, although after checking the small print (as pointed out by analyst Daniel Ahmad on Twitter), the console included in this deal is in fact the older model with a rather less impressive battery life.
It seems that Nintendo is looking to shift remaining inventory of the HAC-001 version of the console. For anyone who has forgotten, Nintendo quietly put out a revised version of the OG Switch (different from the Switch Lite, of course) which filtered into stores throughout the summer. It featured an updated chip which improves power efficiency and increases battery life substantially from 2.5-6.5 hours (depending on the game) to a not-unimpressive 4.5-9 hours. That's quite a jump for a system which is otherwise cosmetically identical.
To be fair, any claims that Nintendo is trying to hoodwink people into buying the 'bad' Switch are a little exaggerated. The information was included in the original press release, and the packaging does state the model number and estimated battery life on the front along the bottom left (check out the lead image above). Still, it highlights the importance of reading the small print and following those asterisks when they crop up, as in the press release:
*Includes original Nintendo Switch model HAC-001. Battery performance ranges from 2.5 to 6.5 hours. For more information, see support.nintendo.com/switch/battery.
If you're at all unsure about the minor differences between models or how to spot the newer Switch model with the better battery life, our guide breaks down every last detail. Suffice it to say that while anyone who plays primarily on the TV probably wouldn't care, people planning to play their Switch primarily in portable mode will benefit greatly from the increased battery life. With that in mind, Nintendo's Black Friday 2019 console bundle isn't quite the deal it first appears to be, so make sure you do your homework if you're in the market for a Switch this November.
Would you be bothered if you bought the 'old' version of the Switch by accident? Does that added battery performance mean enough to you? Let us know below.