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Does Nintendo Switch Lite have better battery life than the original?

Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite (Image credit: Nintendo)

Does Nintendo Switch Lite have better battery life than the original?

Best answer: This is a tricky answer. Yes, the Nintendo Switch Lite has a longer-lasting battery than the original Switch. However, the Switch Lite doesn't last as long as the newer Switch version that released earlier this year. The Switch Lite lasts anywhere from three to seven hours, depending on your brightness settings and the game you're playing.On the go: Nintendo Switch Lite (opens in new tab) ($200 at Amazon)Hybrid hero: Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) ($298 at Amazon)

What is the Nintendo Switch Lite?

It's a smaller, less expensive version of the original Nintendo Switch that releases on September 20, 2019. Unlike the larger version, this one can only be used in handheld mode. It's significantly smaller having a 5.5-inch screen compared to the original's 6.2-inch screen. It uses the same game cartridges and works with several of the same accessories as the original. What's more, the smaller Switch Lite comes in three fun colors: yellow, gray, and turquoise.

Nintendo Switch versions

Earlier this year Nintendo released a newer version of the original Nintendo Switch that was almost identical in every way except that it featured extra-long battery life. The original Switch only runs from 2.5 to 5.5 hours, but the newer Switch, often called the Switch V2, has a far more impressive battery life of 4.5 to 9 hours. Despite the increased battery life of the Switch V2, both devices cost the same. The Switch V2 has slowly been replacing the original gaming system at online and physical retailers. So, asking to compare the Switch Lite to the larger Switch can be kind of confusing.

Nintendo Switch Lite battery life

So when we compare battery life against the Switch Lite, the order for longest-lasting gaming system goes Switch V2 first, Switch Lite second, and then original Switch last. Now, although the Switch Lite isn't the longest-lasting, it still lasts 3 to 7 hours. To get a better idea of the battery differences, Nintendo states that playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the original console will make the battery run out in three hours. Playing the same game on the Switch Lite should last for four hours, and finally, playing the same game on the Switch V2 should last about five and a half hours. While the Switch Lite doesn't have the longest battery of the three, its small size and decent battery life make it a great companion for road trips and on-the-go play.

Two people playing Nintendo Switch Lite

Two people playing Nintendo Switch Lite (Image credit: Nintendo)

There are a few different factors for determining how long your Switch Lite will last. Firstly, if you have your screen brightness turned down as low as possible, the system will last a lot longer. However, this isn't always doable if you're in a bright sunlit area. Another factor is the game you're playing. Some games draw more power than others, so you'll find you have less battery life when playing certain games. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about that. Lastly, when possible, put your Switch into Airplane Mode and that ought to save you some battery life.

The trade-off

Even though the Switch Lite lasts longer than the original, it has a few limitations. As previously mentioned, you'll only be able to play it in handheld mode. It doesn't support TV docking or tabletop play. Heck, it doesn't even have a kickstand. The controllers on the mini Switch don't support HD rumble or motion controls, and there is no IR Motion Camera. So, gameplay won't feel quite as immersive. But, by removing a lot of these elements and making the device smaller, Nintendo can sell this gaming system for $100 cheaper than the original console.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.