The Switch was the first Nintendo console I bought at launch. Almost four years later, significantly better days can be seen, which I wouldn’t mind if it could survive out of the dock for more than a few days at a time.
Two things make me think back to the Switch’s terrible battery life. The first is that there is talk of a new Switch Pro model this week Nintendo made no comment on this during his last investor call. The second is that I played a couple Cyber Shadow at the counter (by the way, that’s very good), and raging against the low battery warning, is really killing my mood. A Switch Pro with better graphics would be fine, but I really want one that packs the weighty form factor of the current base model with battery and power settings so my handheld doesn’t have a 50/50 chance of juice whenever I decide to pick it up and play again. Apparently I am Not alone.
The start button should have an average battery life of two to six hours, which is a minor thing compared to four to nine of the revised 2019 model. But I swear it’s gotten much, much worse the years. Now I’m fortunate enough to only have a few hours to spare, even with less intense games like Cyber Shadow. It doesn’t look much better in sleep mode. I don’t play marathon games in handheld mode, but I start and stop a ton all week, lifting my switch here and there for a few moments between cooking, cleaning or stopping my year-long game.old from breaking everything in the house. I could try turning the console off completely, but it’s clear by how tedious this process is that Nintendo doesn’t want that.
Now I mostly bring the device out of sleep mode only to find that the battery is almost empty in the meantime. The Switch has never been in sleep mode as energy efficient as the PS Vita, but sure it can take more than 48 hours on a half charge. Here’s my most common use case when we’re embarking on a year of work from home and self-quarantine during the pandemic: I unplug my switch from the charger, play for an hour or two, split between work commitments and naps with toddlers, and then get crowded with all the other things for which I hardly have time during the day, but which keep life and a feeling of normalcy in our house. Before I know one day, two, maybe even three, will have passed. I didn’t reconnect my switch because, like many people, I forgot to do things, especially during these times.
What could be an otherwise minor gripe so late in the life of a console is compounded by all of the other little ways the Switch has worn and torn apart over the past four years. The screen will scratch if you repeatedly slide it in and out of the Switch dock. The Joy-Cons still occasionally have drift or sync issues, or the problem that they just don’t feel good when actually being used. The WiFi receiver also seems to be connected. If I am more than 10 feet from the router, online ability and download speed will stall. The Switch is fantastic, but it didn’t hold up as well as I hoped it would.
That brings us to the Switch Pro, the updated model that may or may not come out later this year and may not This includes things like 4K graphics. However, I would settle for one that simply has a more efficient battery and hibernation mode that actually puts the console to rest. A Switch Pro sounds like it needs to be bigger, better, and more powerful, but we’re in the age of console upgrades that work more like smartphones. I’d settle for a whole bunch of new switches, each tweaking a different function, similar to how Nintendo used Bananas with SKUs for DS (DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL) and 3DS (3DS XL, New 3DS, New) and 3DS XL and 2DS). Perhaps one is more expensive, more powerful, and specializes in enhancing the docked console experience. Maybe someone else will maximize the size of the screen. I’ll take the one that’s still on and let me finish a new level a week later.