Nintendo says Switch’s battery lasts between 2.5 hours and 6 hours in handheld mode, compared to 3.5 and 7 hours for 3DS XL, depending on the application running, with Zelda pegged at 3 hours.
Stevivor has put that to the test and found it to be spot on. Playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in handheld mode with the default brightness and volume and wi-fi enable, our Switch lasted for 3 hours and 6 minutes before entering sleep mode. There were notifications of low battery at 15 percent and 5 percent, and then a warning to connect to power at 1 percent.
Switch puts itself into sleep mode before the battery dies completely, so unsaved gameplay can be recovered if it’s connected to power relatively soon. It took a few minutes of charging in the dock before it could wake up in TV mode, but resumed where I had left off, which was slightly after my most recent save.
Looking at the slider, we’d estimate the default brightness is about 70 percent, and it’s more than adequate under normal circumstances. You could easily take it down a notch or two to increase battery life, and disable wi-fi.
We also tested Switch’s standby mode when it’s outside the dock, which wakes as soon as you hit a button as fast as my iPhone 6. Leaving Switch in sleep mode for 12 hours, it only drained 1% of the battery. It will last even longer with a full shutdown, but that’s not really necessary between the commute to and from work with such minimal standby usage.
Switch then takes just over 3 hours to fully charge in sleep mode, about 3 hours and 10 minutes to be precise — almost identical to the Zelda playtime in handheld mode.