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How To Know if Nintendo Switch is Charging

Posted by Jamie on July 6, 2018

The Nintendo Switch has been a real hit and cements the idea that Nintendo likes to do things differently. The console and portable gaming machine has had rave reviews and has seen a flurry of improvements since launch. As a portable games machine, it uses batteries, so here is everything you need to know about charging the Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch comes with the Joy-Con handles, a dock to use as a traditional console, Joy-Con Grip to use as a controller and the leads and straps to make it all work. It’s a neat package that offers fantastic performance for a very reasonable price.

Battery life depends on what and how you’re playing. In handheld mode a single charge can last as little as two hours or as much as six. There is a battery icon in the top left of the screen which fairly accurately reflects its state.

Charging the Nintendo Switch

To charge, just place the Nintendo Switch into the Dock and plug it into the mains and it will recharge in around three hours. You can also plug the included charger directly into the Switch itself if you prefer to keep playing while charging.

As well as charging the Switch itself, you also have to remember to charge the Joy-Cons. They each hold around 20 hours of charge. Battery drains when they are used separately from the Switch. When used connected, they continuously charge from the main unit. There is currently no way to remotely charge the Joy-Cons and you cannot charge them separately from the Switch.

This means you have to manage battery life a little. What you don’t want to happen is for your Joy-Cons to run low on battery and your Switch to also run low on battery while using them in TV mode, tabletop mode or separately. You will have to connect the Joy-Cons to the Switch and then either plug it into the charger or stop playing for a while as it sits in the Dock.

The long life of the Joy-Con batteries means it is easy to forget just where you are in terms of power and recharging. As you would expect, there is an accessory for that. The Joy-Con Charging Grip. At $30, it isn’t cheap but does allow you to charge using USB-C.

Charging the Nintendo Switch while on the move

One of the benefits of being portable is that you’re not tethered to your living room. The downside to that is battery management becomes more of an issue. There is a way around it and that is to use a USB battery charger, or battery brick.

You will need a USB-C cable to connect the Switch to the battery pack though. There isn’t one included and the connection depends on the type of charger you get. Talking of chargers, a mobile phone booster will not work. It cannot supply enough voltage at enough of a rate to charge while playing. They will only work while the Switch is off.

To game and charge at the same time while on the move, you will need a high capacity charger like those made for laptops. You could also charge from a laptop, USB car charger or other USB power outlet.

If you use an external battery pack, it too may not be able to charge the battery when gaming. Testers have already found that when playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, a battery brick cannot keep up either so some kind of mains power or larger battery is the only way to keep playing Zelda while on the move.

According to those same testers, the Switch will last between 2.5 and 3 hours while playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild. That’s not bad considering how much power the amazing graphics and impressive gameplay demands.

Squeezing more time out of the Nintendo Switch battery

There are a couple of things you can do to get a little more life out of the Nintendo Switch battery, but not while playing Zelda.

  • Use the Switch in Detached mode while not mains charging. This stops the Switch battery continually charging the Joy-Cons which should provide a few minutes more life.
  • Turn on Airplane Mode. Airplane Mode, accessible through Settings turns off WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth. As long as you’re not playing multiplayer this should save battery too. If you want to use the Joy-Cons separately, you will need Bluetooth on.
  • Lower screen brightness as much as practical. This is a tip taken from smartphones. Go to Settings and Screen Brightness and experiment with settings. Lower the screen to the minimum for a little more battery life.

The Nintendo Switch is an awesome little console that does a lot within a tiny chassis. Now at least you should be able to play for a little longer between charges for longer gaming sessions.

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