Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
The new hardware revision of the Nintendo Switch is now making its way to retail stores. It features a newer, more efficient CPU than the original launch console, which results in significantly longer battery life ranging between 4.5 and nine hours. (The original Switch can last between 2.5 and 6.5 hours.)
Otherwise, the Nintendo Switch “v2” — not to be confused with the upcoming Switch Lite — hasn’t changed much: it’s got the same design and same screen. That means there’s no easy way to distinguish the new, longer-lasting model from the original unless you know where to look and what to look for.
Look at the box
The easiest way to spot the new Switch is its packaging. The box for the original hardware has a white background, but this time Nintendo went with red. So if you’re trying to hunt down a new unit at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or someplace else, that’s the most obvious tell that you’ve found one.
This is the box you should be looking for.
Another difference from the old packaging is that there’s no longer a hand placing the Switch into its dock. Instead, you’ll notice that one of the Joy-Con controllers is partially sticking out from the grip. And both the Joy-Con grip and TV have switched sides; on the previous box they were to the Switch’s left; now they’re to the right.
Check the serial number
If you’re buying a used Switch, there might not be any box to examine. So another way of verifying that it’s the newer hardware model is by glancing at the serial number. If it starts with XKW, that’s the new one. Anything else (such as XAW), and you’re holding an original-release Switch. The serial number can be found on the bottom of the Switch console.
Will I get the newer one if I order online?
Maybe, but there are no guarantees. Retailers still have plenty of inventory of the older Switch, and that’ll likely be true for some time. There’s nothing wrong with that model, so they’re going to keep selling it. If you want the more efficient processor and longer battery life, right now your best bet is heading to a local retail store.
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