When you purchase a Nintendo Switch, it comes with two Joy-Con attachments. These can be used as controllers in handheld mode, or when removed they can be utilized in table top or TV mode. As we saw during the Nintendo Switch Presentation, there’s a lot of technology packed into these small controllers. They’ve got accelerometers and gyro sensors. The right Joy-Con has a Motion IR Camera and NFC sensor. Both use Bluetooth 3.0 for communication and both feature HD Rumble, an enhanced vibration that allows users to actually feel objects in 3D space.
With all of this going on in such a tiny package, battery life was instantly a concern. It turns out that each Joy-Con has 20 hours of use when fully charged. When they are placed on the sides of the Nintendo Switch they can draw power from the tablet portion to recharge. They can also be charged from the Joy-Con Charge Grip if it’s hooked up to a USB power source. Simply returning the Joy-Cons to the Switch while docked when done playing will guarantee a full charge the next time you decide to use the system. If they are completely drained, they will take up to 3 hours and 30 minutes to recharge.
The Switch screen has up to 6.5 hours of battery life, but this will vary greatly depending on brightness of screen and the intensity of the game. Nintendo estimates that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for approximately 3 hours on a full charge. This battery life range is slightly better than the original Nintendo 3DS when it launched, and about the same or slightly better than the PlayStation Vita.
If you end up picking up a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, it has the best battery life of anything in the Switch ecosystem. Fully charged it can go for 40 hours without needing to be plugged in.