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JoyCon Charging and Battery Life

For whatever reason, I literally haven't thought of this before now, so I apologize if you have...

The Big N estimates that the Switch battery life clocks in between 2.5 - 6 hours depending on the game, and that a game like Zelda: BotW would run for about three hours.

That's just fine IMO, but I wondered:


  • If that estimate is based on playing with the JoyCons attached to the system
  • (and therefore actively charging)
  • If that estimate is based on playing with the JoyCons unattached and not using the system's battery to charge
  • If the amount of energy the JoyCons are pulling is significant enough to modify their estimates at all

I read that each JoyCon has a 525 mAh internal battery (for a grand total of 1050 mAh to charge when fully depleted), and that's not an insignificant amount of energy to be diverting.

If charging has a significant effect, will we see a trend of people on airplanes, buses, school hallways using their JoyCon grip with their Switch's kickstand extended just to get another 20-30 minutes of battery life out of their favorite game?

I saw a post recently (can't remember where, could have been an official Nintendo post, even) where it stated that the JoyCon aren't charging while attached to the Switch and playing the console in handheld mode.

So, basically, if you want to charge the JoyCon, but don'the own a Charging Grip, they must be attached to the Switch while it's in the dock.
Unfortunately, that also means, if you need to charge them and have no Charging Grip/Pro Controller at hand, you'll have to wait until they are charged via the dock to start playing again.

Whoa... Really? The Switch can't charge the JoyCons unless it's docked? That seems a bit short-sighted. So if you're out and about on a trip or something, you need to have the JoyCons attached while the Switch is plugged into the wall for them to get charged?

Seems like they're trying to make the Switch's battery last as long as possible. Maybe, that's the reason for the existence of the online voice chat app, as well.

You're probably right. There was A LOT of anger out there when speculation around the battery life came out. Perhaps this was a way to squeeze it so that they could plausibly claim 2.5-6 hours.

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