Ahead of Nintendo maybe finally releasing a new Nintendo Switch model, some of you might have gotten your hands on a refreshed model of the popular home console. This newer model, the Nintendo Switch HAC-001(-01), has already been made available since August 2019, though stock at your nearest retailer may vary. For those in the Southeast Asian region, you can check here for retailers and see if they carry the console.
The Nintendo Switch HAC-001(-01) compared to the first release model, HAC-001, looks basically the same on the outside. You can check the model number of your own console by flipping it to the back and reading the tiny text under the logo. It’s like spotting the difference, except the difference is like the stray pixels you came across while changing colour layers in your art program of choice.
Putting them side by side, the newer model has a warmer tint to its screen, but honestly, without the comparison, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you’re more sensitive to slight changes in lighting. By warmer tint, I mean like a somewhat yellowish tint. Like mentioned though, you most likely won’t be picking up on this subtle difference.
The packaging for the HAC-001(-01) will be the mostly red box as well, like the one you see in the feature image. If you would really like to make sure, your retailer should be able to tell you what model they carry, and if need be, you can check its model number as highlighted in the image above.
The biggest difference between the Nintendo Switch HAC-001(-01) and HAC-001 is definitely its battery. It’s even the only difference that is officially noted on Nintendo’s tech specs for the currently available consoles, boasting an approximate 4.5 to 9 hours battery life compared to the initial model’s 2.5 to 6.5 hours expected lasting power.
As for myself, a quick test using Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity as a benchmark to run for 40 minutes from 100% battery, the HAC-001 went to 78%, while the HAC-001(-01) was left at 88%. I was honestly quite surprised that even in such a short period, the difference was pretty marked. To be fair, my HAC-001 is also approaching 3 years old, and the console itself is almost 4 years old.
Simply put, once the whole COVID-19 thing is done, you’d want the HAC-001(-01) model to get you through your daily commute and not have to hustle for a plug point or bringing along a power bank, provided you haven’t already snagged yourself a totally brand new Switch from the future. Good for those super lengthy RPGs you finally have time to play (looking at you, Witcher 3, Xenoblade, and co.).
The SoC, Nand Memory and CPU Board have been updated, but the differences haven’t been so large that Nintendo feels worth noting on their official tech specs listing, and anecdotally, loading times haven’t been drastically any faster for games. The HAC-001(-01) will still be dropping some frames when in handheld mode – like how it was for me on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – so regarding vastly improved performance, that will be for an overhauled Switch (hopefully soon, at this time of writing).
If you’re worried about Joy-con drift, it doesn’t have that right out of the box. Personally, my by-now elderly HAC-001 didn’t experience any drift until many rigorous Pokemon hatching sessions later, so your mileage will definitely vary.
SHOULD YOU GET IT?
The Lite is certainly cheaper and can be an attractive prospect, but its battery life is only expected to last 7 hours at most. It does have more colour options out of the box, without requiring accessories, if you’re into that, besides also probably much more kid-friendly without needing to worry about detachable Joy-cons.
Until Nintendo announces a completely overhauled Nintendo Switch model, the HAC-001(-01) will be your best bang for your buck: longer battery life, can be docked which is arguably the main selling point of the switch to begin with, and that bit more powerful than the Lite. There’s plenty of games that will vie for your attention before the tantalizing idea of that New new Switch: be it the next selection of Zelda games, Pokemon, good ol’ Mario, or even third party like Monster Hunter Rise, there’s no better time to get the console. Well, while the next-gen consoles remain woefully out of stock anyway.