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How to tell if you're buying the new Nintendo Switch or the old one

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Nintendo recently updated the original Switch, and it isn’t making it easy to figure out whether you’re buying the old model or the new one.

The new one, still called Nintendo Switch, is now available in stores for the same price as the original ($299.99). If you’re looking to upgrade, you’ll need to make sure you’re actually buying the latest model, as it looks exactly the same as the original and even comes in similar packaging. 

Old Nintendo Switch vs new Switch

In July 2019, Nintendo quietly announced a new Nintendo Switch. But it’s a refresh of the old model, rather than a full-blown Nintendo Switch 2. The new model is said to have a better battery life – around two hours extra. It could also have a new processor, too; we know from a recent FCC listing that Nintendo was planning to change the SoC (System on Chip), type of storage, and CPU board. 

Of course, an improved processor and mainboard could also contribute to the improved battery life.

How to tell which Switch you’re buying

If you want to find the latest Nintendo Switch, which began hitting retail stores in mid-August 2019, here’s how:

Packaging

Look at the box containing the Switch:

The packaging for the new Nintendo Switch (2019) has a bright red background.

The packaging for the old Nintendo Switch has a grey background with a hand.

Serial number

Next, confirm the serial number.

The new Switch should have a serial number – located on the bottom of the console – that starts with the letters XKW. Some online retailers, such as Amazon, may even designate the serial number in their product listings.

Model number

Unfortunately, many online retailers don’t show the serial number and may even show packaging for the old Switch, so to be extra sure when shopping online, you will also need to check the model number on the listing.

The new Nintendo Switch has a model number that starts with HAD:

  1. HADSKABAA for the model with the blue and red Joy-Con controllers
  2. HADSKAAAA for the model with grey Joy-Con controllers

Note: Original Nintendo Switch models start with the letters HAC. 

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