3 hours at full operation (maxed clock speeds, trying to pump 1080p gameplay) sounds about right for the Nintendo Switch. If you pushed an equivalently priced Android tablet to the same tasks, it’ll also likely give 3 hours of battery life. Cut the clock speeds, and do 720p at max. Then the battery life will likely look more like 5 to 6 for the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch has 3 hours of battery life when FULLY CLOCKED
It’s more a warning shot at anyone who thinks they’ll magically get Xbox One levels of graphics. You can’t get it for half the Xbox One’s launch price. AND do so while only on battery power. If that’s what one expects. Get ready to drop an extra $250 for an external USB-C high capacity battery. Which the FAA may not let you take on flights. Only that will allow you to game at MAX clock speeds on the go for 6+ hours. And you’ll likely have to hack/jailbreak your Switch to force it into high power mode while Un-docked.
We guess the question now becomes something like this. “How long were you planning to use at one time in a place that’s too far to use an AC adapter or power cord?”. That’s up to the individual. You can’t really take it camping. But it’s fine for most day trips or a lunch hour.
On the other hand, that could just be based off the dev kits. Real battery life could be longer, and we’re sure companies will make some battery pack that clips on.
Source: My Nintendo