Update: Nintendo is now denying you can trade in your Switch, sending the following statement to the folks at The Verge...
We do not have a Nintendo Switch exchange program. We always want players to enjoy their Nintendo Switch systems, and if anything ever gets in the way of that, we encourage them [...] to contact our consumer support team.
I consider the guys at GameXplain a rock-solid source, so Nintendo definitely was allowing people to trade in their Switches, but it seems they're backing away from the policy now that it's become widely publicized, which is unfortunate. The wording of the statement is also a little weird -- they deny there's an official Switch exchange program, but then they still encourage people to contact customer service, so maybe trades are still available in some cases.
Original story: Recently, The Big N announced they would be releasing an updated model of the Nintendo Switch powered by an upgraded Tegra mobile processor. This new Switch doesn’t offer any additional processing power for games (that we know of), but it does deliver significantly improved battery life. You can play Zelda: Breath of the Wild for around 5.5 hours on the new Switch, a major improvement over the 3 hours you got on the original model.
Unfortunately, Nintendo has been rather cagey about the release of the new Switch. They’ve quietly been rolling it out to retailers, but the new model’s packaging doesn’t clearly differentiate it from older models. So, what if you recently walked into a store and unknowingly purchased an older Switch when a better model was sitting right beside it? Are you screwed? Surprisingly not!
Redditor DarthMewtwo contacted Nintendo of America customer support, and was apparently told you can send them any Switch purchased after July 17 (the day Nintendo announced the new model) and they will swap it out for a new-model Switch for free. You'll have to pay for shipping, but otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of catch. The dedicated Nintendo fanatics at GameXplain reached out to Nintendo to confirm and recieved the same information.
Now, thus far, this has only been confirmed with Nintendo of America. Other regions may not be offering similar upgrades (Nintendo of Europe tends to be stingier about such things). Also, you can’t just trade in just any old Switch – it has to have been purchased after July 17. All that said, this is still a pretty generous thing Nintendo is doing. Yes, I'm sure some folks who bought prior to July 17 will complain, but there has to be some cutoff.
Bought a Switch after July 17 and not sure if you got the old or new version? The easiest way to figure it out is to look at the box. The packaging for the original Switch features a white background, while the new model features a solid red background. You can also check the model number on the back – the new Switch is HAC-001(-01).
Any recent Switch buyers out there planning to get an upgrade?