Review: New Nintendo 3DS XL

New 3DS XL Review

Since launch in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS has evolved quite a bit. The device has seen several redesigns, as well as the introduction of the Nintendo 2DS. However, Nintendo has not stopped there. Just recently, Nintendo launched its latest handheld gaming console, which has been dubbed the New Nintendo 3DS. However, what makes the New Nintendo 3DS different from the rest?

While the New Nintendo 3DS does not entirely look any different from previous models… Nintendo has gone ahead and made a few design changes that are actually beneficial this time around. When taking a closer look at the device you will notice that the New Nintendo 3DS has interchangeable face plates, which can be swapped out on the fly. This allows users to customise their handheld console in order to give it a more personalised look and feel.

In addition to the new face plates, Nintendo has also added in a new analogue stick (C-Stick) as well as two new ZL and ZR shoulder buttons on the device. While the C-Stick may seem a bit out of place, it is actually a welcome addition. The C-Stick does not look like a traditional analogue stick; however, looks can be deceiving. For example, the C-Stick can be used to control the camera within The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, or be used to pull off special moves in Super Smash Bros.

New 3DS XL Review

While the C-Stick comes across as stiff and out of place, it is actually extremely sensitive and a pleasure to use while playing various compatible titles. As stated above, the C-Stick looks out of place at first; however, after using the New 3DS for a couple of hours, we noticed that Nintendo has placed the C-Stick in a rather comfortable position. Not only can you use the traditional X, Y, A, and B buttons – but you can shift over to C-Stick with ease.

With the addition of the new C-Stick as well as the two new shoulder buttons, Nintendo has finally managed to launch a handheld device that feels more complete this time around. Taking a closer look at the New Nintendo 3DS, you will also notice that the Start and Select buttons have moved and have been placed directly under the X, Y, A, and B buttons. In addition to this, Nintendo has removed the wireless on/off button as well as shifted the power button and game card reader to the bottom of the handheld gaming console.

Whilst these changes improve on the comfort factor of the handheld console, it also allows users to switch face plates without having to worry about damaging the internal hardware. Although this was a great move on Nintendo’s part, we tend to question the placement of the MicroSD slot. The first-gen 3DS had a slot on the side for an SD Card, which could be accessed easily and without complications, Nintendo has opted to place the MicroSD slot under the back face plate of the New Nintendo 3DS. This essentially means that you have to physically pick up a screwdriver, in order to remove the face plate, just to insert or remove a MicroSD card. This is a major flaw in the New 3DS’ design as most users tend to use multiple MicroSD cards in order to store content.

New 3DS XL Review

In addition to the oddly positioned MicroSD slot, Nintendo has opted to sell the New Nintendo 3DS without a charger. Thankfully, if you do own another 3DS you can opt to use that charger. However, if you are a new user, you will have to purchase the charger separately unfortunately.

Nintendo has made a lot of hardware and design changes and it has also improved the overall experience of the device’s 3D functionality. When you tilted the screen on the original 3DS, images began to look unstable and essentially caused eye strain. Fast forward to 2015, and the New Nintendo 3DS now rectifies this problem with what Nintendo calls Super Stable 3D. Compliments of the new front-facing camera, the New 3DS now tracks your face movement in order to give you far better viewing angles. To add to this, the 3D effect now feels more stable and places less strain on the eyes.

Shifting away from 3D, the New Nintendo 3DS also comes with Near Field Communication (NFC), which means that Nintendo’s Amiibo figurines can now be used with current and upcoming compatible titles. Nintendo has also added in a new CPU, which essentially is set to improve on loading times as well as in-game performance. Along with the new CPU, Nintendo will also be launching new titles that are only compatible with the New Nintendo 3DS. While this is a step forward for Nintendo, users who own an older 3DS may have to start looking at an upgrade.

New 3DS XL Review

Nintendo has definitely started moving in the right direction as regards the New 3DS. Granted, the older models may be adequate for now; however, once the exclusive titles start to hit the stores, you may want to consider upgrading to Nintendo’s latest piece of hardware.

Overall, the New Nintendo 3DS is a vast improvement on the older models. While previous models felt incomplete, the New Nintendo 3DS feels and looks like Nintendo finally added the missing puzzle pieces to the mix. This can be seen in the overall design, the addition of new buttons, and the vast improvement of the 3D functionality.

On the downside however, replacing the MicroSD card can feel more like a chore, particularly if you have a collection of titles that have been stored on multiple MicroSD cards. In conclusion, the New Nintendo 3DS is a great console and is a definite must have, especially if you travel a lot, or want to play a quick game on the go.

The New Nintendo 3DS was reviewed by Darryl Linington