Hardware Review: New Nintendo 3DS

Hardware Review: New Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo decided to make February 13th the day to break many gamers piggy banks by not only releasing two high profile games with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, but by also having the highly anticipated release of the New 3DS. As the newest addition to the 3DS family and Nintendo’s handheld brass, we will take an in depth look into any new improvements the New 3DS has over its older handheld brothers.


Upon playing games on the New 3DS, you will notice that games run much smoother and faster. With more power under the New 3DS’s hood, it gives an added boost when playing games and cuts lengthy loading screen and download time substantially. For comparison, I could have already been starting a battle online on my New 3DS while my other 3DS was just about ready to boot up the game. It is only after you make the switch you realize you’ve been waiting a long time with reference to loading times. My original 3DS might start packing a whole lot of dust in the near future.


The system exterior shows some changes with the addition of ZR/ZL triggers and a C Stick. While the ZR/ZL triggers haven’t had much implication with many games so far, the C Stick makes its long awaited debut on handhelds and becomes a welcoming addition. Completely replacing the bulky Circle Pad Pro, the multifunction nubb becomes the go to button of choice for rotating cameras in open games such as Monster Hunter Ultimate 4, or dishing out quick and punishing blows in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. As for the old buttons on the console, some of have been laid out differently for easier use. Instead of having them in the same layout compared to the original 3DS, the New 3DS has the Start/Select buttons on the right side underneath the Y/X/B/A buttons and the Home Button is an actual button rather than just built into the console. As a left handed gamer, I felt the layout of the buttons, especially the Start/Select, are better placed and are far better being buttons rather than built into the console at the bottom of the screen.

The game cartridge and pencil are located where your palms would be when holding the console itself, giving the console a much cleaner and more symmetrical look overall. This comes at a price of having the Micro SD card inside the back casing which without a screwdriver cannot be reached, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem unless you intend to download full purchase titles. If that is the case, I would suggest to pick up a much larger Micro SD over the standard 4gig one given with the New 3DS. While it has New in its name, it still follows the same design that the previous DSi/3DS  models had before. By using the same shell design, it is practically identical to the other members of the DSi/3DS family, but like mentioned before, it is how everything is placed that makes a difference. It also is a bit lighter compared to previous models which is surprising given the extra features and wider frame of the New 3DS.


The standard colors for the New 3DS are New Black and New Red and both have a much glossier finish compared to the consoles predecessor.  I would consider the colors to be closer to the finish on the Wii U. While its very appealing display wise, fingerprints will be easily shown every time you play and therefore constant cleaning will be required if you want to keep your new handheld in pristine condition. The homage to the Super Famicom with the X/Y/A/B buttons was a nice touch to add to its sleek design and I hope that they implement this idea into future or current consoles.

Automatic screen brightness has also been added to give the clearest picture possible for each setting. From wherever you are playing, outside or in the dark, the screen will adjust to your surroundings to make it easier on your eyes and help save some of your battery life in the process. As a result adjusting the screen brightness in the menu becomes an obsolete feature unless you have very sensitive vision. The Face Tracking technology feature is the biggest improvement to the upgraded console. With a camera that will scan and recognize your face to give you the best possible 3D view finally gives 3D gaming without any hassles and gimmicks. The old 3DS’ only gave 3D that was focused onto one view and slight movement or shift could cause games to get blurry, making players opt out of using the 3D effects. With the improvements in the Face Tracking system it gives a much clearer picture when viewing in 3D and stays focused on your face and will recalibrate by itself to make sure the best possible picture is shown.


The New 3DS comes at a $199.99 price tag which shouldn’t be too intimidating for those who’ve previously owned a 3DS system and are looking to upgrade, or for those looking to finally make the plunge and getting the Nintendo handheld. With the many new features implemented in the New 3DS it makes it the most complete handheld Nintendo has to offer and it becomes the best option for anybody looking to get one.


With that, there are a few things to take into consideration when planning on buying a New 3DS.

One – The New 3DS does not come with a charger, so make sure to purchase one separately or be ready to charge charging cables with your consoles. Many people see this as an annoyance, but I am a little glad I don’t have to fork over $20 extra on my new console just for another charging cable. Between each of my handhelds, I have 4 chargers laying around and having another one would just be an annoyance. With the amount of DSi/3DS sold worldwide I would assume Nintendo thinks that everybody feels the same way.

Two – Transferring… This process is lengthy and too complicated to explain in a mere review so I will give a few words to go about by. Follow the instructions in the booklet, watch online videos on how to do it, and be prepared for a really long process. Having the more relevant Micro SD card is part of the problem, but hopefully this is the last time we have to switch over… Hopefully. Don’t let the transfer scare you too much, because once it it done you can enjoy every bit of each new feature in the handheld. The New 3DS offers the best package for handheld games and hardware. Just having the extra C Stick and processing power is enough for me to switch up and I would suggest to do the same.


While the New 3DS isn’t a definite upgrade over the 3DS family at first glance, it becomes the definite handheld of choice to try and get your hands on. Its slight improvements in performance and power are very subtle, but in comparison to the other 3DS’ it shows how far those subtle changes can make a difference. All in all a great new upgrade for those looking for the extra punch the New 3DS offers and new gamers alike, the New 3DS sets a new standard to the handheld family.