I’ve had my New 3DS (still a very bad name) for a few days now and I can say I am very impressed. But I was very happy with the previous version of the 3DS, so what’s the difference between the two variations and is it worth it for you to upgrade at the moment? Let’s have a look.
Sound quality is louder and clearer. With not much of a boost for such a small device, it’s much more satisfying overall and with very little to no distortion I have noticed. It surely makes me want to listen though the speakers much more often. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed stereo speakers on a small device like this…apart from my HTC One, but that’s a £500 phone.
3D with Face Tracking
Face tracking 3D is a welcomed improvement and much needed from the original 3DS/3DS XL, which required you to stay exactly center without movement for the function to work properly. While it is impressive, if you moved left or right you would see a disorientated/blurred screen. This problem would cause most users to eventually turn the 3D off and never really use it again.
Thankfully Nintendo are aware of the problem and have really impressed me with the newly applied sensor, which tracks your face and allows you to view at all angles in 3D, as long as your face is within the detection area. There is a calibration section for both the 3D and the tracking function which starts up straight away when you first boot up your system.
You will hardly notice the sensor, but at night it will light up, barely noticeable at all, and will still be able to track you in pitch black, which is great if you’re like me and stay up all night with your hand-held.
This function still isn’t perfect as you do get stutter if you move abruptly, but is vastly more impressive. A much needed addition and I’m thankful I don’t have to hold my 3DS straight on front of me without movement. Don’t expect to be at a distance or dramatic angle for this function to work, you must be in line of sight.
I remember having an old laptop with a ridiculous nub plopped right in the middle of the keyboard which has a strange texture and used tactile feedback to simulate your mouse. This nub did a horrible job at what its main purpose for and is why you will see that it is almost completely been eliminated. I do not know a single person who ever found this even beneficial at all. It was also located in a ridiculous place right in the center of the keyboard, which made it awkward to use.
So when myself and other privileged 80/90’s technophobes saw this blast from the past slapped on the right hand side of the New 3DS to be a representation/replacement of a secondary circle pad, I’m guessing due to lack of room, I hope you can see how it felt like our blood had ran cold with fear. However, I would never in a million years have though that I would give it a second chance….and actually praise its existence at that.
The c-stick does not move at all and only detects feedback of your finger to use it and it does it amazingly well. It’s also located in very comfortable and easy to reach position and almost feels natural to use, regardless of its size.
Although there are only a couple of games which currently use the c-stick, using it were a joy. One of the reason I love my vita is due to the two analogue sticks to give a more natural comparison to movement on consoles. This addition has been need for a long time.
At the moment the c-stick is not priority and is only used to benefit the user with movement/options that in newer games that allow this function for; special move shortcuts like in Super Smash Bro’s or secondary camera movement in Majora’s Mask. With older games that could be used with the circle pad pro add-on, you can use it as a replacement. But be sure that this c-stick will become proprietary in the future.
Although you aren’t expected to get much longer battery life, with even Nintendo stating an extra half an hour to an hour, it feels much, much longer for me. I am not fully aware of the battery times on average yet, as I have been too busy playing with the damn thing to do a benchmark, but expect more battery life overall. Also, battery replacement is a breeze! But undo the two screws on the rear of the device, which I highly dislike (more on that below In the Bad Points section), to access the battery for a quick replacement or to place a higher capacity battery.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
As I fight off the temptation for the Wii U until rather a new backwards compatible model to be announced or I give in to the pressure of the new Zelda game releasing this year, I am happy to know that Amibo’s have full support on the New 3DS due to NFC being built in under the bottom display.
I did have a Wii U when first released, but due to a failure to pick up any external hard-drives with & without a power source and having to use a y-adapter cable to usb which kept intermittently failing/wiping my data, I returned it.
I have never experienced such an amazing auto-brightness! Not even in a smartphone. I always try out auto-brightness on any device which supports is, but I always end up disabling it due to such poor light detection/software. Maybe this is why I get such better battery life on this device compared to the older version.
The home settings menu has more functions and I am glad to see some of these added to make additional, more beneficial, and quicker changes.
New settings within home menu:
Nintendo 3DS Image Share
Store & Settings buttons
Although Nintendo stated better performance I dint really see much to begin with. I was wondering if it was worth a comparison at all. But when you have used the New 3DS for a while to you begin to see less loading and boot up times and it does make a huge different overall. Boot-up times are inconsistent but still very fast. Although you will not see anything amazing in terms of performance, you will be impressed with the upgrade.
The New 3DS has a faster 268 MHz ARM11 MPCore quad-core CPU. It has been said that the new processing power will be vital for Xenoblade Chronicles 3D to run.
Have you been playing a game on your 3DS or XL and your left palm has accidently slid the volume up or down abruptly whilst playing (mostly the 3DS as it has a more sensitive volume control). Well I am sure they are aware of this issue and have done two vast improvements. First the volume control is on the top screen on the left hand side. Secondly the toggle itself has a distinct click/switch on the bottom of the slider which cannot simply be moved by accident to turn on and needs the same click to turn off again. This is also present on the 3D slider but not as prominent.
New ZL and ZR Shoulder Buttons
You may think it would be strange to have New 3DS’s have two additional buttons in line with the existing buttons as all other iterations of addition buttons causes them to be behind, in parallel. I would use the same fingers for both buttons and most times I even find me using the middle section of my fingers to press the furthest buttons out and the top of my fingers to press the inner two new buttons. These buttons are very easy to press and very easy to use…on the smaller of the New 3DS’s that is. I cannot speak for the 3DS XL, but I am quite concerned over the size and the difficulty the buttons will be to reach. If you have smaller hands, then you may want to stay away from the new 3DS XL. I will be writing a comparison shortly going over the pros of the New 3DS vs the cons of my old 3DS XL and why I downgraded in size, but not functionality.
Cosmetics, Materials, Port Relocations, and Button Placement
Cosmetically the device is very pretty and feels great in the hands. There are some downsides (mentioned below in Bad Points section). But, overall the new 3DS is very nice device.
The new colour scheme on the Y, X, A, & B buttons are far better on the eyes and are easy to identify compared to the dull older models. The 3DS and 3DS XL does have different button colours and I do not know why, but the smaller of the two is much nicer and easier on the eyes.
Start and select have been moved to the right hand side under the Y, X, A, & B buttons like the old Nintendo Ds and DSI.
The Home button is in the same location as the last iterations, on the bottom center of the bottom panel, but is now one smaller oval button.
Charging port is identical but moved to the rear center of the device. Old charging docks will not work but older chargers will work and are recommended as the New 3DS models do not come with a charger!
Power button has been moved to the lower right of the device on the bottom and is out of the way. Feels like it need more of a deeper press, which makes sence as you don’t wat to press it by accident, but I do have to press my nail in instead of my thumb. Can be a bit tricky to press in sometimes but I got used to it pretty fast.
Changeable Custom Cover Plates
Having the option to change the cover plates on the top and bottom is brilliant and a welcome addition. It is easy to change and there are many different options available on release. Expect more to come soon, with many more in the life span. I would expect this to be a future of all iterations of the 3DS from now on.
I honestly thought I was going mad when I read this. Why the hell would you need to buy a PROPRIATORY charger separate! Again, Nintendo really doesn’t get real word. It’s obvious that, to save money, Nintendo ditched the charger and used the excuse that you should already have the original charger from you last unit lying around, that you must have bought several of their products in the past so there must be some in the house somewhere. Imagine if your Xbox One came with no external power brick in the box!
I think I actually think my Luigi Special Edition 3DS XL did not come with a charger last year and I was frustrated as hell then.
You could forgive Nintendo if it was a universal charger, but it’s not, it proprietary. This means you NEED one. Thank god that this a port used for many Nintnedo devices, even the Wii U Game Pad uses it, plus I can pick one up for £6.99 on amazon. But it’s something you expect on day one.
New position of pen is annoying and orientation of the build is quite off putting and I keep inserting the stylus the wrong way and have to turn it around. I understand that it is now moulded with a curve to match the 3ds but I miss the differentiation of design making it clear to the feel, but this may just because I am not used to it yet. There is an obvious lip and slight round indent to help lead you to the stylus, and when placing it back, there is a satisfying click securing it nicely without any hesitation. Also when I
I also keep putting the stylus accidently into the headphone jack which is just a couple of centimetres away. The headphone jack is right in the centre and I feel more inclined to aim for the centre of the 3ds to put the pen back so I keep poking it into the hole. I personally miss it being on the right hand side where it was easily accessible. But I suppose that isn’t optimal for left handed people…like myself?! Yes I am left handed, but I don’t count because I am a weird ambidextrous that writes left handed on paper, and on items like a white/black board/3Ds where I am at a slight distance I write right handed……I know, please leave my freakish hands alone ;).
I went for a black 3DS because I prefer the colour and because I have learned my lessons from numerous smartphones which were visually tarnished after just minimal use. But, this sacrifice causes manufacturers using a black material which is a fingerprint magnet! And this is still the case here. This 3DS brings up finger prints and marks so easily and is very obvious. Not only that, when I lift up my 3Ds the c-pad causes a print upon the top screen. That’s not really an issue, it’s something I have become very accustomed too, and may be worth noting.
Don’t get me wrong, the black New 3DS is very attractive and feels great in the hands.
I do however have a slight issue with the new cartridge replacement, which adds to the colour section above.
The cartridge has been moved to the front left, which is a better as it’s much easier to remove and enter a game without possibly having to close the device and turn the unit around. But it’s so noticeable it just seems strange to see, especially if you have a black version (like me) as it sticks out like sore thumb. Not a problem for most people, but it’s quite unattractive to look at when left to one side, although it mostly cannot be seen when in use.
The Back Cover/Micro SD/Battery
Firstly, I want to state that changing from a standard SD card to a smaller micro SD card is a good option and obviously needed for more space. But…….why in the hell would you put the micro SD card only accessible by replacing the back plate….which requires you to undo 2 screws to access! It makes no sense what-so-ever. I’ve you actually rotated it 180 degrees and moved it down slightly, Nintendo then could have had it accessible from the bottom of the unit. Not only am I pissed with this ingenious decision, I am very weary of the durability of the pre-installed screws. I have written recently about Nintendo’s strange view on consumer’s use of their products. I actually believe Nintendo believes you won’t need to access this again after a first system transfer (systems transfer discussion to be uploaded shortly). Ironically, when I removed the screws the first time and screwed them back into the device, with the recommended screwdriver, they were already very worn and I am very hesitant of removing the screws again! This is a poor decision by Nintendo.
I am only slightly concerned with the stylus too when the back cover is removed. Although it locks into the 3DS very well, when the back cover is removed, the stylus becomes very lose and wobbles/moves, meaning the back cover helps support and keep it in place. If you were to catch it or abruptly move your device, it doesn’t seem unlikely the stylus could come loose and fall out as there is no longer traction to reduce movement in the unit.
If you notice above the only bad things I had to say are very small problems, apart from the back cover, are mostly tiny cosmetic features you will probably not even care about and should in no way make you think this New 3DS is a bad buy. With the price points not so far apart from the old models, trading up won’t leave you drastically out of pocket. But on the other side, is there any need to actually upgrade at this moment in time? Well, no not really. Currently all games released before April 2nd onwards could be New 3Ds exclusive, but there is currently only one game been announced that is; Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.
If you want to play Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, which releases in April, want to use Amibo figures with your 3DS games, or just want to use the 3Ds functionality without a headache (preferably), then you may want consider upgrading.
Am I happy with the purchase of my New 3DS? Yes, I am over the moon with my purchase and don’t regret a thing and cannot wait to play with some more games and use the device to its full potential.
I will be doing a separate article on why I believe, for me, It was best downgraded in size from a 3DS XL to a New 3, including; befits, drawbacks, and if you may want to consider this option too.