Living with the New 3DS

Iain goes hands-on with the newest addition to the 3DS family.

By Iain Farrell. Posted 12/27/2014 12:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

I can’t think of any other company in gaming who revs its hardware as much as Nintendo. The developer loves a system refresh, and since the release of the first 3DS in 2011 we’ve had two models, with a third and fourth sneaking into the end of 2014 in Japan and Australia.

Australia and Europe being the same region, I managed to get my hands on a system early, have had the Pikmin transfer my 3DS XL over to the New 3DS, and can say without a doubt that this system is worth the upgrade. It seems to me that with every successive system Nintendo’s engineers produce a machine that’s significantly better.

There are the swappable faceplates you’ve read about, super easy to swap and crying out to be covered in stickers and customised. Then there are the extra buttons and support for Amiibo– yep, tested, all work. Great feeling buttons and analog sticks, plural? Well, the nub will take some getting use to, but I’m so glad it’s there and seems to be supported by Super Smash Bros. when you pause the action to swoop around your frozen battle. Oh, and there’s the luxurious feeling silent hinge.

If you’ve got a 3DS XL you’ll know that it sounds like you’re breaking it every time you open it– don’t try and sneak in a game when someone’s asleep next to you on the sofa! For me, the king of features is the new screen and head-tracking 3D effect. If anything, the 3DS XL screen almost seemed too big for the 3D to really work, with ghostly edges to elements in the foreground when it was turned on. I’d need to see a New 3DS XL to be sure this has fixed it, but on the new larger screen on the standard unit the 3D “just works.” No more turning it off when you’re on a train or in a car. It jumps a bit when you move your head to the side to look away but snaps back instantly when you’re looking at the screen again. It’s unreasonably good, and as someone who always felt he was in the minority when it came to his love of 3D, it feels like my faith has been rewarded with a glimpse of the future.

This isn’t just how all DS consoles should do 3D in future, this is how everything should do 3D. Join with me and burn your 3D glasses! Refuse anything less, the future owes it to us.

A smaller unit, of course, means a smaller battery than I’m used to, but StreetPassing, step counting, and playing throughout the day in my three days of ownership and I’ve not yet managed to run out of power to the point where I couldn’t play when I wanted to. That snappier processor, better screen, and all that head-tracking seem to be frugally supping at the power available, and the new auto brightness feature has visibly been working hard– sometimes a bit too hard as in low light, and with lamps around it would sometimes go dimmer than I’d like, but then that’s why you can turn that feature off if you want to and set a constant level. I’m not sure whether the power saved from lower brightness offsets the processing power used to constantly monitor the light around me. Time and playing in more varied environments will tell.

If you’re in Europe/Australia you can pick up machines now and if, like me, you had a 3DS that was developing a fault or you’re one of those early adopters then I’d certainly suggest saving up and grabbing one of these units. You won’t be disappointed.

The rest of the world, get your pre-order in now. This 3DS feels better made than any previous models and I’m excited to carry my new gaming best friend around with me wherever I go.

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