Review: The “New” Nintendo 3DS

Very exciting times at the moment for any Nintendo enthusiasts, who no doubt are foaming at the mouth trying to get their hands on the “new” Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL systems.  But what about the parents who may have invested in a 2DS or the original 3DS for their kids at Christmas?  Well, I’m here to give you the low down on the system’s new technical specifications and whether it’s worth buying one at release.
From an avid gamer point of view, I saw a picture of the “new” 3DS, with its little c stick and those SNES inspired A, B, X and Y buttons, and I thought, ‘I need one of these in my life!’.  It wasn’t until I got to play with one first hand, that I realised how truly amazing it is.  Essentially Nintendo has looked at everything that needs improving on the original 3DS (build quality, 3D viewing, processing power, etc.) and give users something that should last for many years to come.
Amiibo FunctionalityUnlike the original 3DS, the “new” 3DS has built-in NFC capability, which means that you can use those new Amiibo figures with Super Smash Bros 3DS.  Unfortunately, I’m currently unable to test this feature as I don’t yet own a copy of the game (hint, hint TiredMummyofTwo).

Hopefully, Amiibo use on the “new” 3DS will stretch to other Nintendo first-party exclusives, maybe even some of the older games such as Mario Kart 7 or Super Mario 3D Land.

New 3D ExperiencePlaying games on the original 3DS in 3D was mostly awkward.  Move you’re head slightly to one side and you’d start to see double.  You had to ensure that you were facing the screen dead on and at least 30 cm from your face.  Also, playing in 3D for a few hours would cause terrible eye strain.

All that though is a thing of the past with the “new” 3DS.  Using the handheld’s front-facing camera, the device has built-in ‘head tracking’ technology.  It’s truly mind-boggling because even the original games for 3DS look like they are brand new.  I’m more inclined now to leave the 3D switch turned on when playing games.

Extra ButtonsNot only do we now have a second analogue stick to control camera movement, but we’ve also been given two additional shoulder buttons (ZR and ZL).  The new button layout very much resembles the Wii U gamepad, which I think was intentional given that you can use your 3DS as an extra controller on Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

If you’re wondering what it’s like using the new ‘c’ stick, bearing in mind how small it is, the best way to describe it is like those old laptop mouse buttons.  There’s not much give when pushing your thumb against it, but that doesn’t matter because once you get the hang of it, it does track all the subtle movements.
Unfortunately, there are not that many games at the moment that utilise the new ‘c’ stick.  I imagine that future released games will be making full use of it, or hopefully, Nintendo will find some way of allowing Wii U owners the ability to use their “new” 3DS as an extra controller for playing games (kinda like the PS4/PS Vita cross-play).  That would be amazing!
Changeable Cover PlatesThe ability to change the cover plates on the “new” 3DS has to be a stroke of genius on the part of Nintendo, and a huge relief for fans’ wallets everywhere.  With so many different designs available for the original 3DS, which can make them expensive and highly sought after (I’m looking at you Limited Edition Zelda 3DS XL), this new feature allows owners to change the design at a fraction of the cost (RRP £14.99).

Please note that you will need a small screwdriver to remove the bottom plate, which is where you will find the new Micro SD card slot.  You’ll be pleased to hear that the “new” 3DS comes with a 4GB memory card straight out of the box, so no need to buy one separately!
Faster Processing PowerThe benefit here is that games will load quicker and purchases from the Nintendo eShop will download quicker.  Not that this was a massive problem with the original 3DS, but quicker startups and downloads are always going to be a good thing.


In conclusion, the “new” 3DS is the pinnacle of handheld gaming, even better than smartphones and tablets.  God knows how much I hate today’s modern culture of giving you the game for free, only to sting you for microtransactions.  With Nintendo, there’s a massive library of great games, the majority of which are family-friendly.

For any first times buyers out there (or even those wanting to upgrade), the “new” 3DS is the one you should go for.  For those who may have only recently bought the original 3DS or 2DS, the good news is that you can hold off buying the new version until Christmas.  On that note, I would advise keeping an eye out for price drops from September onwards.

The “new” Nintendo 3DS retails at £149.99, and the “new” 3DS XL retails at £179.99.  There is a PEGI 7 rating for the system, but that’s just because of the device’s online capabilities I imagine.

Let me know in the comments section below if you intend to take the plunge and buy the “new” 3DS system.