Nintendo announces another a pair of new 3DS systems, called the “New Nintendo 3DS” and “New Nintendo 3DS XL”
Historically, Nintendo has always reiterated on their handhelds with constant incremental redesigns. There were at least 4 different Game Boys back in the day, and the Game Boy Advance saw no fewer than 3 revisions. So, it should be no surprise that Nintendo is adding yet another iteration to their 3DS handheld line. Following 2011’s original 3DS, 2012’s 3DS XL, and 2013’s 2DS, Japan in 2014 will see the release of not only one revision, but two new systems called the “New Nintendo 3DS” and “New Nintendo 3DS XL.”
While the 3DS XL was more of the same, only bigger, and the 2DS actually removed features from the original system, these new 3DS upgrades are significant enough to be considered actual successors to the original system.
The most noticeable upgrade is the changes to the 3DS’s control options. The New 3DS has a new “C-stick,” a small control nub that acts as an analog controller allowing for more modern game control. Think of it as an equivalent of a “right stick” on a normal console game controller. The New 3DS also adds two additional shoulder buttons, the “ZL” and “ZR” buttons, located next to the original “L” and “R” buttons.
Previously, if 3DS owners wanted access to a second control stick and another pair of shoulder buttons, they would have to purchase a bulky external accessory called the “Circle Pad Pro.” Nintendo is now building these new control mechanisms directly into the new device.
Perhaps the most important upgrade is the New 3DS’s faster CPU. The speed upgrade is significant enough to improve the functionality of the built-in Internet Browser, online eShop store, and Miiverse community app, making for a speedier, smoother experience.
Games can also take advantage of the upgraded hardware. Some new games will be built with the New 3DS’s system upgrade in mind, meaning they will not be compatible with older 3DS systems. One such game is a port of popular Wii Japanese RPG Xenoblade Chronicles.
Other New Features
The 3DS’s namesake is the ability to view images in 3D without the need for glasses. However, one compromise for the feature was the limited viewing angle for the glassesless 3D to work. The New 3DS implements something Nintendo calls “Super-Stable 3D,” which uses the device’s front-facing camera to track the player’s head and adjust the display to allow for a wider range of effective 3D angles than the original system allowed.
The New 3DS has built-in NFC, allowing it to interact with amiibo figurines, a Nintendo-themed toy line that was announced at E3. Amiibo figures will be able to interact directly with certain games on the New 3DS through NFC without the need of an external accessory.
Nintendo has also added an ambient light sensor to the system, allowing the New 3DS to automatically adjust the brightness of the display depending on the amount of light available in the room.
Instead of the standard size SD cards used with the original 3DS systems, the New 3DS will use microSD cards of up to 32 GBs. It will not support high-capacity microSDXC cards. The memory card slot is now located at the top of the system, near the shoulder buttons, while the game card slot, the stylus and the power button has been relocated to the bottom.
The New 3DS also features improved wireless capability. You will be able to use Wi-Fi to back up and transfer files to a Windows PC. Unfortunately, it looks like Mac users are currently out of luck when it comes to this feature. The physical Wi-Fi switch has been replaced with a built-in software toggle on the home screen, so no more accidentally turning off your wireless when you meant to be Street Passing.
Speaking of home screens, Nintendo is also adding custom menu themes to the 3DS’s operating system. These new themes, modeled after Nintendo properties like Mario and Zelda, will have their own style of backgrounds, icons, folders and sound effects. A firmware update will also enable this feature on older 3DS models.
One very odd feature is a new implementation of parental controls for the built-in Internet Browser. By default, the Internet Browser will filter Internet content, limiting its use to certain websites. To remove the filter, the user must register a valid credit card and pay a 30 yen ($0.29) fee. This is presumably a method to make sure children are unable to override the filter without expressed parental consent (unless they somehow get a hold of a credit card). It’s unknown if this parental control method will carry over to the system’s American release.
The New 3DS vs. The New 3DS XL
Both new systems feature the same upgrades, the main difference being the size of the system and the battery life. The New 3DS has a larger screen than that of the original 3DS, a 3.88-inch LCD versus the original 3.5-inch display. The New 3DS XL, on the other hand, has the same size screen as the previous 3DS XL. Both systems have improved battery life, with the New 3DS lasting up to 6 hours and the New 3DS XL up to 7 hours.
The non-XL version will have its own line of customizable faceplates, to give your system its own unique look. The faceplates will be sold separately for 1000 yen ($10).
Both systems will see releases in Japan on October 11 of this year. The New Nintendo 3DS will retail for 16,000 yen ($154) and the larger New Nintendo 3DS XL will go for 18,800 yen ($180). The XL version will come in two colors: Metallic Blue and Metallic Black. The smaller version will come in White and Black variants.
Nintendo currently do not have plans to launch the system this year outside of Japan. So, if you’re looking to upgrade before the new Super Smash Bros. game comes out, you’ll unfortunately have to wait until at least next year.
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra