What You Should Know About The New Nintendo 3DS

Check our handy guide for everything you need to know about The New Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL on one convenient page.

Last week’s biggest headline for Nintendo was definitely the surprising reveal of the “New Nintendo 3DS & 3DS LL” systems, which came during the latest Japanese Nintendo Direct.

The new-and-improved versions of the 3DS hardware are turning heads and generating a lot of discussion, particularly because the announcement and reveal were so sudden and admittedly unexpected. Alas, that particular topic is best saved for later.

There will be a follow-up article containing thoughts, impressions and concerns about the new 3DS & New 3DS XL; for now, I would like to break down all the basic details and features of the new hardware that were introduced during the Japanese Nintendo Direct.

The New Nintendo 3DS - Logo

The New Nintendo 3DS & New 3DS XL are impressive portable gaming devices, no doubt. Here are some of the basic facts about both versions of the latest handheld, just to get you up to speed.

The Basics of The New 3DS & 3DS XL

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The New 3DS & New 3DS XL boast numerous features that even the latest 3DS XL models do not. For example, the New 3DS systems have an additional analog nub called the “C-Stick”, located above the colorful new ABXY buttons (based on the Japanese SNES controller; see the image above). There is an extra pair of trigger buttons – ZL & ZR (see image below). These are mostly identical to the second set of triggers found on the Circle Pad Pro & CPP XL accessories.

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System Specs

New Nintendo 3DS vs. “Old Nintendo 3DS” 

The New 3DS Editorial - New 3DS vs Old 3DS

New Nintendo 3DS XL vs. “Old Nintendo 3DS XL”

The New 3DS Editorial - New 3DS XL vs Old 3DS XL

Enhanced Internal CPU

The internal CPU has been vastly improved, streamlining all of the system’s basic features – apps, Miiverse, eShop, and so on. Using the apps, software and bonus features of the system should be much smoother and quicker than ever before – downloads and system updates should also take less time to finish. This should be particularly nice for Miiverse and eShop users, considering they are both frequently slow to boot up, with laggy browsing issues and errors that can sometimes lock up the system.

Stabilized 3D Effects

The New 3DS Editorial - 3D Stabilizing

The glasses-free 3D effect has been stabilized with the assistance of the internal camera; the result will be less jarring and disorienting on the eyes when players move the system and tilt the screen.

Amiibo Support

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Nintendo is focused on pushing its new line of Amiibo figures with the New Nintendo 3DS & New 3DS XL; both systems feature a built-in NFC reader on the bottom screen that detects figures placed on the screen.

PC Connectivity

The New 3DS Editorial - New 3DS-PC Connectivity

The New 3DS & New 3DS XL will connect to Windows 7 and 8 for the first time – players can use a wireless connection to store and share files from their 3DS. One would hope that this improves the connection between the 3DS, Wii U and PC versions of the eShop and Miiverse.

MicroSD Support

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It should be noted that the New 3DS & New 3DS XL systems support Micro SD cards – not the standard SD cards. Each new system is packaged with a 4GB MicroSD Card, which is inserted near the stylus holder on the back of the system (see image above).

Exclusive Games

Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS - Banner

Nintendo confirmed that certain future titles will take advantage of the improved CPU of the New 3DS & New 3DS XL, offering production values and experiences not previously possible on the current 3DS. These new titles will be playable exclusively on the New 3DS and New 3DS XL systems; for example, the Xenoblade Saga re-make confirmed alongside the New 3DS systems (shown below) will not work on any of the standard 3DS, 3DS XL or 2DS models.

The New 3DS Editorial - Xenoblade

Speaking of the older systems, past games will not enjoy a visual upgrade – unfortunately, the New 3DS & New 3DS XL also have the same screen resolution as their predecessors, so the commonly-reported “fuzziness” of the graphics may not change much with newer games. There are some currently-known titles that support the C-Stick and other features of the New 3DS & New 3DS XL – these games include Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Final Fantasy Explorers, Dragon Quest X and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

Final Fantasy Explorers - Banner

Additional Miscellaneous Features

  • Both the New 3DS & New 3DS XL somehow enjoy more battery life than their “Old 3DS & 3D XL” counterparts – between 3.5-6 hours and 3.5-7 hours, respectively.
  • Web browser will be quicker thanks to improved CPU, supports HTML5 video. Mature content will be blocked by a filter that can be removed by paying a very small fee (roughly 30-50 cents) with a credit card via eShop.
  • Design changes – 3DS cartridge slot and stylus holder now located on the bottom side of the system. Start and Select buttons relocated beneath ABXY buttons. Wireless switch has been moved to the Home Screen menu. Volume slider relocated to the left side of the top screen.
  • Improved camera lighting increases brightness in dark settings.
  • Charging Dock for both models will be available for purchase; both New 3DS & New 3DS XL are compatible with the same AC adapter as older 3DS & 3DS XL models.
  • The New 3DS specifically has slightly bigger screens – the New 3DS XL has roughly the same screen size as the original 3DS XL.
  • Additionally, the New 3DS – not the New 3DS XL – will feature interchangeable faceplates (see image below). Nintendo has already revealed dozens of varieties, with each costing roughly $10.

The New 3DS Editorial - The New 3DS Small Faceplates 2

New 3DS & New 3DS XL Demo Video

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