Nintendo 3DS

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Ash­leigh Allsopp

The new 3DS might not look too dif­fer­ent from its pre­de­ces­sor at first glance, but sev­eral small hard­ware changes make this hand­held gam­ing con­sole ev­ery­thing the orig­i­nal 3DS should have been.

When we first picked up the new con­sole, which Nintendo says has 3D face track­ing to help im­prove the 3D ex­pe­ri­ence, we were du­bi­ous. This fea­ture worked on the orig­i­nal 3DS only if you sat di­rectly in front of the de­vice. Within sec­onds, how­ever, we found our­selves crank­ing the 3D slider up to max­i­mum. It’s fan­tas­tic.

The 3D im­prove­ments have been made pos­si­ble thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of a tiny cam­era next to the main front-fac­ing cam­era, which tracks where your face is and ad­justs the im­age ac­cord­ingly.

The sec­ond of the main changes is the in­tro­duc­tion of the C Stick and two new but­tons: ZL and ZR. Many gamers have been cry­ing out for a sec­ond joy­stick on the 3DS, par­tic­u­larly for games that re­quire you to ro­tate the screen in ad­di­tion to mov­ing your char­ac­ter – it can get tire­some hav­ing to re­po­si­tion your hand to use the touch­screen for screen ro­ta­tion, that’s for sure.

Nintendo of­fered a so­lu­tion for own­ers of the orig­i­nal 3DS in the form of the Cir­cle Pad Pro, an at­tach­ment that added a sec­ond joy­stick and two ad­di­tional but­tons, but also added bulk and weight to the oth­er­wise su­per-por­ta­ble de­vice, so it’s less than ideal.

The new 3DS, how­ever, has a tiny C Stick built in, some­thing we wish Nintendo had thought of four years ago when the 3DS came out.

The ZL and ZR but­tons, which you’ll find fall be­neath your in­dex fin­gers be­side the al­ready present L and R but­tons, are another ex­tra that isn’t par­tic­u­larly use­ful right now, but we imag­ine that when de­vel­op­ers be­gin in­te­grat­ing the but­tons into their games they could be a real boon and of­fer fur­ther con­trol and game­play fea­tures.


The new 3DS is much faster than its pre­de­ces­sor. Open­ing and clos­ing apps is now in­cred­i­bly fast. That’s thanks to im­proved CPU per­for­mance, which means load­ing times have been re­duced, too. What’s more, Nintendo says that “sev­eral up­com­ing games” will be built from scratch specif­i­cally for the new 3DS to take ad­van­tage of the power boost it’s been given.

Nintendo has also up­dated the 3DS’s web browser to al­low for a bet­ter brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when us­ing the in­ter­net. You’ll be able to use the ZL/ZR but­tons to switch tabs, and use the C Stick to zoom in on pages, which we found to be in­tu­itive.

The orig­i­nal 3DS’ cam­era isn’t bril­liant and nor is the new con­sole’s of­fer­ing, though it has been slightly im­proved for photos in low-light con­di­tions. There’s a cam­era on the front of the de­vice for 2D im­ages, or you can cap­ture 3D im­ages view­able on the de­vice’s dis­play us­ing the dual rear-fac­ing cam­eras.

The de­vice now has NFC built in, which means you’ll be able to play with Ami­ibo fig­ures on your 3DS as well as your Wii U, sim­ply by plac­ing the fig­ure on the lower 3DS dis­play. These fig­ures work with var­i­ous dif­fer­ent games to help you add new char­ac­ters or cus­tomise them, get spe­cial bonuses, level up char­ac­ters and more. The num­ber of com­pat­i­ble games is grow­ing, with Su­per Smash Bros for 3DS and Xenoblade Chron­i­cles 3D set to ar­rive soon.

Aside from the afore­men­tioned new but­tons and C Stick, the over­all de­sign of the 3DS is in essence the same. There are two mod­els avail­able: the 3DS with a 3.53in top dis­play and a 3.02in bot­tom dis­play, and the 3DS XL (priced £179), which is slightly less por­ta­ble but of­fers big­ger screens at 4.88in and 4.18in, so ar­guably a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence over­all.

The 3DS is avail­able in white or black. There are also re­place­able cover plates avail­able to al­low you to com­pletely cus­tomise your de­vice.

The other slight dif­fer­ence be­tween the orig­i­nal 3DS and the new model is the coloured but­tons, repo­si­tioned game slot, sty­lus and vol­ume slider, and repo­si­tioned Start and Se­lect but­tons.


If you con­sider the new 3DS’s price from a broader per­spec­tive, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the price of other games con­soles, it does seem a bit pricey. You can buy the Sony PS Vita (2014 edi­tion) for around £150, and even the Nintendo Wii U for £160. For most gamers, though, its value lies in the games avail­able, so for Mon­ster Hunter fans, Poké­mon fans or fans of Nintendo’s many clas­sics, pay­ing the £150 or £180 for the new 3DS is a no-brainer.

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