HANDS-ON / The New Nintendo 3DS

Out with the old in with the NEW

Four years ago, I was patiently awaiting the arrival of my Nintendo 3DS to arrive on my doorstep. The $250 that I spent was the last of what I had before my bank account would become vacant, but I was willing to take the risk because of how much I love Nintendo. Unfortunately, the games available at launch were weak, and the console’s promise of being able to view your games in 3D seemed more like a gimmick. Having the 3D slider on full blast was unstable, and would leave you feeling like your head was going to explode after 5 minutes.

The original 3DS felt cheap, the battery life was slow, and the price for the tech that you were getting seemed like a slap in the face of any Nintendo fan boy such as myself. But incredible 3DS games exponentially started to pour out into the market as time rolled on. There was a reason to not only wipe the dust off your 3DS, but to bring it with you wherever you went, whether it was because of its unique street pass applications, or getting in a quick race in Mario Kart 7. 

Today, the 3DS stands tall as the hub for a majority of the best handheld software to date, but the wear and tear on the product kept reminding me that I was still playing these great games on a rather “toy-ish” feeling console, even with the upgraded 3DSXL that was released one year later. I needed something more, and Nintendo had the answer for me last month during their most current Nintendo Direct. It was the announcement of the New Nintendo 3DS.

A few days ago, I was feeling the same way I felt 4 years ago. I was waiting in the house all day waiting for my New 3DS to show up on my doorstep, and once it did I readily tore it open. The first thing I knew I had to do was a system transfer, but first I wanted to upgrade the storage on my New 3DS since it comes with only 4 gigs of storage. For those of you who don’t know, the New 3DS uses a micro SD chip now instead of the standard SD chip that works within the old 3DS. The problem is that the old 3DS had an SD card slot on the side, but in order to access the micro SD card on the New 3DS you need to dismantle the back of your console.

Since I wanted to upgrade the storage on my New 3DS I had to gently unscrew the back of it right out of the box, pull the top back of the sides up, and then slide the entire plate off. Honestly, it was super easy, but it wasn’t something that I would want to do again so I highly recommend you upgrade your storage in your New 3DS if you plan to download a lot of your games digitally.

Back 3ds
Side of 3ds

Next up was the system transfer. My personal recommendation is transferring your data over through the system settings. You can wirelessly transfer over data from your old 3DS to your New 3DS, but the only problem is that it could take some time depending on how much data you had on your old 3DS. It only took my transfer about 4 hours to transfer 4 gigs, so you’re looking at a GB an hour when it comes to moving data over to the New 3DS.

BE WARNED! You can not transfer back to your old 3DS after you transfer the data to your New 3DS, so make sure that your New 3DS will be your primary 3DS.

I finally was able to boot up the New 3DS, and when I did I saw all of my software, folders, and Nintendo Network ID on my New 3DS as if nothing had changed. Even my unread notifications, and MiiVerse icons, were still blinking from not being checked. That being said, I clicked on MiiVerse and immediately became impressed. The dreaded load time from the Home screen to MiiVerse was more than cut in half, and hitting the home button to return back was even faster. It was something that never bothered me on my old 3DS because it was the only thing I knew, but the old 3DS was so slow to navigate!

Backing in and out of applications and surfing the web on the New 3DS is a breeze now, and it couldn’t feel any better. Even big games like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. 3DS load up fast, and close fast. The overall performance of this console has clearly been upgraded and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Next is the 3D of the New 3DS. I used to never play any of my games on my old 3DS in 3D simply because it just didn’t work well. As I said previously, it seemed like a cheap novelty that was trying to ride the wave of the 3D era that was going on in the world of movie theaters and television. With the New 3DS that case is no more! There is a built-in camera next to the selfie camera that you’re used to seeing on your old 3DS. This camera now tracks your face in order to keep the 3DS stabilized during gameplay and let me tell you, it looks amazing. I haven’t played a single game on my New 3DS without the 3D in full effect on the entire time. There’s no more eye sores or headaches that come with the effect, just beautiful depth and eye popping details that really stand out and make you feel twice as immersed into whatever game you’re playing.


There’s also a few additional buttons, as well as a new layout for the New 3DS. The bottom of the console is now just a home button, and the start and select inputs are now below the A, B, X, and Y buttons. The ZL and ZR buttons that are better known for their iteration of triggers on the Wii U have been added, too. They’re placed right next to the L and R shoulder buttons, and can be used as L and R inputs that feel less cramped, and overall more comfortable.

The biggest addition to the button layout is the new C-stick that’s been added above the A, B, X, and Y buttons. I like to call it the C-nub simply because it feels like, well, a nub. An eraser from a #2 pencil is the best way to describe it, and so far it’s been serving its purpose really well. Maneuvering around a Great Jaggi in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, or changing the camera angle of Link in Majora’s Mask 3D feels right at home and makes me feel like the C-nub should’ve been there at the launch of the old 3DS in 2011.


Last but not least, Amiibo can be scanned on the button screen of the New 3DS thanks to the built-in NFC technology. It may not be the standout reason to upgrade to a New 3DS, but it’ll be a nice novelty to bring my personal Mario Amiibo to my private bar down the street and watch on as my friends sweat and swear over his moves in Super Smash Bros while I relax with a cold beverage. Plus, Nintendo promises to bring more Amiibo functionality to the 3DS family in the future, including the scan-ins of popular Fire Emblem characters in Nintendo’s new game Code Name S.T.E.A.M, which gets released on March 13th.

Regardless of being a fan boy, the New 3DS is bringing the console back to life for me. Downsides are the exclusion of a charger since Nintendo assumes you’re upgrading from your old 3DS, but I still don’t see that as an excuse since a system transfer takes both of your 3DSs, and having one charger restricts you from leaving them unattended because of the need to swap the charger in and out of each system. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to explore old titles on my New 3DS, and my once “toy-ish” console feels more defined and mature as ever. Improved console stability, hardware power, and the addition of the C-stick, ZL, and ZR buttons make me a proud owner of my New 3DSXL.

Putting my old 3DS back in its box was tough, making me feel like I was leaving home for the first time, but the New 3DS has the reassurance that bigger and better things are in store, and it feels better than ever.