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New 3DS review – Nintendo’s best handheld yet

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £150
inc VAT

With better 3D, a faster CPU, more controls and a gorgeous new design, the New 3DS is everything its predecessor should have been and more


CPU: 532MHz dual-core ARM 11, GPU: 266MHz DMP PICA200, Dimensions (WxDxH): 142×80.6×21.6mm, Analogue sticks: 2, D-pads: 1, Networking: 802.11b/g, NFC

New 3DS vs New 3DS XL

Of course, there’s also the New 3DS XL to consider, which has significantly larger screens and a completely different look and feel to its smaller cousin. We’ve covered the main differences in much greater detail in our full New 3DS XL review, but you can tell straight away that the New 3DS is the more appealing portable console. 

While the New 3DS has a gorgeous matt texture, its big brother has a slightly oily glossy chassis, which we found didn’t provide as much grip when holding it for long periods of time. It was also much more prone to picking up fingerprints, so it looked perpetually dirty no matter how many times we tried to keep it clean. 

We also found the New 3DS XL was a fraction too big to play games comfortably, as we found it more of a stretch to reach the C Stick and shoulder buttons. The lack of interchangeable face plates is another big deal breaker for us, as this is one of the New 3DS’s main selling points in our eyes. Instead, you’ll simply have to put up with the standard metallic black or blue colours if you buy one at launch, although we’re sure there will be plenty of special New 3DS XL editions available in the future to add a bit of colour and personality to the console.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate looks much more impressive on the New 3DS XL’s larger screens

There is a certain attraction in going for the larger screens, though, as some games such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate look absolutely outstanding. It’s far more immersive than playing it on the smaller New 3DS, but the screens’ identical resolutions mean there are a few downsides, namely a lower pixel density and more visible aliasing and jagged edges. This varies from game to game, but smaller scale titles such as Tomodachi Life don’t benefit nearly as much from the extra screen space. If anything, we’d say it actually looks worse on the New 3DS XL due to the sheer amount of aliasing.

However, the New 3DS XL does have a larger 1,750mAh battery, which Nintendo estimates will give you somewhere betwen 3.5 to 7 hours of play time. This gives you an extra hour over the New 3DS’s 1,400mAh battery, but both consoles should last around 3 days in sleep mode.


Naturally, new hardware never comes cheap, as the New 3DS is currently priced at £150, while the New 3DS XL is currently £180 for the standard version or £210 for the special Monster Hunter 4-themed model. Neither come with a charging adapter either, so this will have to be bought separately for around another £7 unless you already have one from your old 3DS, 3DS XL, 2DS or DSi.

However, when the New 3DS is so much quicker, more desirable and has a hugely better 3D effect, we can’t see any reason why you should opt for the old 3DS over the new one if you’re buying one for the first time. As for current 3DS owners, those who have played their old console as much as we have should be keen to upgrade, especially if your console has begun to show the same signs of wear and tear as ours. There may not be many New 3DS exclusive games around yet – barring the excellent Xenoblade Chronicles 3D – but this is still a superb console that has a huge library of games behind it and only looks to get even better in the coming year. 

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CPU532MHz dual-core ARM 11
Storage1GB flash memory (4GB microSD card)
Storage expansionmicroSD
Dimensions (WxDxH)142×80.6×21.6mm
Analogue sticks2
Face buttons4
Triggers and bumpers4
Other featuresNFC
Controller powerN/A
Accessories providedN/A
Audio outputs3.5mm headphone
Video outputsN/A
Video inputsN/A
USB portsNone
Memory card readermicroSD
Buying information
Price including VAT
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Part codeN/A

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