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Nintendo 3DS

New 3DS review - Nintendo's best handheld yet

Katharine Byrne
28 Jan 2016
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

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Specifications

CPU: 532MHz dual-core ARM 11, GPU: 266MHz DMP PICA200, Dimensions (WxDxH): 142x80.6x21.6mm, Analogue sticks: 2, D-pads: 1, Networking: 802.11b/g, NFC

NFC & amiibo

The New 3DS also has built-in NFC so you can use Nintendo's line of Amiibo figures simply by placing them on the console's lower touchscreen. These are compatible with dozens of games, including Super Smash Bros, so you can use the same Amiibo figures as the Wii version. In other games, they can be used to gain additional items or costumes to be used in-game, but you should check Nintendo's amiibo compatibility chart to see what they do before you consider buying one. The 3DS, meanwhile, doesn't have NFC built-in, so anyone hoping to use their Amiibo on the move will have to buy Nintendo's additional NFC Reader accessory, which connects to the console wirelessly. 

Storage

The switch to microSD cards might upset those who upgraded from the standard 2GB full-sized SD card to a larger card on the original 3DS, but at least the New 3DS comes with a 4GB microSD card in the box to get you started (and you can pick up a 16GB card for around £5 online). We wish it was a little easier to access the card slot, though, as it's now located underneath the rear panel which is screwed down due to the new position of the console's 1,400mAh battery.

New Nintendo 3DS rear stylus and game card

The New 3DS has a slightly larger battery than the old 3DS and its new auto brightness setting should help extend battery life even further

It's easy enough to remove the back plate if you have the right size screwdriver, If you're a big Nintendo fan you'll be removing it more often than you might think too, with the company gearing up to produce numerous interchangeable face plate packs to customise the appearance of your console. Just bear in mind that the New 3DS XL doesn't have interchangeable face plates, so you'll be stuck with its plain metallic finish for the duration of the console's life span.

Battery Life

The New 3DS is also meant to last a bit longer than the old model. Factors such as the screen brightness, use of 3D, Wi-Fi and sound will have an impact on the exact battery life of the console, but while the ordinary 3DS had an approximate battery life of 3 to 5 hours, the New 3DS should last between 3.5 to 6 hours.

New Nintendo 3DS and old 3DS closed

Fortunately, to help make the battery last a bit longer, the New 3DS has a new Auto Brightness setting which automatically adjusts the brightness depending on your surrounding lighting conditions. However, rather than a gradual change in brightness, we found it tended to change rather abruptly, creating an off-putting flash in the process, so we tended to leave it turned off while playing games.