When it first launched in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS was a bit of a gamble for Nintendo. It wasn’t received as well as the games company hoped, and that lead to relatively lackluster sales.
Price cuts and a fresh XL turned that ship around, and the 3DS has since been a reliable presence in Nintendo’s stable. And while it’s not perfect, the portable is still a popular item even today, and often leads the pack among Nintendo’s console lineup. We’ve seen iterations in the past, but it looks like Nintendo has finally perfected the formula with the New Nintendo 3DS. Honestly, this is what the Nintendo 3DS should have been all along.
The Nintendo 3DS certainly isn’t bad—we all know how great it really is. But even the slightest changes can make a major difference. For one, the dimensions of the New Nintendo 3DS are different compared to the older Nintendo 3DS; the newer model is 80.6mm tall (compared to 74mm) when closed, and 142mm wide (compared to 134mm). The new 3DS is also 21.6mm thick when closed compared to 21mm of the older model; weight for the new model is 253g, while the older is 235g.
But what makes the new model stand out is the tweaked layout. There are now ZR and ZL buttons, along with a new C-Stick, which is basically a little rubber nub that rests just above the X button. Additionally, the new 3DS sports a larger screen, improved 3D and the ability to easily change out faceplates, giving owners a fun way to make their portable more unique.
There’s also a microSD slot under the handheld’s cover, while Nintendo promises battery life has been improved from about 3 to 5 hours to 3.5 to 6 hours. Not a major jump, but certainly welcome for those longer Smash Brothers sessions.
Even though it mostly looks like the old 3DS, Nintendo’s latest rework has managed to make the latest model feel fresh. New buttons, a new stick and a slightly larger build might not be enough to warrant an upgrade on their own, but consider all those improvements with slightly more powerful specs, and the New 3DS suddenly becomes something worth exploring. As of now, the New 3DS is available in Japan for 16,000 yen ($154), and is expected to be launch in the U.S. sometime in 2015.
The Japanese version is region locked to Japanese games. So, heads up if you’re considering an import.