New Nintendo 3DS XL (New Red Color)
$199.99 at Most Major Retailers
Purchased from Target
After being out in Japan and Australia since last year, on February 13th, 2015, the New Nintendo 3DS family made its way to North America. Well, part of it. In a surprising move that is apparently due to the 3DS XL’s huge sales margin over the normal 3DS, Nintendo of America had decided to forgo releasing the New Nintendo 3DS, and only release the New Nintendo 3DS XL. This meant that gamers who liked their small portable couldn’t upgrade to the new system without ditching the form factor they love. It also means gamers were denied the customization via the New Nintendo 3DS’s faceplate system. While the faceplate system was tempting me to decrease back to the original size, Nintendo of America more or less made the choice for me. I decided to forgo hunting for a Majora’s Mask system, and decided to purchase the “New Red” version of the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
The new system sports a redesigned clamshell that’s a hair thinner. While the same system at heart, the exterior now features ZR and ZL buttons. On top of that the game card slot is now located on the bottom left of the system, the headphone jack is smack dab in the middle, with the stylus now hanging out in the right. This leaves the top free of everything sans the infrared reader and charge cable port. The sides are now clean and bare. The inside got a bit of a facelift with the start and select buttons being moved to the right, next to the screen. Additionally a C-Stick has been added! While not a full second circle pad, this gives gamers a little bit of extra control in games that a lot of people have been wanting.
Other than cosmetics, the New Nintendo 3DS XL sports faster processing. Just in one night of using it I’ve notice significant loading time increases, especially when loading directly from the SD card. The 3D has been significantly improved thanks to the addition of a small face tracking camera on the front of the device, next to the main camera. This face tracker can determine where your head is positioned, and alters the 3D to fit your viewing angle. This means the 3D works as you move the system, removing half the headache that was the 3D system. Finally the bottom screen has an NFC reader inside, giving you support to the ever popular Amiibo system as well.
Finally, the system now uses MicroSD as a storage system. The unit comes with a 4GB MicroSD card. It can take MicroSDs up to 32GB, but many people have found that converting 64GB or larger MicroSDs into the FAT-32 file format will work just fine, but it’s probably better off sticking to a 32GB card just in case. You can check out my video of the file transfer method HERE. Removing the MicroSD card is pretty annoying, as it’s now located underneath the back cover. You have to unscrew the back and pop the panel off to get to the port. I suppose this is to prevent the card from ever accidentally popping out, or SD card theft or something, but it’s still a process.
At the end of the day, I think this is definitely a step up from the original 3DS XL that’s well worth the upgrade. If you do a ton of 3DS gaming, you’ll notice the small things like the processing power, C-Stick usefulness, and how amazing the new 3D system is. If you’re only a casual user of the 3DS, you’re probably better off waiting until an upgrade is absolutely necessary. As of right now, the only announced game that REQUIRES a New Nintendo 3DS is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D in April. If that’s on your radar, then you’ll want to pick up a New Nintendo 3DS XL ASAP. The choice is ultimately yours, but for what seems like a minimal upgrade, it’s like working with a whole new system.