I'm really feeling it!

You probably don't need to be told this, but Nintendo's New 3DS is their best yet. More than that though, it's the best handheld the Kyoto giant has ever released. I've spent the last 90 days with it and have put it through its paces.

I picked up the white, compact New 3DS, as opposed to the XL, since it's the more drastic departure from the units these new models are replacing. Prior to getting my New 3DS, I played nearly exclusively on a 3DS XL. After having used this puppy for the last three months, I don't think I could go back to an XL for a number of reasons.


The screen size on the compact New 3DS has been bumped up just enough to make me not miss the additional real estate its larger sibling offers.

Perhaps the biggest improvement the New 3DS unit carries with it is in its head-tracking. Nintendo was quick to tout the improved 3D capabilities of their handheld, and for good reason—the New 3DS makes 3D actually viewable far more often than not. Head tracking works like a charm. I used to keep to my 3D slider all the way off, now it's at about 75 percent all the time. This new tech all but eliminates the need for "sweet spot" viewing angles. Believe the hype.

The units new buttons and the like are similar enough to those found on its predecessor to feel familiar in all the right ways. Nintendo's consoles are legendary for their durability, and the New 3DS is no exception. The new triggers are comfortably placed, you won't need to think about how best to reach them, it's just natural. The new analog nub is surprisingly great to use, too. My first few days with it left me wondering, but after having used it in Smash Bros. quite a bit, we're now best friends. The lack of travel on the nub actually feels far better than having to use a second slide pad, and keeps the unit small enough to still rest comfortably in your hands.


Nintendo's marketing has, for the most part, been truthful about the New 3DS. Another big promise made was in regards to the New 3DS' speed. It's definitely a faster machine, by a very noticeable amount. Hitting the home button, for instance, takes you right back to the start menu. No awkward pauses, no weird delays, it just snaps back and forth effortlessly, undoubtedly thanks to the machine's beefed up CPU.


One of the best places to observe this is in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, the game takes notoriously long to start on the current model. The new model, however, treats it like nothing. The game comes up just as fast as any other title, and hey, you can actually post Miiverse screens from it.

Isn't that just beautiful?

Nintendo also promised faster wireless, which seems to be true. In my experience eShop titles downloaded up to twice as fast as they did on my older 3DS XL. The one place I'd have to say Nintendo's marketing wasn't on point was in regards to the camera. It's still downright awful. I can't discern a difference between the old and new here, but it doesn't matter to me. I never use the 3DS camera for any reason.


Last but not least, cover plates. Nintendo has released 56 (counting the limited editions) sets of cover plates for the New 3DS. These alone were enough for me to choose the compact model over the XL, though your mileage may vary.


Changing cover plates is pretty simple, the front plate pops off with a hook on the end of your stylus, and the back plates have to captive screws you need to remove before popping their tabs. It's a really cool way of making your console feel fresh and new.

The New 3DS offers some compelling reasons to upgrade, especially when considering new games will either be exclusive to, or make use of the new hardware. We've seen it with Smash Bros., and it's been confirmed for Majora's Mask 3D, though we don't know how yet.


If you don't yet own a 3DS, or are in the market for an upgrade, then wait. The New 3DS is absolutely for you. If you're not yet sure, you can likely hang on for a few more months, but you'll eventually have to take the plunge.

In either case, the New 3DS is absolutely worth it. This is the realization of Nintendo's original vision for a glasses-free 3D portable and it shows. It's got the beauty of Nintendo's original DS Lite, and the brains of.. well... itself. It's a greater version of an already great handheld.

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