6 Things You Should Know About the New Nintendo 3DS

© Nintendo
© Nintendo

On February 16, the New Nintendo 3DS XL hits store shelves for an updated take on the portable system. The New Nintendo 3DS XL (quite the mouthful) boasts improved processing power, better 3D than its predecessor, design improvements on the system itself, support for new technology like amiibo, and more.

With yet another take on the 3DS, you might be wondering to yourself if it’s worth it to pick up yet another portable gaming system from Nintendo. Whether you’re considering an upgrade to your existing DS or just curious about the features of the new one, here are 6 things you should know about the New Nintendo 3DS.

There are a lot of design improvements.

The buttons and more have been shifted around from the 3DS XL, but it’s a welcome change. With the volume up on the top screen, and the wireless slider moved entirely, you won’t find yourself fumbling and accidentally changing the volume on the system.

You also won’t accidentally remove the game cartridge when grabbing the DS, which I have done many times (when the game wasn’t saved, no less)—the game now slides in the front instead of on the hinge.

I’m also happy to see the start and select buttons back where I’d expect them to be, instead of in the middle, leaving the Home button much easier to find when your eyes are glued to the screen.

My only complaint? The stylus isn’t where I’m used to, either, so I find myself still fiddling with the right of the system to find it, only to remember it’s now moved to the front.

Overall, I’m a big fan of these changes. There are also new buttons with the system, the C stick (most likely used for camera control) and the ZL and ZR buttons.

And, in case you’re wondering, screen size and system size haven’t changed from the 3DS XL.

A power cord isn’t included in the box.

The New Nintendo 3DS does not come with a power charging cord (AC adapter). This was done as a cost-cutting strategy, as most gamers who buy the New 3DS already have a compatible 2DS/3DS adapter, but it leaves people who never owned a system in the lurch. Pick up the official AC adapter when you buy the system if you’re a newcomer to Nintendo.

It’s not a simple process to transfer games and data.

If you’re not new to the DS and you upgrade to the New 3DS, you’ll find that it’s not a simple process to transfer games you’ve purchased in the Nintendo eShop. It’s not like the iPhone App Store, for example; you can’t just re-download the games from the eShop. Follow the instructions on the Support site and on screen to make sure you don’t miss an important step when moving over your games and save data.

New 3DS and 3DS XL side by side during transfer. Photo: Kelly Knox
New 3DS and 3DS XL side by side during transfer. Photo: Kelly Knox

The 3D really does look better.

I was never a big fan of the 3D technology on the 3DS XL, but I have to admit that I’m impressed with the improvements on the New 3DS. “Face-tracking,” one of the touted new features, actually does a remarkable job of keeping the top screen in stable 3D. Majora’s Mask 3D looks gorgeous, and even older games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf look good. If 3D gaming is your thing, the New 3DS delivers.

Other notable new features include amiibo compatibility.

Along with the new controls and 3D face-tracking, the New Nintendo 3DS also includes new amiibo functionality for compatible games like Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Improved processing and a better camera round out the list of notable new features for Nintendo’s latest handheld system.

It’s coming out this month.

The New Nintendo 3DS XL is available for $199.99. Launching in the U.S. on February 13 alongside The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, there are enough improvements to make the upgrade a consideration for casual and serious gamers alike.

Stay tuned to GeekMom for a closer look at Majora’s Mask 3D!

GeekMom received a promotional item for review purposes.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, Forever Young Adult, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.