For those counting at home, Nintendo has released three different versions of its Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system and is gearing up to release a fourth version, called the New Nintendo 3DS XL. As with each new release, there’s the question of whether the new hardware is worth buying. It’s a complicated question, but we’re here to help you decide.
When does the New Nintendo 3DS XL come out in the U.S.? February 13.
How much will the New Nintendo 3DS XL cost? The retail price is $200.
Is it available in any other sizes? No. While other countries have gotten two versions of the device — a regular-size one and a bigger “XL” version — the U.S. is only getting the XL version, at least for now.
What colors will it come in? The New Nintendo 3DS XL will be available in red and black. Nintendo is also releasing special editions of the system for The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. These editions will have special faceplates featuring designs from the games. Note that they’re being released in limited numbers and may be difficult to find in stock.
What new features are in the New Nintendo 3DS XL? The New Nintendo 3DS XL has a few improvements over the current models available in the United States.
Improved 3-D effect: The New 3DS comes with face-tracking technology, which gives the system a much wider viewing area for its 3-D effects. In previous models, if you move your head or tilt the system while 3-D is enabled, the visuals become blurry, obscuring your view of the game. It’s bad enough that many people forego the 3-D effect altogether.
C-stick: This little nub is seated above the face buttons and acts as a second analog stick. For the most part, it will be used to control the camera in many games, just like the second analog stick on a PS4 or Xbox One controller.
Extra shoulder buttons: Two additional shoulder buttons are located next to the regular shoulder buttons. Current games won’t use these buttons, but games in the future will be able to.
More power: It’s also more powerful than its predecessor, which allows for faster downloads, faster game loading, and smoother Web surfing. This extra horsepower will also allow the system to play games that won’t work on the current 3DS models. So far, the only game announced that won’t work on older hardware is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, but several upcoming games will have special features when played on the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Auto-brightness: The new 3DS will automatically adjust the brightness of its screens based on the amount of light in the room, like an iPhone.
Are there any drawbacks to the New Nintendo 3DS XL?
No AC adapter included: Crazily, Nintendo has decided not to include an AC power adapter in the New 3DS XL package. The system is useless without one, so you’ll either have to buy one separately or use the power adaptor from an earlier Nintendo handheld. The New Nintendo 3DS XL will be compatible with power adaptors from Nintendo DSi, Nintendo DSi XL, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS.
MicroSD cards: The New 3DS XL will use MicroSD cards instead of the standard SD cards used in current 3DS systems. It comes with a 4GB MicroSD card, but if you want bigger one, you’ll have to buy it separately.
Transferring data: If you want to transfer your games and save files from one 3DS to another, you’ll need to have both 3DS systems in the room at the same time. This is a pain if you plan to sell your old 3DS.
Should you buy a New Nintendo 3DS XL? That’s the big question, isn’t it? The answer depends on what hardware you already have. Let’s look at a few scenarios.
You don’t have any 3DS system: In this case, we can unequivocally say that you should buy the New Nintendo 3DS XL. It’s a fantastic gaming platform with a library that’s absolutely crammed with must-play games. A number of great-looking games are scheduled to come out this year, too — check out our list here.
You have a 3DS or 3DS XL: In this case, you probably don’t need to buy a New 3DS XL yet. Unless any of the new features are worth $200 to you, there’s no reason to rush out and buy a new system.
You have a Nintendo 2DS: Again, probably not, at least not yet. Unless you’re dying to experience the 3-D feature or if any of the new features especially appeal to you, there’s no reason to rush out and buy a new system.
When to buy if you decide to wait: If you really want to play Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, you can wait to buy a New 3DS until the game comes out in April. Presumably, more games that require the extra processing power of the New 3DS XL will be released eventually, but none have been announced yet.
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