Nintendo has announced new models of the 3DS and the 3DS XL, with an additional analog stick and triggers and increased CPU power.
Simply referred to as the New 3DS and the New 3DS XL, the new handhelds feature an improved screen with better 3D effects, allowing the player a much wider viewing angle and resulting in less image blurring when viewed from the side. The models also boast improved battery life (between 3.5 and 6 hours for the New 3DS and between 3.5 and 7 hours for the new 3DS XL) and more powerful processors, which will lead to the creation of games that will only work on the new models. How much the processor is improved is currently unclear, but Nintendo is promising that the eShop and Miiverse load much faster and browsers will now also support HTML5, which means that videos will be able to be played whilst browsing.
The new analog control stick – the C-button – is located just above the right-hand face buttons. Reminiscent of the old Gamecube controllers, it grants the player the ability to control games with dual analog controls. In addition to this, the models will also incorporate two more triggers – the ZR and ZL buttons, which are conveniently located for use with the analog sticks. The additions bring the console more in line with the Circle Pad Pro add-on for the original 3DS.
Other features coming to the new units include a new Micro SD card slot underneath the base cover, camera improvements and an automatic brightness sensor. The face buttons have also had a revamp, resembling the classic SNES controller buttons from the early 90s. The cartridge slot has now been moved to the front of the device to make room for the extra triggers, and the power adapter has been moved to the center at the back.
For the first time, the handhelds will have built-in near-field communication (NFC) technology, which will let the devices communicate with Nintendo’s new amiibo figurines. Similar to Skylanders and Disney Infinity, players will be able to buy figurines inspired by the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game and put them into various compatible titles. Currently only twelve have been announced on release later this year: Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager, and the Wii Fit Trainer.
If that wasn’t enough for you, the devices will also feature customizable front and rear plates. Nintendo has so far announced that 38 designs will be available and will retail for 1,500 yen (about $15) each. A firmware update for both the current and new consoles will be coming soon that will let players add themes to their menus.
The devices are currently only set for release in Japan in October, but a spokesperson for Nintendo Europe confirmed that those in the Western world won’t see them until 2015. The New 3DS is set for retail at 16,000 yen ($154) and the new 3DS XL for 18,800 yen ($181).
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