Coming to Japan in October are two new models of Nintendo’s 3D-backed handhelds.
Friday morning, Nintendo revealed a hardware make over for their 3DS family of handhelds during a Japan-only Nintendo Direct. Branded the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS LL (XL for us westerners), the two new revisions are highlighted by improved 3D viewing angles, more buttons, and NFC support for their upcoming line of Amiibo figures.
The New 3DS/3DS LL also ditches regular SD cards for Micro SD ones – with an insert slot now underneath the base cover – and a relocated 3DS cartridge slot, moving from the top of the 3DS to the bottom. This significant hardware change allows for the placement of two new buttons right next to the Left & Right triggers, named ZL & ZR.
And while we’re on the subject of buttons, Nintendo has also included a miniature control-stick above the handheld’s customary four buttons (which interestingly enough now carry a Super Famicom, rainbow-colored scheme), dubbed the “C-Stick.”
If I were to describe this nub-looking input, I would probably liken it to the little red pointing-stick featured on Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of business laptops. Here though, the inclusion of the C-Stick is to provide users camera movement in games such as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate without needing to carry around the infamous “Franken-stick”, a.k.a. the Circle Pad Pro.
Moving on to other important handheld factors, e.g., battery life, the New 3DS now clocks in at 3.5 to 6 hours on a single charge, while the New 3DS XL holds up to at least 3.5 to 7 hours. Internally, Nintendo has also bumped up the hardware CPU, supposedly making the downloading of eShop content and Miiverse operation to run faster.
There are also reports from Nintendo that software created specifically for the New 3DS/3DS LL is being made, such as a newly announced port of the Nintendo Wii role-playing game, Xenoblade Chronicles, which will not be compatible with older hardware.
Lastly, Nintendo notes that the screen size to both revisions are slightly bigger than their previous counterparts, but keeps with the same resolution. There are also some subtle length and width changes (pics below) when compared the current, on-shelf models, but they certainly don’t stand out to the untrained eye.
Right now, Nintendo plans on launching the New Nintendo 3DS (priced at 16,000 yen, around $154 USD) & New Nintendo 3DS LL (18,800 yen, around $181 USD) on October 11 in Japan, with no immediate plans for a North American or European release no later than 2015.
Each handheld will be available in two colors at launch, white or black for the 3DS and metallic blue or metallic black for the LL, and for the 3DS model only, purchasable interchangeable covers that come uniquely designed individually.