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Should you wait for the smaller New 3DS?

While for some it might make sense to buy the smaller new 3DS *if* it comes out in North America, I'm not entirely sure if it's a great idea...

Nintendo fans seem to be really happy that the smaller New 3DS came out with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. The smaller New 3DS is pretty great after all. It's more portable, has all the bonus features of the New 3DS XL, and as an added bonus you can change the plates on the outside. 

While I'm certainly not going to rain on the parade of these happy folks, I'm not entirely sold that getting the smaller New 3DS is a great bargain. To make sure I was spending my money wisely - and not delaying my New 3DS adventures any longer than I had to - I decided to do some snooping on the specs and practicality of the smaller handheld. This is what I discovered...

A smaller device means longer battery life... right?

Actually, no. When the 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS were compared the regular 3DS suffered from abysmal battery life against the competition. This was namely due to its early release, and poor design choices. However, according to this review on the two New 3DS versions, the smaller New 3DS might - once again - have lower gameplay times on average compared to the New 3DS XL.

According to the review, the New 3DS XL has between 3 to 7 hours of gameplay depending on the game and whether 3D is activated. However, the regular New 3DS only has between 3 and 6. While it's not that much of a leap, it does mean you are going to be hitting the charger that more times during gameplay.

So there's 1 point for the New 3DS XL.

How about the carry-potential?

In terms of weight, the New 3DS XL weighs 329 grams. On the other hand, the New 3DS weighs in at only 253 grams. While the weight difference may be small, it certainly would get noticeable if you're planning for long-term playing. After hours of gaming, the XL will certainly feel a lot heavier than its lighter companion.

However, the physical size is also something to take into consideration. In terms of overall size the XL is about 13% bigger than the regular New 3DS. This can make it a hassle to find somewhere to fit the bulkier machine.

Does size matter for you?

The screen on the New 3DS XL is about 20% bigger. If you really want a larger screen it's a sacrifice you'll have to make. Just remember, the difference in screen size between the two New 3DS devices is much smaller of a gap than the 3DS and the 3DS XL.

I'll give 1 point to the New 3DS for its portability, and 0.5 to the XL for screen size.

Customization is a plus!

The New 3DS XL cannot change its plates, and that is something that many people are upset about. I guess I can sympathize with that, but it's not something that comes across as a deal breaker - much like the larger screen of the XL isn't a deal maker. My only concern about the face plates, however, would be the possibility of the clips getting weaker as this wouldn't be a concern for the XL version.

0.5 for the standard regardless, I suppose.

And the results are...

Tied. When it comes down to it, the real make-or-break features will be the customizable plates, or the larger screen. I suppose price would be a big thing to consider as well since the New 3DS is likely going to be a bit cheaper than the New 3DS XL by maybe $20-$30.

When it came to my decision, I opted for the XL. I came across an open-box New 3DS XL for about $179.99 CDN - that's about $135 USD - which was returned to Gamestop after they picked up the wrong color. Since red is actually my favorite color, I simply could not pass it up!

What do you guys think? Is the standard New 3DS worth the wait - if ever? Would you buy the Animal Crossing bundle just to get your hands on one? Do you have a New 3DS XL and want to complain about it? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!

Published Sep. 28th 2015
  • Michael Slevin
    Columnist
    Personally, I went with the XL! I just like the bigger screen. My question is why can't I have interchangeable faceplates and the big screen? :/
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    It probably has something to do with the efficiency of the manufacturing, or maybe standardizing the sizes/durability of the plates is harder on the XL. I know with the XL it's already a bit hard to keep the back plate on due to the fact that it's held on pretty much by 2 small screws.

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