Gadgets for humans

Nintendo unveils ‘new’ 3DS and 3DS LL video game consoles, coming to Japan on October 11


Nintendo is maintaining its tradition of slowly developing handheld gaming consoles with lighter, sleeker and more powerful redesigns. Today, the Japanese company announced two new 3DS models, simply called the “new” 3DS and “new” 3DS LL.

Each unit is a little larger and lighter than its predecessor, and features a small nub called the “C-stick” that sits on the right-hand side, above the A/B/X/Y buttons. It’s not a traditional analog stick, or even another Circle Pad for that matter, but should prove useful for games that let you control the camera.

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The improved 3DS consoles will be fitted with new ZR and ZL buttons on the top, joining the existing L and R bumpers. The smaller “new” 3DS also has colorful face buttons inspired by the old SNES controller, which is a nice touch.

The handhelds also feature an improved CPU for faster eShop browsing and downloads, as well as built-in NFC for Amiibo, Nintendo’s upcoming line of game-integrated figurines. The company has also revamped the system’s 3D functionality, widening the area of effect for all players.

To dive into the specs: While folded, the “new” 3DS is 142 mm wide and 80.6 mm deep. It’s also a fraction taller than its predecessor – 21.6mm in comparison to 21 mm – but comes in at 253 grams, which is lighter than the original 3DS. The “new” 3DS LL, meanwhile, measures 160mm across, 93.5 mm deep and 21.5 mm high while folded. It weighs 329 grams in the hand.

Battery life should also be marginally improved on both consoles.

Although the 3DS had a rocky start, Nintendo has worked hard to develop its library and make the console an exciting proposition. While these new models still aren’t as powerful as Sony’s PlayStation Vita or Vita Slim, they’re almost certainly the best 3DS versions to date. For first-time buyers and existing 3DS owners alike, that should make them pretty tempting.

The “new” 3DS and 3DS LL will be sold for 16,000 yen ($154) and 18,800 yen ($181) respectively in Japan from October 11. Confirmed colors include blue (3DS LL only), black and white (smaller 3DS only).

Top image credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

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Published August 29, 2014 — 11:54 UTC