Review: New 3DS XL (AUS) American Import (Hardware)

Reviewed by Ailan, posted Dec 3, 2014
I have been playing handhelds since the original gameboy. The handhelds I've owned are the Gameboy, Gamegear, GBA, DS, and the 3DS XL, amongst others. Hopefully my review will help those on the fence. I'm purchasing this unit from the US.
Dec 3, 2014
The New Nintendo 3DS has garnered a fair bit of attention. The current news by the Gateway team has made this an exciting time to purchase a new piece of Nintendo Hardware. In spite of news regarding cubic ninja homebrew/gateway/sky3ds, is it worth $260 USD if you're importing? Thats getting near as expensive as a next-gen console. I'll try to keep this in perspective.
I purchased my New 3DS XL (AU) from play-asia, it arrived in the Eastern US in 4 days. Still no word yet about customs charges so I'll update as I find out. The package is surprisingly small and compact. It does not include a charger. The unit came with FW, and I updated it to 9.2. I live in the US, but was forced to choose the UK as my NNID region. The community knows that gateway is going to support this version, but what makes the New 3DS worth having? I'll list the changes and features by rank.

1. 3D Improvements
The 3D is incredibly striking. I don't think this has been mentioned but in my tests, the 3D was visible to onlookers. Yes. The Old 3DS you'd have to cut off 3D to demonstrate something, the new unit has a really good arc, while tracking your head. The 3D is my favorite feature by far. I enjoyed the original 3D but was frustrated by its sensitivity. No more headaches, no straining, its in 3D and its very very good. Old games have improved in this way.

2. Circle Pad Pro
The C-Stick is an interesting addition and I've seen a lot of criticisms, requesting a second knob instead of the thinkpad gspot. After playing a couple demos RE/MGS I found the c-stick very welcoming. It had the precision I was hoping for. I like that it doesn't move, it keeps your right hand more stable. Again, I found it to be very responsive. I imagine with a little bit more experience with it and we'll be singing its praises. I also like that its a step towards an alternative/secondary n64 inspired POV hat than a secondary analog. The benefit to this strategy is it will become more commonplace amongst other genres. Another benefit to look forward to is old Circle pad pro owners can look forward to many 3ds titles supporting it.

3. Button placement
I actually really appreciate the removal of the stomp pad start/select. They are in a much more accessible place. Its faster gaming. Negligible to some people but I did find the new placement welcome. Buttons are spaced out more than the original, definitely better for larger hands.

4. Construction
The construction is a lot more sleek on this unit. Replaceable covers? Not for the XL. MicroSD cards instead of SD is a nice addition. The colored buttons were a nice touch.

5. Spec Improvements
Yes this 3DS is quick. SSB does not force close your system, downloads seem like lightning now, going home doesn't mean phone home. Its very welcomed. I cannot comment on the quality of games that will come but I'm hopeful. Try to remember too that when homebrew was announced, it made the CPU/ram improvements that much more significant.

6. Things that you might care about
Speakers - Only slightly louder, but noticeable versus the old 3DS.
NFC Amiibo support - This is a great inclusion, however I'm waiting to see how its implemented down the road in the software. Its meaningless without good games supporting the functionality.
Backwards compatibility all the way back to the DS.

An imported AUS/EUR New 3DS XL is going to cost ~$260 and its not a complete redesign. This is the same system with marked improvements. I will give you my honest opinion based on cost. In my opinion, the New 3DS XL is worth it. I compare it to seeing a movie and watching it in 3D for the first time. Every game I demoed benefited from the new system, if you like 3D. I really wanted a Circle pad pro for RE and a few others, but the New 3DS seems to be the best of both worlds. I feel that the New 3DS on top of having more powerful hardware, adds replayability to your entire library.

Emunand - This is important, if the 9.0.0 firmware series of the original 3ds and the new 3ds does not have emunand, it is likely that it will not be able to play future games. However, it could make sense that Gateway left this out of the presentation. For one we are near the very latest firmware. It is possible that Gateway team did not have in their possession a 9.0 New 3DS to demonstrate on. Or maybe its assumed, because devmenu was shown. Gateway is running on the very latest firmware, its possible they overlooked this critical feature because at this point we have %100 title compatibility and they are aiming at the huge OG 3DS crowd. There are multiple reasons, but at this point we have to hope that it is possible, perhaps they haven't completed emunand and thats what we're waiting on. Emunand makes the card safer.

In spite of this, even if emunand is not a possibility and there will be no future games... I still feel that the New 3DS is worth having for the replayability on all the great games we already have.

Update on customs import fees.

+ 3D is amazing
+ Built-in Circle Pad Pro (More support down the road)
+ More powerful hardware/ram etc (Homebrew will need this)
+ Backwards Compatibility
+ Premium Casing
+ 9.0.0 Firmware
+ New Nintendo Handheld Months Before Release
- Price
- Region-locked
- Availability
- No replaceable covers
- No charger included
out of 10
Concerns? Emunand


  • Aman27deep
  • Ailan
  • Ailan
  • justln
  • Ailan
  • Glisern
  • Ailan