August 21, 2012

Nintendo’s New, Larger 3DS Goes On Sale In America

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

For years, many tech companies were in a race to the bottom so to speak, making slimmer and smaller devices than previous generations. Now, as touch is almost expected in every device (how many times have you tried to swipe something on your laptop screen?) some companies are rethinking their “smaller is better” strategies, and beefing up their displays. For example, Samsung´s continued push towards larger screens and styluses has given us the behemoth Galaxy Note, complete with a 5.3-inch display.

Even Apple is rumored to be expanding their iPhone to include a slightly larger screen, and could be the first time the company has ever changed their smartphone screen size.

Now, Nintendo is joining these ranks as they release their 3DS XL handheld gaming console. This new unit is approximately 90% larger than its smaller sibling, the Nintendo 3DS. Made of two screens (top screen for 3D, bottom screen for control) the clam-shell handheld is closer to the size of Sony´s newest handheld console, the PS Vita. Other differences include the obvious battery, which has been boosted to power a larger screen. This new battery can power the device anywhere from 3.5 to 6 hours while running in 3D mode.

Just as other companies before them, Nintendo was able to make these changes without adding any extra weight to the device. Other than these few exceptions, the 3DS XL is largely similar to the familiar 3DS, including cameras on the front and rear of the device, 3D screen up top and touch screen below, familiar circle and directional control pads and even a stylus. (The 3DS XL houses its stylus on the right hand side, rather than the back of the device, like the familiar 3DS.)

Nintendo announced the new 3DS XL in June, saying the new handheld would go on sale in Japan on July 28 for $235 and would be available in America on Sunday, August 19th, for $199. In addition to the larger screen and more powerful battery, the new 3DS XL also ships with a 4GB SD card, double the capacity of the current 3DS.

The new 3DS XL is also available in either red or blue and, at nearly $200, costs $30 more than the current 3DS. Interestingly, this new 3DS XL is still cheaper than the 3DS introductory price of $250.

Nintendo´s new, slightly larger handheld also features a new, anti-reflective LCD display, which is supposed to deliver clear, 3D graphics without any added glare. According to PCMag, these new screens have been treated with a coating which has reduced the amount of glare from 12% on the 3DS to only 3% on the new 3DS XL.

"It's a new technology that didn't exist when we made the Nintendo 3DS," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said during a recent question and answer session.

When speaking about this new device and the anti-reflective coating, Iwata said, "This device beats all previous Nintendo game systems."

"The feeling of size when you hold it, as well as the impression it makes when you open it, are quite different from our past devices," said Junichiro Miyatake, a member of the design group.

"Even though it's big, you don't sense that. I hope people will carry it around and play it everywhere."

As far as real world experience, this new offering from Nintendo appears to be a winner, as Larry Frum from reviewed the device and called it a “larger, stronger package.”