We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.
3DS

New 3DS, It Can't Be Worse than the Old 3DS

by Andy Goergen - September 1, 2014, 8:58 pm PDT
Total comments: 43

I’ve been waiting for the day.

The 3DS is garbage. Okay, maybe that's a bit strong, but hear me out: it has some of the best Nintendo games of the past 10 years in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D Land. It is the home of the first fully mature digital storefront for Nintendo’s games, and the first place I played gems like Gunman Clive and Steamworld Dig. By all accounts, it’s a great platform, which is why it’s so unfortunate that the handheld itself is so poorly made.

The problems really start with the aesthetics of the handheld; it’s just not a pretty device to look at. The design team is, theoretically, the same ones that brought us sexy devices like the Game Boy Advance SP and the DS Lite, so it’s a shame to see the original 3DS in all its taco-style glory. This would be forgivable if the system didn’t have so many other fundamental flaws.

For starters, the shoulder buttons on the original 3DS are known to give out. Secondly, my D-Pad has a distinct lack of sensitivity to the point where I feel I need to press much harder than I should have to. The worst offender, really, is the fact that the ridges surrounding the bottom screen will dig into the top screen when the system is closed, leading to large vertical scratches on the 3D display. I had it fixed under warranty once, the same time I got my shoulder buttons fixed, and stupidly didn’t think to put a screen protector on so it happened again a year later. I cannot look at my 3DS without noticing the vertical scratches.

I could live with those irritating scratches and less than ideal D-Pad, but eventually my “A” button began to lose responsiveness too. I can repeatedly, and definitively, press it without getting any response from the system. The handheld is over three years old, so maybe that’s somewhat forgivable, but combined with the other problems I’m not in a mood to forgive.

I purchased my 3DS at the system’s launch in 2011, so it’s entirely possible that these issues got ironed out later in the production of the hardware. Presumably they got ironed out in revisions like 3DS XL and 2DS, but those aren’t exactly “upgrades” as much as they are sideways steps towards improvement. While the 3DS XL is by all accounts a much better piece of hardware than the 3DS, it’s huge. I wanted the improvements in that system, but not at the expense of the system’s portability, so I waited.

I was all set to finally cave and pick up a 3DS XL this holiday, but decided I would hold off a few more months to wait and see if they would release a remodeled version of the standard unit. Finally, a few days ago, they have. And not only is it a remodel, it’s a true DSi-stlyle upgrade, complete with a beast of an exclusive game in Xenoblade Chronicles (a game I still haven’t played yet).

I won’t argue with others that this clearly does not make much business sense. Splitting the 3DS market at this point feels like potentially a really bad move, but as a consumer who’s been itching to replace his launch system with a shiny new model, I couldn’t be happier. It still may not be as sexy as the DS Lite or GBA SP, but it’s a major step in the right direction.

Images

Talkback

RodrigueSeptember 01, 2014

I have a launch 3DS too and haven't had any issues with the buttons, I used a soft case to carry it around though.

Also have had 3DS XL and carried it in a pouch without issues so far.

I don't really get why people are whining, I don't remember DSi being so hated, I guess it's because it actually has a good game coming for it? Whatever, I'll get one when it feels worth it just like any other platform. I waited for the Zelda XL and don't regret it. I have no issues whatsoever with buying a new 3DS considering the massive improvements to functionality and power, if software warrants it of course. And the regular 3DS is powerful enough to handle many types of games, including... all the ones announced for 2014 and 2015, so it's not like there'll be a shortage of games on that system.

azekeSeptember 01, 2014

Screen scratches thing was still somewhat present even in XL models D:

Stupid, stupid, stupid oversight.

chilenozoSeptember 01, 2014

AMEN!

I never had a handheld....but was sure to buy a 3DS....but wanted a truly portable one with better battery life than the original.

The battery got extended between 1/2 hr to 1 hr, which is meh...but still an improvement.

The market won't be fragmented cause it makes absolutely no financial sense at all to go into a crazy mode of releases for the New3DS...who will forget 40 million units?...instead I predict it will ocasionally receive Wii ports during those dry months of no big 3DS games. Making ports is always cheaper and faster than anything else.

The ability to swap skins is awesome, and so having a more stable 3D effect.

Faster OS, faster web browsing, faster downloading.

Great article!

p.s.: Question. Who doesn't use a screen-protector in some of their touch-pad electronic devices these days?...they are all scratch attractors!, I learned that during the pda and early ipod years!...doesn't matter if the New3DS has corrected the scratch issue, you should always have a screen protector!

NemoSeptember 01, 2014

I am in the same boat, with the original 3DS model: failing buttons & scratched screen (mostly the two vertical lines). I've been wanting to get a new version, but it was hard to justify paying $200 for the XL, just to play the games I already own with no real benefit (other than slightly larger screen & not scratched/broken). So, the timing of this is pretty good for me.

AdrockSeptember 02, 2014

The 3DS XL is the first Nintendo handheld that I ever had a real issue with. I got the hinge stress crack that was common on the early DS Lites, but it still functioned. Two months after I bought my 3DS XL, the L button gave out and I had to send it into Nintendo. I was able to haggle the repair down to $70, but that's only after the lady looked up my Club Nintendo account and saw all the games and systems I registered. I probably could have haggled the price down more.

Nintendo typically has the most durable hardware in the business. My PS3 Slim crapped out on me last week like my PS2 before it. I still have my original Gameboy Advance SP which still works wonderfully. I'm currently playing through Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow on my DSi. For now, I'm sticking with my L-button repaired 3DS XL. Nintendo's track record is pretty solid so even if it breaks down, I'm willing to pick up a New 3DS XL to replace it without a second thought. If it breaks down before then, well, shit...

I had five separate DS units (a launch model, three Lites and a DSi) break on me in five different ways, which is kind of impressive when you think about it. No other Nintendo hardware has ever failed on me, though, including my launch 3DS that I passed on to a friend when I got my XL that's still going strong.

AVSeptember 02, 2014

sadly it doesn't look like the NEW 3DS will fix the screen scratch issue.
I understand what the original 3DS had this, they made a form and try to rush it to market and didn't want to fix it up after the fact.


Adding the bumpers was a way the XL attempted to fix it, without changing the form factor but it fails.


Now that NEW 3DS has a new form factor to fix the C-stick and LZ/RZ buttons they have no excuse to NOT make the screen sizes equal in size.


The 3D screen being bigger in size than the touch screen has been the problem, and if they made both screens equal in size they would be flush and not have this issue just like how DS never had this issue.


As a business standpoint it makes sense to just leave it alone because production costs and they have screens ready in that size and redesigning the mold of the model but this should have never been a problem to begin with.


I had this issue with my first 3DS and when I upgraded to XL I put on screen protectors right away and its helped to stop the scratches to a degree, I'm hoping after the scratches become more noticeable I can just buy new screen protectors and it will be fine but this flaw is stupid and should have never started

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusSeptember 02, 2014

The only problem I have is the name, New 3DS is the best they could come up with? 3DSi, Super 3Ds, X 3DS, Mega 3DS, Neo 3DS, N3DS, 3DS+. Its almost as bad as calling the third xbox the first one.

They already call one of the models the 2DS, why not just say fuck it and call it the 4DS?

Triforce HermitSeptember 02, 2014

I have a original 3DS and have invested maybe 1500+ hours into it and have never had a problem with it. Strangely the ridges never bother the top screen, just the circle pad. It seems like it would.

broodwarsSeptember 02, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

They already call one of the models the 2DS, why not just say **** it and call it the 4DS?

Great Scott.  :P: :

SundoulosSeptember 02, 2014

This only makes me hope that Nintendo will add to the general confusion by calling their next console the Wii New.

Nile Boogie ReturnsSeptember 02, 2014

When I think about how many "Ds's" I have purchased and how many more I will, I stagger myself.


A Phat DS (launch)
2 Ds Lites (white)
Another DS Lite (pink)
DSI XL (sexy)
Launch 3DS (aqua)
Red 3DS (my son's)


And we both are getting another DS in the next 6months


LTD SMASH4 next month and (NEW) 3DS next summer (possible import)



"I am part of the problem!"

marvel_moviefan_2012September 02, 2014

I was torn, I was already planning on getting an XL like this month, for my birthday. Now I am struggling with get the XL or wait. I am still leaning towards just get the XL now and upgrade in a couple of years when there are more games and the price comes down but I waited this long to get an XL so I should have known they were due to replace it.

Evan_BSeptember 02, 2014

I upgraded from a launch 3DS to a 3DSXL last year around this time, and while I've enjoyed the larger brother of the 3DS I'm ready to return to the handheld's original size. I think with the updates to the form, many of the issues I had with my launch 3DS will be done away with. I'm ready for what could be considered the definitive version of the handheld, and I think that the customization options add to the cool factor of the New 3DS very much.

Art_de_CatSeptember 02, 2014

I've worn out my 3DS with love definitely.  R button doesn't function like it should, battery life is getting low, and the thumb pad is finally breaking on it.  Love the thing to death.  I was dissapointed when I had called about the R button to be told if there was a major issue I wouldnt get my original color back.....  wth?


The improvements sound good, but the new button looks cheap and the colors being offered don't excite me. 

Ian SaneSeptember 02, 2014

The things the writer complained about are the very things that in theory can be addressed in a 3DS XL style redesign where the physical design is altered but the hardware is not.  When the GBA SP was announced I was a little annoyed since it addressed key design flaws with my original GBA but ultimately it up to me if those changes were worth buying a new system for and I didn't feel they were.  But that was fine because I could still play all the same games the GBA SP owners could.

But now there are going to be games that I can't play on my 3DS XL.  The writer's complaints don't require a faster CPU or extra buttons to be addressed.  He would be fine with a physical design variation.  "Well I want to buy a new model anyway so this is fine for me" is a pretty self-centered way to look at it.  What about those that don't want to buy a new system and have now been given the ultimatum from Nintendo to buy a half-step upgrade or miss out on certain games?  Your needs don't require the changes to the specs so why support them?

VahneSeptember 02, 2014

Perfectly valid article.
Personally I have the original Zelda 3DS and have yet to meet any response issues, but there are other designs issues with the danged thing. My circle pad's rubber top is falling apart, which has never happened to me on any Nintendo console (even the N64 stick) and the plastic top layer is peeling off of my d-pad even though I barely use it. The d-pad itself is terrible; it's clicky and practically painful to use. Strangely, my little brother's Aqua Blue isn't clicky. Still not a good d-pad, but not as bad as mine. Not to mention the top screen scratches. I have a screen protector, so the scratches are on the screen protector but I haven't checked to see if they penetrated further and scratched my actual top screen.

marvel_moviefan_2012September 02, 2014

Here is a thought, maybe the 3DS isn't a bad design but the reason they wear out is because of actual wear. I mean if Wii U is not appealing to most Nintendo gamers then it makes sense they would be playing their 3DS instead of Wii U so that means it gets more play and wears faster right? I am just curious because if the design really is that bad I don't think a hardware revision is in order I think I will just stay away completely. But if it is because people are playing 3DS more due to playing Wii U less than expected that would make some sense.

KhushrenadaSeptember 02, 2014

Could be. I've got over 500 hours in Animal Crossing: New Leaf alone. I've been playing my 3DS pretty steady now for 2 years. It's the system I keep turning on to play games. I've played a few Wii games and Gamecube games in between but those have been the exception.

Mop it upSeptember 02, 2014

I agree, the original 3DS model felt like a prototype that should not have been released in its current state. I switched to an XL and I've never regretted it, it's much better in more ways than just larger screens. It's nice they'll finally be replacing the original with a better build model, but it should have happened sooner.

The only Nintendo system I've ever had issue with is the Wii, which had both the common disc drive breaking and later the infamous GPU melting. More recent Nintendo systems don't seem to be as high-quality as their older stuff, and this switch seems to have happened around ten years ago.

OblivionSeptember 02, 2014

Wow, GPUs melting? What caused that?

Ian SaneSeptember 02, 2014

Quote from: Mop

I agree, the original 3DS model felt like a prototype that should not have been released in its current state. I switched to an XL and I've never regretted it, it's much better in more ways than just larger screens. It's nice they'll finally be replacing the original with a better build model, but it should have happened sooner.

The only Nintendo system I've ever had issue with is the Wii, which had both the common disc drive breaking and later the infamous GPU melting. More recent Nintendo systems don't seem to be as high-quality as their older stuff, and this switch seems to have happened around ten years ago.

Ten years ago, eh?  Wasn't there some sort of change of management at Nintendo around that time?  Hmmmmm.

I'll cut Nintendo some slack on disc based systems.  Their older cartridge consoles didn't have moving parts and lasers.  The technology is just a lot more delicate today and that's beyond Nintendo's control.  But the handhelds aren't affected in the same way.  All Nintendo really has to do is be more durable than the other guys and that is not a hard benchmark to reach so they've likely slacked off.  If the videogame market is willing to accept the RROD then Nintendo's products look heavy duty in comparison.

AdrockSeptember 02, 2014

Quote from: Mop

I agree, the original 3DS model felt like a prototype that should not have been released in its current state. I switched to an XL and I've never regretted it, it's much better in more ways than just larger screens. It's nice they'll finally be replacing the original with a better build model, but it should have happened sooner.

The only Nintendo system I've ever had issue with is the Wii, which had both the common disc drive breaking and later the infamous GPU melting. More recent Nintendo systems don't seem to be as high-quality as their older stuff, and this switch seems to have happened around ten years ago.

With Nintendo's home consoles, it has a lot to do with using moving parts and hardware that requires cooling. Nintendo probably wouldn't have had any issues with Wii if they didn't insist on it being the size of three DVD cases. That was such a strange priority for them.

With their handhelds, Nintendo was forced to make some compromises on 3DS that they didn't have to worry about before. The circle pad seems to cause the most problems. Its slightly greater height had to be accommodated to the point where the top and bottom are no longer flush when the 3DS is closed, like DS Lite and DSi before it. This is true on both the regular and XL models. With DS Lite and DSi, the top part of the "shell" curves slightly at the edges. Perhaps Nintendo was afraid this might cause problems on 3DS due to the extra space needed for the circle pad. It may be structurally weaker and putting pressure on it could damage it more easily. The border around the bottom screen appears to be the same height as the circle pad and I kind of feel like it's there to make it more sturdy. Or I could be completely wrong.

The original 3DS had other odd design choices that don't appear to serve any real purpose such as the three side layers. Why?

Mop it upSeptember 02, 2014

Yeah, I recognise that disc-based systems are inherently less durable than cartridge ones, but there are still ways to make them more durable to a point. The closeness of the components in the Wii is one example, which is what can cause the GPU melting especially if Standby mode is/was used. There are other things too, like how a flip-top drive is more durable than a slot-loading drive, and Wii's ability to accept the smaller GameCube discs made it a bit weaker as well. I think Nintendo also used to use higher-quality materials than they do now.

The GameCube is a disc system and it's more durable than a Wii. The verdict is still out on Wii U, but the drive seems to be better constructed at least. I think it has more powerful cooling fans as well. I'm not going to be using Standby mode with it though, just in case.

I know they're not the only company doing these things either so I don't single out Nintendo. We live in an increasingly disposable world, everything's using cheap parts.

marvel_moviefan_2012September 02, 2014

I don't buy the whole Nintendo consoles are more durable now than before, does nobody remember all the problems with the original front loading NES? Damn those things were a nightmare not just the connection issues but the power bricks on those things got hot enough to burn your hand. I also seem to remember the damn Zappers all wearing down, even today collectors gripe about how hard to find a working Zapper is. This myth that Nintendo has always made super durable consoles came about around the time the RROD became widely publicized and it was a way to make people feel like Nintendo was always superior. I seem to remember people complaining endlessly about the original GameBoy having fickle sound chips where if you dropped one the sound would stop working even if everything else kept going, every single used Game Boy I have ever owned (original and Pocket) had no sound. Nothing lasts forever. I think they make pretty durable products but not any more durable than their competitors except maybe 360 which as I seem to recall those issues were addressed.

Mop it upSeptember 02, 2014

I can't speak for anyone else but I've never claimed Nintendo have had a perfect track record. The connector in the NES shoulda been designed better, but everything else about the system was solid. There's also the N64 control sticks which should have been redesigned at some point. But I still feel that systems GameCube/GBA and prior had less problems than the systems that followed, though I recognise people can have difference experiences with everything.

Quote from: Ian

Ten years ago, eh?  Wasn't there some sort of change of management at Nintendo around that time?  Hmmmmm.

They moved manufacturing from Japan to China.

Ian SaneSeptember 03, 2014

The NES is ridiculously unreliable, though it was quite significantly redesigned for the West.  How was the Famicom in comparison I wonder?  Still Nintendo's post-NES to pre-Wii track record is really impressive for durability aside from the N64 stick.  Hell maybe their rep is entirely from the SNES.  The worse thing that happens to those is that some models turn yellow.

Much of the Wii's durability issues appear to be trade-offs to make the console superficially cool.

CericSeptember 03, 2014

From my experience most of the Problems with an NES can be solved by cleaning the connectors.

marvel_moviefan_2012September 03, 2014

Quote from: Ceric

From my experience most of the Problems with an NES can be solved by cleaning the connectors.

sure the blinking but not the hot power bricks.

CericSeptember 03, 2014

Power Bricks are hot.  Thats what they are.  Anything with a good sized brick is prone to that one.  There never properly heat controlled.

LudicrousDa3veSeptember 03, 2014

The thing I'm curious about- which is an open question to XL and 2DS owners in a way as well, is about the dpad. Without mentioning the 'Cube's micro pad, I've never played a Nintendo anything that didn't have a rockin' dpad. Until 3DS. We bought one at launch, and everything still works (even with 4 kids playing it occasionally), but from day one, that pad has felt like it was going to break.


Did hardware revisions fix that... and if not, will the "New"s?

Mop it upSeptember 03, 2014

The D-pad (and buttons) have a better feel to me on the XL over the original, so I'd guess these New models will be better as well.

marvel_moviefan_2012September 03, 2014

Quote from: Ceric

Power Bricks are hot.  Thats what they are.  Anything with a good sized brick is prone to that one.  There never properly heat controlled.

My Genesis/SNES both never got that hot, and I played the hell out of them. WHEN I could get NES to work, which was rare anyways, it got hot super fast. Usually after less than a half hour of play, SNES I could play for a couple of hours before heating up and Genesis, I don't think it ever got hot enough to burn my hand but damn the NES did. I remember the eject button going out on my on my SNES right around the time I got the redesign. Got the smaller one gave the brick to my sister then a couple years latter when she wasn't looking I traded it all in to game store for a PS1 and a couple of games. She hated me forever for doing that. I figured I gave it to her it was still technically mine.

I guess it all depends on your experience though. Biggest issue I ever had with Genesis was the stupid reset buttons would get stuck which was a nightmare if you ever played Genesis, some games required pressing reset to actually finish the game that was not possible on broken system. I never had issues with N64 except the controller stick issue everyone seems to have. Game Cube was a nightmare for me, the console lasted forever but the damn controllers all broke, usually shoulder buttons or the yellow c stick would break.

Now I freely admit my NES got a swift kick in the front more than a time or two so I suppose I contributed to it breaking down. On that end it actually was pretty durable considering I gave it regular beatings, especially whenever I would rent Ninja Gaiden or TMNT.

LudicrousDa3veSeptember 03, 2014

Quote from: Mop

The D-pad (and buttons) have a better feel to me on the XL over the original, so I'd guess these New models will be better as well.

Right on, thank you!



Ian SaneSeptember 04, 2014

Quote from: marvel_moviefan_2012

I remember the eject button going out on my on my SNES right around the time I got the redesign.

How the hell did that happen? :)  If you look inside a SNES the eject "button" is literally a lever that pushes the cartridge up from the bottom.  You would have to break the plastic outright for it to stop working.

Mop it upSeptember 04, 2014

My NES AC adapter never got hot to the touch, and was never warmer than other power bricks. Sounds more like that specific adapter was faulty, which can happen with any type of adapter. Speaking of AC adapters, the one included with my Wii U GamePad worked for one charge and then stopped functioning, and I had to get a (thankfully free) replacement.

I've had to replace the cartridge connector in my NES (though it wasn't completely nonfunctional, just got tired of messing with it), but everything else on the system works fine and I still have my two controllers and Zapper from 1989 that are in working order.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterSeptember 04, 2014

The only nice thing really I have to say about my OG 3DS is that I love the glossy finish on the outer shell.

Now if only it were KEPT on the outer shell it wouldn't create such fuss over being a fingerprint magnet.

marvel_moviefan_2012September 04, 2014

It was the eject lever in the middle I was talking about, I don't remember how it broke but it did, you pressed down and it just flopped it didn't eject the games. It wasn't a big deal with it being broke the games just popped out like Sega games did anyways.

I know it wasn't a faulty AC adapter because we replaced it directly from Nintendo thinking that was the case. In the end I figured it was all the abuse my NES took but it could have been the fact we kept it on the carpet I don't remember exactly now I just remember it always getting hot.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterSeptember 25, 2014

I have a launch era 3DS and well, I decided to do a little damage inspection on this thing, let's see here...

Top screen has held up fairly well, some light scratches where you'd expect them but nothing major.
The shoulder buttons are fine,
The B button feels a bit mushy compared to the other face buttons, I don't know how that happened, I mean I guess alot of the games I played used the b button alot.

The start and home "buttons" (if that's what you want to call them) feel relatively worn. Select button feels about the way you'd expect.

The d-pad is still a creaky piece of shit.

Now by comparison we have the DS lite that the 3DS replaced, complete with a hinge that is completely wrecked and a top screen that no longer functions at all and a gba sp that works fine. I'd say the 3ds has held up pretty well.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterSeptember 25, 2014

I may have understated the start/select/home thing. The select button has a nice click to it that the start and home buttons seem to have lost.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterDecember 14, 2014

Update: the 3d slider seems to be no longer holding itself on the off position. The system began constantly fluctuating between 2d and 3d. I suspect some debris got in where I can't reach it that is interfering with the slider. I had to use parental controls to completely shut off the 3d.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement