new3dsNintendo

New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL sport extra analog nub, NFC support

Nintendo is tweaking its 3DS and 3DS XL handhelds with new input buttons and a few extra bells and whistles.

With the new inputs, Nintendo is eliminating the need for its Circle Pad Pro accessory to play certain games. A small “C-stick” pad on the front of the handheld allows for dual-analog input, while the top of the handhelds will have a second set of trigger buttons, dubbed ZL and ZR.

Nintendo is also building NFC support directly into the new systems, allowing them to detect the “Amiibo” figurines that Nintendo is working on for the holidays. Again, current 3DS systems will require a separate accessory for NFC.

The 3DS's basic hardware features are getting a few tweaks as well. Both the upper and lower displays will be larger on both models, at 4.88-inches above and 4.18 inches below on the 3DS XL, and 3.88 inches above and 3.33 inches below for the 3DS.

In addition, the processor will be faster, battery life will be longer, and 3D imagery is supposed to be smoother. In place of the current full-sized SD card slot, Nintendo is switching to micro-SD. And while both models will be slimmer than their predecessors, they'll be getting a bit taller and heavier.

The new Nintendo 3DS XL will come in blue or black, and the 3DS will come in white or black. Customizable face plates will also be available.

Nintendo is only announcing launch details for Japan, where the new systems will launch on October 11. The 3DS XL will cost 18,800 yen (roughly $181) and the 3DS will cost 16,000 yen (roughly $154).

Both those prices are cheaper than the current models in the United States, so perhaps a price drop will be in order when the new models come stateside. Nintendo hasn't given any details on when that might happen, except to say the new models won't launch outside of Japan this holiday season.

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