A few days back I reviewed Nintendo’s newest portable gaming system in the 3DS, and one of my complaints was about its battery life.  I’m still sticking to my initial critique, because the battery will get sucked dry if you run the 3DS as intended.  By that I mean keeping the display brightness maxed out, and the wireless on at all times.  You see, to truly use the 3DS and its social capabilities such as the StreetPass feature, you have to leave the wireless on at all times.  For some of you that may be a must have feature, especially for the younger crowds, but I’ve noticed that by disabling my wireless connection the 3DS battery life seems to immensely improve.  Is it worth the cost of not having StreetPass functionality?  I’d say yes, but I also don’t really care about the social aspect of the 3DS.

StreetPass essentially allows your 3DS to identify itself to other 3DS units that happen to be in your proximity.  For example, if I was walking through a mall with a 3DS in my pocket and someone else with a 3DS in their possession passed by me, our units would exchange a digital handshake of sorts and our Mii’s would show up on each others handhelds in the Mii Plaza.  You can also earn coins to spend in different games by utilizing StreetPass, but is it worth the strain on your battery?  I guess it depends on what type of mobile gamer you are, but I could honestly care less if someone else’s Mii migrated to my Plaza for my Mii to play with.  Now, if there were achievements that could be gained from this then I’d be all over it, but as it stands now I’m find keeping my wireless connection disabled in exchange for longer battery life.


StreetPass Mii Plaza

Speaking of longer battery life in regards to the 3DS I’m finding that my unit is getting much more life out of a charge now that the wireless connection is disabled.  I haven’t had it on the charger since Wednesday 3/30 and it still is registering 3 out of 4 bars on the battery meter.  During this period of not charging the 3DS I’ve kept it in sleep mode, so it’ll record my daily steps taken, while also allowing me to just flip open the lid and start gaming if I want to get a quick session in.  At night I’ll power the unit down completely, but I still haven’t had to put it on the charger.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve been having marathon like gaming sessions during this time period, but I’ve definitely played a few Pilot Wings Resort challenges hear and there, as well as a mission or two from Ghost Recon Shadow Wars.

I still think if I used the 3DS more like your typical mobile gamer, it would probably need to be charged more often than I’m doing now.  But for my style of using it I’m finding that the battery is lasting quite long.  I’d imagine if I take a long car ride and play it constantly I’d probably only get 4-5 hours out of it, but with light to moderate use I’m going on 48+ hours on a single charge!  So I may have been a little tough on the battery in my initial review, but I still think if you use the 3DS as Nintendo intended, the poor little thing would need juiced up each day.  As long as you don’t feel the need to be a StreetPass participant I think you’ll find a reasonably decent battery experience on the Nintendo 3DS.  You’ve been given the key to making your 3DS last longer…


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Tags : 3DSBatteriesgaminggeeksNintendo
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.