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Hardware Review: Mugen 3DS XL Battery Replacement Grants 20 Hours Of Staying Power

Posted by Andy Robertson

We go hands-on with the new power option

The original 3DS model has always had one weak point over previous generations of Nintendo handhelds: battery life. This shortcoming opened the door for all sorts of battery expansions for the original 3DS, from the excellent Nyko clip-on unit to our personal favourite, the Mugen replacement battery. This accessory was an entirely new undercarriage for the original 3DS that housed a power pack around three times the capacity. As we found in my 3DS Battery test of the 3DS Mugen battery, it took the system to around 15 hours.

Strangely though, there are very few bigger battery options for the newer 3DS XL. Perhaps this is testament to the device’s already improved duration, or its already larger size. Mugen is one of the first companies to answer the call of the super-long-lasting 3DS XL; it has just released the 3DS XL (or LL if you're in Japan) version of its battery replacement, again tripling the size of the power lurking below those two screens. Keen to put it to the test, we got hold of one.

First off, you need to get hold of the battery pack that matches (or possibly complements) the colour of your 3DS XL. We've got a pearl white 3DS XL and were expecting this less common colour to be hard to match. However, Mugen was able to supply a matching back panel with no questions asked.

Upon arrival it took about five minutes to fit. Just unscrew the two upper screws on the rear of the 3DS XL, then with some careful wiggling (we think that’s the technical term for it) you can flip it off. From there you can pop out the existing battery, insert the bigger Mugen cell and screw on the new rear cover.

First impressions are that this greatly increases the size and weight of the 3DS XL. Now, where as we quite liked the diminutive size of the original 3DS and were a little reticent to make it any bigger, the XL is already a monster so making it larger still feels like less of an issue. The rear housing of the Mugen is a surprisingly good fit for the pearl white upper of the 3DS XL — it looks as if it has been manufactured with the big battery already in it. The lines of the upper case are matched a bit better than they were with the old Mugen 3DS battery, which went for an industrial-bevelled look rather than smooth lines of the 3DS XL unit.

In the hands it feels solid and well built; we could happily hold it without discomfort, although perhaps would be less inclined to play it standing up for too long – preferring instead to rest it on the lap or a table.

The real news here is how long the 3DS XL now lasts; whereas we used to get between 4 to 6 hours of gameplay we're now seeing between 14 to 16 hours (or even 20 hours with all the power saving switched on). If you're like us then you probably have a habit of charging your 3DS XL every night, but now we've found we can almost get through a week without even thinking of charging.

It will be interesting to see how well this performance keeps up, but first impressions of both build and duration are excellent. The Mugen 3DS XL battery is available from the Mugen website now.

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User Comments (35)

SethNintendo

#1

SethNintendo said:

Never really buy into third party offerings of accessories but one can't deny that 15 for original 3DS and 20 for XL is awesome battery life.

Painmaster212

#2

Painmaster212 said:

Makes the console too big imo. They should be able to come up with some alittle more petit that wouldnt add so much more size to the 3ds. Beggers cant be choosers I guess though.

Hunter-D

#3

Hunter-D said:

As much as I would love extra battery life, I don't want my XL to be any bigger. Besides, I'm happy.

Spoony_Tech

#4

Spoony_Tech said:

Just picked up the cpp so this is no longer an option. I would love to get it as I sometimes have to charge it during the day as well. Had one for my old 3ds and loved it.

element187

#5

element187 said:

Looks like it wont work with either my gamegear grip nor my cpp... sad. Hopefully there will be a longer lasting battery in smaller form factor for me down the road.

Rei7

#6

Rei7 said:

Looks bigger than ever for the 3DS XL. I was going to get it until I saw the price tag. Way to expensive for me.

UnseatingKDawg

#8

UnseatingKDawg said:

I was feeling inclined to purchase this. Until I saw that the price is nearly half of what the system cost.

DamoAdmin

#9

Damo said:

@domdom87 We're both part of the Gamer Network and Andy has written content for us in the past. There's a good chance you'll be seeing more collaboration between us in the future.

Spoony_Tech

#11

Spoony_Tech said:

Yeah 30$ maybe but 100$??? No thanks! You might want to mention the price in your review!

Rapido

#12

Rapido said:

This is a welcome option. It'll come in handy especially in outdoor in which no power source is in feasible proximity. Hey XL can't come any larger aight.

ledreppe

#14

ledreppe said:

I wouldn't be worried about the price, but I just upgraded to the XL and I got a NERF armor case which wouldn't fit on if I got the new battery. Besides, the XL standard battery life is enough for me.

Dpullam

#15

Dpullam said:

The price is quite steep but I might consider getting a battery similar to this one down the road. The only real downside to me is that the circle pad pro won't fit with a bigger battery attached.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

Nice write up guys - review, video and photos all in one spot.

For that price I'ld buy 2 3DS XL and just switch the game cartridge between them when the batteries needed charging*. Which, BTW, external battery reviews should always mention the time needed to recharge. My tablet takes 3 hours on an outlet but 10 on a PC USB.

*Though that obviously won't work for DLs until Nintendo gets a Networked ID system up and running in practice, not in name only.

Pokefanmum82

#17

Pokefanmum82 said:

looks nice and sounds awesome but 100 dollars is a little steep for me plus my hubby would kill me if i got that.

WaveWarlock

#18

WaveWarlock said:

I always play my 3DS('Aqua Blue' Original) using the Charger cable as it unlocks the 6th(oOoOOoOo!) Brightness setting which makes the colors look far more rich and vibrant in combination with the brighter Picture. Plus, I'm getting unlimmited battery life and i don't have the silly Power savings setting set to 'ON' which dulls out the picture. So I'm already covered in getting the best possible picture and again unlimmited battery life, plus my mini Headphone Amplifier adapter boosts/doubles the headphone volume on 3DS which makes quite the difference in making the experience more immersive. :D

I rarely play my 3DS when i'm out and about, and the extra dangly charger cable doesn't bother me since it's strapped to my headphone cable.lol Too bad the XL doesn't have a 6th brightness when using the charger. But I'm sure most people don't care.

AVahne

#21

AVahne said:

Anything that adds mass and weight to my portables I won't buy. I wish Nintendo had designed the 3DS and XL like the Wii U Gamepad so that even if they cheap out on battery, there would at least be room in the battery slot for third parties to make an upgrade.

edcomics

#22

edcomics said:

I like the idea, but it's just too big. The XL is already almost too big and heavy to carry around in a pocket comfortably, so this upgrade isn't really an option. I just plug my XL in when I'm home, and I have a $5 car charger that works great on the go. The only thing I really miss is the charging cradle for home, but I think there's one available for purchase somewhere, right?

C7_

#23

C7_ said:

I'm rather skeptical about buying 3rd-party devices that attach directly to the machine; I'd much rather buy that battery wristband I saw on Destructoid a while back that allows you to hook up and charge phones, ipods, and even had cables for the entire family of DS's. The less I directly alter the original console the better.

Leecpfc

#24

Leecpfc said:

This would be good on long-haul flights, but I don't really want to take the back off of my console or make it heavier.

WaveWarlock

#26

WaveWarlock said:

@UnseatingKDawg

What? This wasn't the case with my previous XL. When i plugged the charger in there was Zero change in brightness. Maybe the big N is adding in the 6th/Charger brightness with newer models...

UnseatingKDawg

#27

UnseatingKDawg said:

@WaveBoy: Sorry, my mistake. I honestly thought that it got brighter like the original 3DS. But, I just plugged mine in, and there was no change.

AVahne

#28

AVahne said:

@WaveBoy
I think it's in all the normal 3DSes. My limited edition Zelda 3DS has it. They probably removed it from the XL model?

WaveWarlock

#29

WaveWarlock said:

@Koto
Yeah, it's one of the reasons why i disliked the XL. That, along with the picture quality not looking as crisp/sharp as the 3DS due to the Larger screens, the actual design of the console looked last gen as if it were part of the DSi family and i also found that the 3D effect wasn't quite as pronounced or intense. It was close, but seemed a bit more subtle if anything.

Other than that, playing VC in 1:1 mode on those large XL screens was freakin awesome and the system is much more comfy in the hands. But in the end, those 4 trade offs weren't worth it to me i sold it and went back to the original.

XyVoX

#30

XyVoX said:

$89.50 for an extended battery utterly ridiculous when you consider you can buy yourself a Zerolemon 7000mAh for a Galaxy S3 for £30 and this is only 5800mAh for $89.50 not good if you ask me. Let alone there are various 10000 battery packs that allow many different devices to connect and draw power from for around $40 this is way overpriced im afraid. I like it but overpriced.

EaZy_T

#31

EaZy_T said:

The XL battery life is not the greatest, but not $100 replacement bad.
Is there an option that gives a modest boost to mAh and still fits in the XL the same as the stock battery?

Kohaku

#32

Kohaku said:

I have now a 3DS XL and before that I had a normal 3DS. I bought a battery replacement on Amazon and was able to play over 14 hours in 2D mode. I want that for my 3DS also but not going to pay that much money for it.

ThumperUK

#34

ThumperUK said:

I simply bought a portable battery pack which can charge not only my 3DS but myt smartphone and Nexus7 (and anything else with a USB or compatible lead) on the go. There are lots around, price varies depending on how much spare battery capacity you need when out & about!

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