At $100, the Mugen 3DS XL battery is a bit steep for many Nintendo gamers. Keen to remove any skeptisim regarding its worth, we put the Mugen battery to the test and see how well it stood up to claims of long life and whether or not it justified its high price.

We ran a large set of Nintendo handhelds through the night on camera so there was nowhere to hide. This time it was 3DS XL, 3DS XL (Mugen Battery), 3DS, 3DS (Mugen Battery), DS XL, DS Lite and a DSi.

We opted to keep all the systems on their default system software rather than different games which may effect duration. This, along with running all the systems at full brightness, no power-saving and Wi-Fi/3D on, provided a level playing field.

If you missed it in the video, the final results of the test are:

  • 3DS XL (Mugen Battery): 10hrs 32mins
  • 3DS (Mugen Battery): 10hrs 15mins
  • DS XL: 4hrs 55mins
  • DS Lite: 3hrs 45mins
  • 3DS XL: 3hrs 40mins
  • DSi: 3hrs 10mins
  • 3DS: 2hrs 45mins

Some surprises here. Firstly, we had expected the DS Lite to last a little longer, but with Wi-Fi switched on — something not all DS Lite owners would necessarily do — the system drains its battery much faster. The DSi XL fared better with Wi-Fi on, perhaps because it is set-up to cope with those bigger screens.

Most interestingly, the 3DS lasted almost four times longer (615/165=3.73) with the Mugen battery installed, and the 3DS XL lasted three times longer (623/220=2.87) with the Mugen.

Of course the battery boost isn’t the only factor here, as build quality and overall finish are important too. The Mugen battery offers a considerable elongation of play-time but to really get value for its $100 price tag you need to want a battery that looks like part of the original system design.

Much of the expense here is not just the cost of a battery (which exceeds what you’d pay for a car battery) or the other parts, but of the design and development that has gone into the product. Let us know if you think this is worth the extra cash — or if your handhelds mysteriously move themselves around when you aren’t looking — in the comments.

Interested in owning one of these batteries? Nintendo Life — in conjunction with Family Gamer and Mugen — is giving away a free 3DS XL battery. All you have to do to enter the competition is subscribe to the Family Gamer YouTube channel and post a comment. The winner will be picked at random on June 15th. The competition is worldwide.