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As another Valentine's Day draws to a close, with sales of cards, flowers and chocolates having hit a peak, we thought it was worth acknowledging one of many Nintendo Anniversaries for this year. It's a young one, not the multiple decades that will be the focus of other franchise landmarks, but it's notable nonetheless.

Just over a year ago, at the time of writing, the New Nintendo 3DS launched in the West. The 13th February release date tied it in to the Valentine's Day vibe, and Nintendo's marketing focused on the updated features that it offers. It had actually arrived in Japan and then Australia in late 2014, with European fans also having a limited early opportunity to order 'Ambassador' versions of the smaller models. For most in North America and Europe - the former only with the XL models - the real release was on 13th February.

In fairness to Nintendo it was a solid launch, aside from the XL-only decision in North America. The hardware arrived in multiple colours and at sensible prices, while the accompanying launches of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brought some high profile software. Both of those titles, admittedly, work just fine on the original models, but the C-Stick and improved framerates on the New hardware make them well suited to the latest systems.


Of course, we've written a little about the New 3DS recently - late last year we talked about it as an almost forgotten hardware release of 2015, while recently we bemoaned the declining momentum of 3DS sales with the argument that Nintendo hasn't given the New 3DS a fair chance to make an impact to lengthen the portable family's generation - not yet, anyway.

Yet as it's a year old we want to do two things - highlight why it's a lovely and important bit of Nintendo hardware, and get your views on it.

On the first part we'll revisit some points previously made when the system launched - the New 3DS is arguably Nintendo's most feature rich and important piece of hardware design. In terms of sheer graphical power it's still rather limited - though we look forward to Unity games on the eShop - but it's beyond that where the handheld's importance can be found. It has all of the features of the Wii U GamePad, and more besides, making it an embodiment of Nintendo's moves (a few years ago) to unify its portable and home console divisions.

It may be taken for granted or be underutilised in many games, but by incorporating the original hardware's capabilities with new features the latest portable is full of tricks. It has motion controls, stable 3D viewing, NFC scanning for amiibo, dual analogue control (well, sort of) and a full complement of face and shoulder buttons. Include the touch screen in that and the only feature it lacks (compared to the GamePad) is rumble. It has all of the tools and no doubt helped Nintendo's engineers master the challenge of cramming additional features (like NFC, extra buttons and control inputs) into a small frame. Should the NX have a powerful portable element as many (including this reader) expect, some influence may be traceable to the dynamism of the New 3DS feature set.

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We also think the general design is among Nintendo's finest, as the company continues to learn and evolve in shaping ergonomically sound and strong hardware. The smaller New 3DS is still very portable yet is marginally bigger than the original small model, with soft plastic and rounded corners making it far more comfortable to hold than its predecessor. The New 3DS XL largely carries over the excellent design of its immediate predecessor, and is a delight to hold. Since the jagged and arguably flawed original 3DS, the first XL and New models have shown significant improvements.

We think the New 3DS is an excellent system, then, delivering a lot of features that are unparalleled in portable hardware. As we're now a year on from its release, though, we want to know whether you've joined the ranks of New 3DS owners, and if so what you think of it. Let us know in the polls below; we're hoping there's plenty of life in it yet.

Do you own a New Nintendo 3DS?
What's your opinion of the New Nintendo 3DS hardware?