Battle of the Nintendo 3DS Battery Alternative

 12 May 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+
 omar@myddnetwork.com

Everybody loves their little high-tech toys but when it comes to practicality the thing that defines a device is the battery life. Having portable technology at your fingertips is great until you hit the power switch and nothing happens. Unfortunately, until developers learn to pack more punch into their stock batteries we must rely on aftermarket parts and third party battery packs to keep our gadgets going.

This time around we’ll take a look at some of the best battery and external battery pack options out there for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s the hot new handheld from Nintendo that already has a bad reputation for short battery life right out of the gate.

Hyperkin’s 3DS Powerplus

If you’re one of the thirty-thousand or so happy owners of Nintendo’s latest handheld gaming system, the 3DS, you might spend your time complaining about the mediocre 3D effects or how there doesn’t seem to be any games out there that can truly take advantage of the gimmick as yet. However, it’s far more likely that you’re complaining about the battery life.

Battery Alternative

When Nintendo built the thing, they put in a middling 13000mAh battery which does not stand up well to the power demands of the device. Considering that just two generations ago Nintendo handhelds were relying on Double A batteries I suppose we should feel lucky that they decided to upgrade—or we could just go buy third party battery extenders.

One of the coolest (and probably most unique) external battery packs I have ever seen is the Hyperkin 3DS Powerplus. Instead of just snapping on to the back of the device, the Powerplus is a case into which the 3DS slides. The device is designed in such a way to keep all the ports and game controls free so you can easily use your 3DS with it on. However, it adds a whopping 1800mAh of go-juice to the onboard 1300mAh battery.

The design is pretty well done and includes tailoring to fit your grip so while the Powerplus does add some heft and thickness to the 3DS, it’s not ungainly. There’s even an LED that shows you approximately how much juice is left.

And for just $19.99 the Hyperkin Powerplus is an excellent bargain for the mobile gamer.

The Hyperkin site doesn’t have any info on the Powerplus just yet but it’s scheduled to launch within a couple of months, so keep checking back.

Nyko Power Pack+ and Charge Base

The Nyko Power Pack+ and Charge Base were designed to work with the Nintendo 3DS as well (hey, Nintendo, what does it tell you when multiple third party companies come up with designs to extend your battery life?). However, the company took a much different approach to the task than the Hyperkin Powerplus above.

Nyko Power Pack+ and Charge Base

Instead of designing a single case-style device, Nyko designed a removable battery pack which charges from a wired base plate. You have to either pay $20 for the battery pack or $30 for the charge base which comes packaged with a battery—confused yet?

The critical design flaw here is that the battery pack covers the Nintendo 3DS’s own charging port (isn’t that convenient for Nyko?)

In addition, the charge base is blocky, bulky, and bright—there are multiple LED on the thing supposedly to let you know the progress of the charge. The battery itself completely replaces the one inside the 3DS, meaning you have to do some minor surgery on your device and remove a couple of screws. Once you get it in, the first thing you’re going to notice is that it is huge. The Nyko battery makes your 3DS about 1/3 thicker and a few grams heavier. That in itself is not a game breaker but it makes your cutting edge machine just a little less cool.

Alternative for original battery in Nintendo 3DS

Unfortunately, the battery pack doesn’t really extend the battery life all that much. Nintendo’s stock battery is good for roughly 4 to 5 hours. In multiple tests the Nyko battery lasted 4 hours as well. So why pay more for a battery when it doesn’t give you any more juice? Instead of considering this a viable battery extender, it should be marketed as a replacement battery—maybe good if you play your original so much that you kill your stock battery but not worth the price until then.

(Note: The official Nyko site seems to be undergoing some maintenance at the time of this writing. Therefore, any URL I give you would be outdated. Visit the main site—Nyko.com—and do a search if you’re interested in more details.)






Disclaimer - Category: Adapter, Digital, Gadget