It’s been said that power corrupts. But if you’ve ever been in a 10-hour flight, you really can never have too much power for your portable devices.
Which brings us to Nintendo’s 3DS portable gaming system. Glasses-free 3D gaming is the obvious selling point of the device. Unfortunately, that neat little feature also comes with one drawback: turning on 3D really does a number on the device’s battery life. In fact, it reduces the operating time of a fully charged 3DS’ to a piddly three hours. That’s fine if you’re playing at home but not so much if you’re out and about with nary a power socket in sight. Add the fact that extra features like Wi-Fi and Spot Pass make the 3DS even more of a power-hungry little beast and the 3DS’ normal battery life becomes even more insufficient.
Enter the Nyko Power Pak+ (Plus) for the 3DS. Thanks to its larger size, the Power Pak claims to have enough extra juice to double your playing time on the 3DS. So does it actually work? Read on for a closer look at this 3DS battery accessory.
Extra juice: Installing the Nyko Power Pak definitely extends your playing time on the 3DS. With 3D and full brightness on, I was getting about 5.5 hours per charge on the 3DS. With 3D and Wi-Fi off plus the brightness settings turned lower, I managed to squeeze in about 9 or so hours from the device, which helped make my 3DS a much more viable gadget for transcontinental travel. It still doesn’t make airline food any more edible, but it at least helps take my mind off whatever horrible cuisine the airlines are serving me.
It looks nice: While some third-party accessories tend to look cheap, the Power Pak actually doesn’t look bad. For starters, it doesn’t have that shiny plastic look that just screams “I’m a cheap accessory." Instead, the black matte finish is more subdued, not calling unnecessary attention to itself while also flowing nicely with the 3DS' normal lines. The lack of gloss also means the battery won't act as a fingerprint magnet.
Improvers 3DS handling: Even though I don’t have ginormous man hands, the smaller profile of the 3DS makes it harder for me to comfortably hold it compared to, say, a Sony PSP. By adding a bit of thickness to the back of the device, the Power Pak actually makes the 3DS easier to hold.
Price: At about $15, the Nyko Power Pak is reasonably priced.
Requires removal of original battery: It would be nice if the Power Pak could act as a supplement to the original battery. But in order to use it, you have to remove the original battery and 3DS back cover. This means you can no longer use the charge base that comes with your 3DS. Nyko did release its own charge base for the Power Pak but that’ll cost you an extra $30. You’ll also want to make sure that you keep the original battery and back cover in case you need them for, say, warranty purposes in the future.
Makes some 3DS accessories unusable: The standard charging base isn’t the only thing that won’t work with the Nyko battery. Like those nifty jackets that wrap around the 3DS? Well, if you install the Power Pak, those things will no longer fit.
Adds chunk: While I consider the extra thickness from the Power Pak to be minimal, some folks may still not like the extra chunkiness that the battery adds to their beloved 3DS.
Just how useful the Power Pak will be to you largely depends on what your priorities are for a 3DS battery add on. If you value the 3DS’ slimmer profile and being able to use all accessories for it, then you’ll want to think hard before you get the Power Pak. But if you value extended play time more like I do, then getting a battery like this is pretty much a no-brainer.
Final rating: 4 stars