5 reasons you should buy a Nintendo 3DS over the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 3DS
(Image credit: Nintendo)

It may have lost its crown as ‘belle of the handheld ball’, but the Nintendo 3DS is still a tempting proposition if you’re looking for a portable console that packs a punch. And honestly? There’s never been a better time to buy one.

For a start, it’s got a superb library of games, which include critically-acclaimed hits such as Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The Nintendo 3DS is also widely available, unlike the Nintendo Switch right now, so you won’t have to wait weeks to get your hands on one. Throw in the fact it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than any other console on the market, and it might just make you think twice about whether you need to buy its flashier big brother at all.

Seriously, don’t dismiss Nintendo’s aging little console just yet – here are five reasons why there’s still life in the old (Ninten)dog yet.

1. Nintendo 3DS is (a lot) cheaper than the Switch

(Image credit: Nintendo)

It’s always nice to have a bit of spare change left over whenever you buy a new console, particularly as most of us are keeping a close eye on the coffers. The Nintendo 3DS is now affordable enough that it won’t break the bank, and there’s a plentiful second-hand market to dive into if you really want to save on the pennies. 

You can grab a New Nintendo 2DS XL (that’s the model which removes the glasses-free 3D display) for just $129.99 (£129.99/AU$329.95), which is quite a savings compared to the Nintendo Switch Lite at $199.99 (£199.99/AU$329.95). It’s even more of a bargain when you weigh it up against the standard Nintendo Switch, which’ll set you back $299.99 (£279.99/AU$465.95). Ouch.

2. Nintendo 3DS models are actually in stock 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Can’t find a Nintendo Switch in stock? You’re not the only one. Nintendo’s versatile handheld has been in high demand ever since lockdown measures began, and the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons only seemed to make things worse. It’s fortunate that there’s an awesome alternative that’s more widely available, then. It’s much easier to find a Nintendo 3DS in stock, with many models to choose from including some snazzy limited editions. We’d recommend the New Nintendo 3DS XL, though, as it has a super-sized screen and decent battery life.

3. The Nintendo 3DS is a proper portable console 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

This one isn’t even a contest. The Nintendo 3DS is infinitely more portable than the Nintendo Switch, mostly owing to its robust clamshell design. Sure, the Nintendo 3DS XL models are a bit chunky, but you never need to worry about the console’s dual screens getting scratched or damaged in transit, and you don’t even need a carrying case. Just toss it in your bag and you’re good to go. If you want to take your the Switch out into the wild, however, you best have a suitable Nintendo Switch case, screen protector and a firm grip on the console at all times. 

4. The Nintendo 3DS has an incredible library of games 

Mario Kart 7

(Image credit: Nintendo)

With a games library built up over nine years, there are a plethora of top titles to play on Nintendo 3DS. All of Nintendo’s big hitters are here: from Mario Kart 7 to Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Super Smash Bros., you’ll be spoilt for choice. There’s quality and quantity, then, and the Nintendo 3DS’ library dwarfs what’s available on Nintendo Switch, and the games are much cheaper, too, which is a nice added bonus. 

5. It’s also packed full of unique features

Nintendo 3DS streetpass

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Never one to shy away from experimental concepts and ideas, the Nintendo 3DS is crammed full of neat little features from the Japanese company. The console comes with a set of AR cards, letting you play fun minigames in augmented reality. The 3DS models also come with a glasses-free 3D screen, which is seriously impressive. It adds extra depth to games and the 3D effect was substantially improved on the New Nintendo 3DS models. 

Finally, although you won’t get much use out of it currently, the Nintendo 3DS comes with a delightful bit of in-built software called StreetPass. You progress through various puzzles and quests by collecting Mii characters of other 3DS owners, who you may encounter on your way to work or at conventions. It’s a typical ingenious, silly bit of software from Nintendo, but it’s sorely missed on Nintendo Switch.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.