Nintendo’s 3DS may have lowered its price tag this past week, but buying one now will still get you the same handheld everyone got back in March. This includes its AR games, 2GB SD card, and its relatively short battery life. Of course, not everyone will be playing with their 3DS on max settings, but it would help if we could get a few more hours with our games before having to recharge our systems.
So what to do? Well since Nintendo has yet to release any official battery extending products, we are left looking at third party support for a solution. For example, Nyko’s Power Pack+ promises us to double our 3DS battery life, but the problem with that is that you need to remove your system’s battery to replace it with theirs. I’ve heard reports of people’s systems crashing due to this, and removing the 3DS battery voids your warranty too. Not something I want to risk on a system that I paid $250 for.
For those who want a safe alternative, I recommend checking out Hyperkin’s 3DS Powerplus, an affordable battery pack that easily slides onto your 3DS and requires no assembly. Hyperkin promises to “effectively double the battery life of the original 3DS battery,” but does it really fulfill its promise? Read on.
My review unit came with everything yours would come with if you ordered it on their website. This includes the actual Powerplus battery extender and a USB cable. There was no instruction manual or anything that told me how to use it. The box it came in simply had a multilingual diagram showing me how to slide the Powerplus onto my 3DS, but there was nothing that explained the two buttons on the unit.
After asking around, I found out that the main button shows you how much juice you have remaining on your unit. The other button next to the USB port turns the unit on if you switch it to the right and off if you switch it to the left. The included USB cable is to charge your unit, and once it is charging, blue LED lights let you know its level of life.
Of course, I didn’t know this, so as soon as I took the unit out of the box, I placed it onto my 3DS expecting it was doing its job. But because the unit wasn’t charged out of the box, nothing really happened.
I then noticed that once charged and placed onto the 3DS, the Powerplus makes the 3DS think it is being charged on its cradle because of how it uses these two prongs to hook itself onto the system. It becomes a second battery the system uses to supply itself with energy and eventually drains the life out of the Powerplus. This means that once installed, the 3DS will be using its own battery life as well as that of the Powerplus. This made me wonder whether it was more effective to wait until the 3DS died to then use the Powerplus or to slide it on from the beginning.
I did a few tests to find out. Because I didn’t want to leave my 3DS on for too much of a long time, I only conducted tests with max settings on (3D up to max, max volume, Wireless turned on, and max brightness.) These tests were conducted by leaving the 3DS on with these max settings while the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s opening sequence looped over and over again.
The first test was just to find out my system’s battery life:
The second test tested the 3DS with the Powerplus on:
The final test saw how many extra hours the Powerplus gave you after the 3DS died:
Results: 1:22 (combined time with 3DS: 4:35)
As you can see, there is some difference in minutes regarding how much extra battery life you get after your system dies and if the Powerplus is on from the start. I noticed my 3DS heat up just a little bit during the second test, so I can only assume the extra heat helps drain the battery a little faster.
Of course, these tests were done with the system at max settings, so if you play the 3DS with a dimmer screen or with 3D and wireless turned off, for example, you will definitely get more playtime. Also, while they promise to double your battery life, you only get about an extra hour and a half, at most, with max settings on.
Closing comments: At first I didn’t know what to do with the Powerplus as there were no instructions, but once I figured out what did what, I had no problems using it. Hyperkin’s 3DS Powerplus is easy to install and is good to have on you when you’re traveling and your system is about to die. I recommend using it as a second battery after the 3DS shuts off. This will give you more time to game until you get to your laptop or a power plug, and it will prevent your system from overheating. Until Nintendo releases its own battery extender, Hyperkin’s 3DS Powerplus is a safer alternative to installing an extra 3DS battery onto your system.
The Hyperkin 3DS Powerplus can be purchased at Hyperkin’s website. It has a MSRP of $24.99.