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Nyko PowerPak+ Review


Following the recent price cut of the 3DS to $169.99, there’s still one lingering caveat with Nintendo’s portable:  battery life. Between scouring for StreetPass tags, sending and receiving data across a Wi-Fi connection, and illuminating a three-dimensional display, the unit’s power gauge seems to perpetually hover near empty. Accessory manufacturer Nyko hopes to remedy this flaw with the PowerPak+, an affordable add-on which claims to double the portable’s battery life.

Installation

Using a tiny phillips-head screwdriver which comes bundled with the PowerPak+, users remove four minute screws on the back of the 3DS.After this, comes the most difficult step- detaching the battery cover and pulling out the 3DS’s old power source. Like most consumer devices designed for minimal internal access, both the cover and battery fit snugly, necessitating a leveraged pry with a long, skinny eyeglass screwdriver. Finally, users place the PowerPak+ in the cavity, securing the hardware by tightening the quartet of bundled screws. It’s recommended that player stow their old parts in a Ziploc bag for safekeeping, since the case contains 3DS serial number which might be needed for trade-in (although another copy of the serial can be found on the bottom of the battery well).


With the PowerPak+ attached, the 3DS becomes slightly heavier and bulkier. While some might take issue with the change, we found the added heft kept the portable steady on bumpy train rides. Most will prefer the PowerPak+’s matte, rubbery finish preferable to the hardware’s original, slick, plastic finish. With two shallow finger grooves and a slight tackier exterior, Nyko’s product insured that the 3DS was going to stay in our hot hands. Regretfully, the PowerPak+’s increase in size means the portable no longer fits into its original cradle, prompting Nyko to sell their own ten-dollar Charging Base. However, frugal-minded players can still plug their existing power cord into the back of the 3DS.

Docking with PowerPak+ with the Charger Base will set gamers back $10

PowerPaking or PowerLacking?

To test Nyko’s assertions that the PowerPak+ can double the 3DS’s playtime, we inserted Pilotwings Resort, charged the unit to capacity, and measured the length of time before the power light finally faded away. Please note: a 100% increase would indicate a true doubling of battery capacity.

Test One: Wi-Fi Enabled, Brightness set to 5, Power-Saving Mode Off, 3D Maximized
Retail 3DS         : 2 Hours and 47 minutes (167 minutes)
PowerPak+       : 5 hours and 29 minutes  (329 minutes)

Result: A 97.01% increase; claim not substantiated (albeit extremely close)

Test Two: Wi-Fi Disabled, Brightness set to 1, Power-Saving Mode On, 3D off
Retail 3DS       : 4 hours and 53 minutes (293 minutes)
PowerPak+     : 9 hours and 54 minutes (594 minutes)

Result: A 102.73% increase; claim substantiated.

An additional test to measure the sleep mode capacity of a standard-issue 3DS against a PowerPak+’ed 3DS was thwarted by a requirement for actual slumber (aka human sleep mode). However, judging by the imprecise battery gauge of Nintendo’s portable, users could expect an additional day and half of attentive inactivity from their system.


Conclusion

Although the performance of Nyko’s PowerPak+ narrowly eluded company claims in one of our tests, the hardware shouldn’t be overlooked. By offering a well-engineered, affordable, and functional extension of the hardware’s battery life, the PowerPak+ comes with an unreserved recommendation. By allowing owners to stop worrying about the charge capacity of their system, the 3DS can be enjoyed without the worry of muting brightness or disabling Wi-Fi.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert ‘DesertEagle’ Allen is Tech-Gaming’s resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

24 comments

  1. Two hardware reviews in two days? Must be a play time for games.

  2. nice test. I remember Joystiq did something similar to a product like this.

  3. Just got a 3DS this week, and it died after playing for 2 hours and a few minutes. I thought WTF is this.

    May have to get one of these.

  4. Does the life of regular DS games. I want to play Pokemon on my 3DS rather than my DSi, which I use just cause it gives me more time.

  5. Good review. When I get a 3DS, I’ll probably get one.

  6. Is Nykos stuff still shitty? I bought one of their controllers and it was totally shot.

    • eternal nightmare

      Yeah, their Intercoolers were snake oil. I heard the strain from powering the fan did more harm that good to the 360s. I had one die with an Intercooler on, although I don’t know if the thing was to blame or not.

      I have to say their Wand+ is pretty good. I actually prefer the Kama to a corded Nunchuck.

    • I think my opinion of them changed with the Raven, I prefer it to the Sixaxis/DualShock 3

  7. eternal nightmare

    Yeah, their Intercoolers were snake oil. I heard the strain from powering the fan did more harm that good to the 360s. I had one die with an Intercooler on, although I don’t know if the thing was to blame or not.

    I have to say their Wand+ is pretty good. I actually prefer the Kama to a corded Nunchuck.

    • I used an intercooler and it left burn marks on my 360 (really). When I sent in my 360 for repair, Microsoft originally didn’t want to fix it, saying that an unauthorized modification was made. I finally pressed and they did, but that was the end of Nyko products for me.

  8. As far as I’m concerned this is what Nintendo should have launched with. I bet they’ll fix the 3DS battery with the next version of the system.

  9. Specs please!

    How many mAh is it? Dollars to donuts you will be able to get a cheaper Chinese version of this is a month or so. And the thing will last for 20 hours.

  10. So did Forbes. They wrote of a 50 word review. No kidding, 50 words. You’d think people who read Forbes would be a bit more literate.

  11. Maladjusted Manny

    Ambassadors should get one for free!

  12. All regions or just the US?

  13. Or you could pay $7.73 for the non-Nyko brand…

  14. How many charges can you get before this bites the dust?

    Good review, esp. liked this-

    An additional test to measure the sleep mode capacity of a standard-issue 3DS against a PowerPak+’ed 3DS was thwarted by a requirement for actual slumber (aka human sleep mode).

  15. I really haven’t had any problems with my 3DS battery life. Just turn the brightness on your screen down to 2 or do, and you’ll get much more life.

  16. Yep, Nintendo should have put a better battery in from the start.