As time goes on, technology gets better, but new batteries can’t keep up with the power draw. My GBA SP can go over a dozen hours on a single charge, but my 3DS can’t even manage half of that. With a 3DS battery life of 5 hours or less, it’s no surprise that an upgrade is somewhat necessary for traveling. The Nyko Power Pak+ and Charge Base serves that purpose by raising the battery life to around/over 8 hours (depending on brightness settings & wireless communications). This product is not perfect; it definitely has its flaws. However, it does accomplish its main task, which is to raise the battery life of my 3DS, and it does so significantly, making the item worth buying.
The Nyko Power Pak+ is a battery replacement for the 3DS. The link I provided in the opening paragraph includes the Charge Base with the Poker Pak+, but it can be bought without a base; you can simply use the regular 3DS charger cable (but not the stock base, as its size makes it incompatible). To install the new battery, you must unscrew the bottom plating of the 3DS with the screwdriver provided, pop out the old battery, and screw the new one in place. The new battery is much larger than the old one. It is so large, in fact, that the backing of the battery is coated with a rubbery material and serves as the new backing of your 3DS. You can see this on the Amazon customer submitted photo to the right; the black trapezoid on top is the Nyko battery as it sticks out of the bottom of the 3DS.
One might complain about the added size, (and weight) but I actually find this to be an upgrade. The 3DS felt so small before the replacement battery, as I hadn’t owned a handheld system for a couple years before this purchase. I had been used to holding a 360 or PS3 controller, so the 3DS just felt too small and relatively uncomfortable. The added thickness from the Nyko battery fixes this personal issue, but for somebody who prefers a slim 3DS, this may be a downside. The definite downside for me is that the added thickness is not useful when trying to fit my 3DS in a coat or pants pocket; it’s annoying and much more difficult.
The added battery life is wonderful, however. I’ve been playing Pokemon Black 2 (an original DS game which I just beat on Saturday) on my 3DS, and the game includes a timer to show how long you’ve been playing each time you save the game. I fully charged the battery before I started my journey, I set the screen brightness to 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5, so it’s medium) and turned off my Wi-Fi. I played for about 7 hours and noticed that my battery was at probably around 30% remaining, so I charged it. I then played for another 8 hours before noticing I was near 20% battery, so I charged it again. In all, I played for around 15 hours with one charge in the middle, but I could have squeezed another 2 or 3 out of the battery if I had tried; this battery life is phenomenal!
On the other hand, I have come across some issues. Because of the size of the Power Pak+, it cannot fit in the stock charging base included with the 3DS. This isn’t a huge problem in itself, as you have two options: 1) use the 3DS charging cable without a base or 2) use the Nyko Charge Base instead. As I mentioned earlier, you can buy the Power Pak+ and the base as a bundle or you can simply purchase the Power Pak+. My only problem is that the charging port on my 3DS doesn’t work (I bought it used like that) so I have to charge using a base, which eliminates option 1.
Using the Nyko Charge Base is confusing. The 3DS charge cable goes into the back of the Nyko Charge Base, and the 3DS with the Power Pak+ is placed on it. Easy enough. Then, click the power button on the base to turn it on; also simple. From here, the charge base emits a red light when it’s charging, and a green light when it’s finished… in theory. One time, the light turned green in less than an hour, and I knew it hadn’t finished charging. Once, I started charging it before I went to bed, I woke up the next morning, and it was still glowing red, even though I had slept 8 hours or so. On another occasion, I started charging the battery as I was doing some schoolwork. It turned green, then a few minutes later, it went back to red, then if flipped back to green, etc. It kept doing this for hours.
Long story short, the charge base is faulty. I’ve tried it with the 3DS off, on, and in sleep mode with the screen shut. Despite whether the base says it’s done or not, it does continue to charge the 3DS. I’ve learned to just set it to charge while I sleep, and much like my phone, it’s done in the morning. This approach works, but it disappoints me that I can’t actually know how long the battery needs to charge.
The other issue is that the battery icon on the 3DS doesn’t respond to the charge right away, and neither does the amber charging light on the 3DS itself. After using the Charge Base to charge the Power Pak+, I turn on the 3DS to check the battery icon. With the stock battery, it always tells me how much battery life I have left, and it does so reliably. With the Power Pak+, it doesn’t register correctly. The 3DS will be fully charged, yet the icon will still read the same amount as it did when I set it down to charge. It takes a few minutes (at least 5, usually more) to finally realize it hasn’t died yet and it begins to show the battery life accordingly. If I’m not mistaken, I don’t think it alerts me with a pop-up box as to when I’m in a low-charge situation. In this case, I have to guess as to when a good time to charge will be so that I can still squeeze as much life as possible out of it without killing the battery.
In the end, the Nyko Power Pak+ and Charge Base for 3DS succeed in increasing the battery life of a 3DS by a few hours. Sadly, that’s all it does, as the Charge Base is faulty and the Power Pak+ and 3DS don’t communicate well to display an accurate battery life reading. I work around these issues by charging all night to be safe, and mentally adding up the number of hours I’ve played to approximate when I will need to charge again. This can be annoying, but in the long run, the pro of increased battery life outweighs the cons of the faulty base. With that said, I believe that this product is worth buying.