Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro review: Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro

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The Good The Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro adds a right circle pad and two extra trigger buttons to the 3DS. It's easy to use and simple to set up, and improves control options for compatible games, not to mention improving the 3DS' overall ergonomics. Priced at $20, it's an accessory that won't break the bank.

The Bad The Circle Pad Pro feels so good that it makes us wonder why Nintendo didn't include one in the first place. It's bulky and makes the 3DS cumbersome to carry around, limiting its overall mobility. The attachment blocks a lot of connectivity ports and also requires a AAA battery to work.

The Bottom Line As ugly and cumbersome as it makes the 3DS, the Circle Pad Pro is actually a great-performing accessory that improves the control range of games that it's compatible with.

6.5 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

The introduction of the circle pad on the Nintendo 3DS was a welcome addition to the portable platform, but of course it left many wondering, "Why not a right pad as well?"

That's the odd thing about the Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro. Its right pad feels so natural and comfortable that it really makes you wonder what exactly Nintendo was thinking by not including it to begin with. It's that realization that becomes my biggest gripe about the Circle Pad Pro: its very existence proves that the device it's intended for is flawed.

There's no denying, the Circle Pad Pro makes the 3DS easier to hold.

Confusion and frustrations aside, the Circle Pad Pro is available only in black through a number of retailers or through Nintendo directly. Strangely enough, some outlets are selling this for upward of $40, but don't you dare spend more than $20 on it. That's what Nintendo is selling it for.

By itself, the Circle Pad Pro is a lightweight piece of plastic that requires one AAA battery for operation. When the 3DS is installed, it anchors to the left side of the unit (which we'd imagine) and juts out on the right side, providing a circle pad. It also adds two extra trigger buttons on either side of the system, an LZ and RZ, and it repurposes the R shoulder button, which is rendered useless when the contraption is installed.

The Pad Pro adds two new trigger buttons, one on either side.

A series of rubber bumpers lets the 3DS sit snugly in its new encasing, and there are openings for access to only some of the 3DS' ports, like the headphone jack, charging port, and volume slider. With the Circle Pad Pro attached, there's no access to the SD card slot, game card slot, wireless button, or stylus. The device talks to the 3DS via an infrared port (IR) that lines up when attached. Games that support the accessory will ask for a brief setup when you begin a game.

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