The new SwanCrystal features a sleek design based on the layout of the previous WonderSwan Color system. While it doesn't add any new physical functionality beyond what the WonderSwan Color offered, the SwanCrystal shrinks the system down even further, making it slightly smaller than the previous system, making it more comfortable to hold and play. The unit has an improved reflective TFT LCD screen that features the same resolution as the past WonderSwan systems, but is a half centimeter larger. The new screen offers a higher refresh rate with much less blur than the past WonderSwan system.
The upgraded hardware of the SwanCrystal also includes new programming capabilities, so developers take advantage of the system's own strengths and create SwanCrystal-specific software. The SwanCrystal will also be backward compatible, though, so both black-and-white and Color WonderSwan games can be played on the new system.