The NXT set had around 80 straight Technic beams; EV3 has fewer than 60.
The NXT set had the big wheels you see here, along with matching tank treads. EVE3 has these as well as two types of smaller wheels.
The EV3 features a larger proportion of shorter axles than the NXT set. Additionally, there are new axle elements, 4M cross axles with a stop partway down the length.
The NXT set had only six of those sweet double-angle beams, pictured on the left. EV3 sports 12. On the down side, there are fewer 2x4 and 3x5 90-degree angle beams.
One of my favorite Technic parts is the "90-degree angle beam w/ 4 snaps". There were six in the NXT set but zero in EV3! Still plenty of its' non-angled cousins, however.
The EV3 set features about 50% more gears than its predecessor, with a greater variety of parts.
The NXT set had zero of these fabulously useful frames, used for making more solid constructions. The EV3 set has four of them!
The NXT set didn't have this -- the EV3 set packs a cute IR receiver that looks like a pair of eyes, along with a wee IR remote that operates off two AAAs.
The gray ones in the upper right are a brand new element, I believe. They're some sort of rotating cross block, I think.
EV3 comes with a DC motor, along with two servos. NXT had 3 servos. Variety is nice!
The NXT set had two, and it seems hard to fathom that one would suffice. Must have been a tough decision for someone!
The new set's design seems very fresh and updated. Additionally, the set has largely ditched the light gray bricks of the NXT in favor of black and red.
Yesterday I unboxed the new Lego Mindstorms EV3 set, and even before powering on the microcontroller brick, I’d noticed a number of interesting changes, both great and unfortunate, as compared with the previous set, called Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0. Up to that point, I’d assumed the mix of Technic beams and pegs were more or less the same, and that it was the microcontroller brick and programming environment had been upgraded.
In the next week or so I’ll check out other aspects of the new set like programming the EV3 brick and details of the models you can design with the set. In the meantime, let’s check out what has changed.