Summary: It shouldn't come as a surprise to see Nintendo launch a new 3DS revision less than 18 months after the original console — after all, the company waited almost exactly the same length of time before following up the DS with the DS Lite. Where that revision sought to slim down the DS to a sleeker, more portable form factor, however, the first 3DS upgrade goes in the opposite direction.
Excerpt: We all saw it coming. The original 3DS hadn't even been on the market for more than a few months when gamers everywhere were already predicting a revised version of the handheld. A few individuals such as myself were actually waiting for a new 3DS model. The Big N told us it wouldn't come anytime soon, and it marked down the price tag on the original. Oh, but Nintendo, you sly devil, I was on to your trickery from day one, so I, like many others, waited.
Conclusion: The Nintendo 3DS XL is a large, fun handheld with a big backwards-compatible game library and a bigger screen, but if you're upgrading from an original 3DS, you'll have to leave your downloaded games behind.
Pros: Big, beautiful screen. Solid build. Comfortable to hold.
Cons: Glasses-free 3D still has issues. System transfer process is convoluted.
Nintendo 3DS XL: A great little place to play games (updated review)
19 August 2012
Summary: Three years in, the Nintendo 3DS handheld has become a seriously good game device -- especially for fans of Nintendo's classic gaming franchises -- and the XL is the one you should buy.
Cons: Battery life is fair but still not great; the graphics are starting to look dated compared to other game platforms, and the 3D is largely an afterthought; only one analog pad; downloaded game management still a huge headache.
Conclusion: The 3DS XL is an improvement to the original Nintendo 3DS without question. The larger screen is much easier on your eyes, and the lower screen’s increased girth makes things like touch commands easier. The ergonomic redesign is also much easier on your hands, even with the overall increase in mass. The two problems this new model introduces are that it costs more (a relative problem, since it’s still $50 less than the Vita), and that it doesn’t add a right thumb stick.
Pros: Much bigger 3D display, Larger touchscreen is easier to use, Better, more ergonomic design
Cons: Adding a right thumb stick would have made sense, $30 more than original 3DS, Software library is still weak
Excerpt: In early 2010, when Nintendo’s DSi handheld game machine was racking up record-breaking sales, the Kyoto gamemaker introduced an unexpected new model, the DSi XL . It was a classic example of Nintendo zigging where others zagged; as its competitors raced to make handheld gaming smaller and smaller, Nintendo increased its screens to giant size, sacrificing pure portability to create a more impressive gaming experience and a larger touch-screen input area.
Excerpt: It's been a week since the Nintendo 3DS XL arrived in the Shacknews office. And I am absolutely in love with it. Yes, the XL is simply a larger version of the 3DS, but it's an upgrade that's entirely worthwhile. Perhaps the most striking aspect about the 3DS XL is that while the screens are much larger, the system does not feel significantly larger. No, it will not fit comfortably into your pants.
Nintendo 3DS XL review: bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough
10 July 2012
Summary: After playing with the 3DS XL, we returned to the original only to find it difficult and awkward to use in comparison. The new size is an improvement in so many ways, including ergonomics and playability. The bigger screen makes 3D gaming less tiring, and offers a larger sweet spot for Nintendo's all-important gaming effect, while the curved edges simply fit your hands better. Competition remains tough, however.
Pros: Bigger screen improves the 3D effect significantly, Improved battery life under some conditions, More comfortable to hold and use
Cons: Digital content still lacking, No secondary analog stick, Not the most powerful of handheld hardware