Excerpt: 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.
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.
Pros: The Nintendo 3DS XL has a two big screens, tons of great games, feels sturdy, and is the most kid-friendly gaming platform currently available.
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 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.
Summary: Despite a handful of missed opportunities, the 3DS XL is still the superior version of Nintendo’s 3D-enabled handheld. It fits more comfortably in the hand, its 3D effect is more pronounced thanks the larger screens employed, battery life is improved and the whole unit is sturdier overall.
Conclusion: Perhaps as expected, the 3DS XL is an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary one, and while there's no denying the benefits offered by the larger screens in providing a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience, the lower resolution makes its success a rather qualified one.
Conclusion: Handheld gaming devices are up in the air at the moment: the smartphone and tablet world has turned gaming on its head in recent years, while the release of the Playstation Vita had the potential to really shake things up.
Pros: Better battery life than original 3DS, large 4.88-inch screen, can be used as a 2D device, enough decent games now available, more affordable than original 3DS was at launch
Cons: No power charger included!, same resolution as 3DS, the 3D mode won’t be for everyone, is the age of the handheld console and pricey games challenged by smartphones and tablets?