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.
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.
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
Conclusion: The Nintendo 3DS XL is an impressive system that adds new life to Nintendo’s 3D handheld library. It may not be worth the price to upgrade, but newcomers will not be disappointed.
Pros: The much larger display makes games easier on the eye, bringing games to life to broaden the appeal of Nintendo’s 3DS range. Should you wish to have the 3D effect switched on, the effects are much more noticeable and obvious than before. Games such as Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time played on the 3DS XL will take any Nintendo fans breath away. Nintendo’s 3DS XL also doubles the battery life of the original 3DS’s poor three-hour battery lif...
Cons: The larger screen makes games look even better, but even the 3DS cannot compete with the HD screen quality of the PlayStation Vita. The build quality could also be better, especially when, again, compared to the superbly-made PlayStation Vita. The 3DS XL also sacrifices portability for size, so there’s no longer any hope of stashing it in your jeans pockets without suffering from unsightly bulges. And shockingly, the 3DS XL does not come with a charger. Nintendo clear...
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. However, we’re incredibly disappointed by Nintendo’s decision to leave out a charger, and we can’t help but pine for a second control stick.
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. But irrelevant of those points the only way to play the likes of Super Mario Land 3D is via a Nintendo 3DS (whether the XL or original version). It’s the spate of new games that really makes the 3DS XL a fun handheld console.
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?