Review by BigReed

"3DS XL: Bigger screens, better hardware design, and an attractive price!"

The Good:
Great build quality, matte finish, no glare, giant screens, much better home/select/start buttons, all around better design

The Bad:
Slightly weaker speakers, the white background on the home menu is not as bright

Well, Nintendo finally did it. They took the 3ds and decided to increase the screen size by a whopping 90 percent. The 3ds XL is the first revision to the 3ds family, and features larger screens along with many other slight hardware tweaks. Nintendo may be marketing the XL as a 3ds with bigger screens, but the entire build quality is increased on the design aspect, with very little lost for the slight price increase. The 3ds XL is priced at 199 dollars and after owning a launch 3ds up until this point, the XL is certainly worth the price. The 3ds has games, a growing eshop, and now a fantastic remodel that fans of portables should seriously consider purchasing.

Price
As of a month ago, the 3ds has finally begun churning a profit for Nintendo. Heavy costs of the glasses free 3D screen and the infamous 80 dollar price drop have prevented Nintendo from making any profit off of their new portable hardware. With the regular 3ds being priced at 169 dollars, the 3ds XL is only 30 dollars more. With this slight price increase and the passage of time, Nintendo was given an opportunity to correct many things about the 3ds. Considering all of the improvements in the hardware design, the price increase is not even noticeable. For potential buyers, the XL is the clear choice over the regular 3ds. In all honesty, Nintendo could even replace the old model with the XL, but considering the regular 3ds is now profitable, and cheaper, it is smarter to keep both on the market together.

Design
As stated above, Nintendo was able to improve upon the design of the 3ds in almost every way. Like with all technology, as time goes on the tech used in devices becomes cheaper and easier to produce. After almost two years on the market, Nintendo has finally gotten to a comfortable place. The 3ds is profitable, and with the release of the XL, Nintendo was able to improve upon their “rough draft”. Pictures and videos do the XL very little justice. Opening the red 3ds XL for the first time was a very pleasant experience. It is hard to truly grasp the size of the screen until you open one for yourself. The XL is more comfortable since Nintendo did not have to make sure it was as portable as the regular 3ds when designing it. Playing games that utilize the L and R bumpers will not be cramping your hands this time around. Other than slightly weaker speakers and a home menu that isn't as white, the XL is a major improvement over the regular 3ds in every way.

Warning: The 3ds XL screens do NOT touch when closed like in the regular 3ds model. Do not put anything in between them (other than screen protectors on the actual screens). Doing so could create friction on both of your 3ds XL screens.

Software
Games for a system are arguably the most important aspect when it comes to a video game console. Not too long ago, game systems only played video games. Meaning that the success of a system depended solely on the software and marketing of said software. When Nintendo launched the 3ds they had a couple things in mind. One was that the glasses free 3D would be so impressive that it would sell the system while they could create new games, and the other was that if Nintendo took a stand off approach third parties would be able to release software before Nintendo's first party juggernauts came out. The 3D effect while impressive was hindered by the low resolution of the screens. Plus the 3D was not selling systems after the first few months. And the third parties seemed as though they wanted the user base to be increased before fully committing to the new portable. This created a lull in games, which led to a price cut until Nintendo could prep the shop and first party titles.

The Nintendo 3ds now however, has plenty of games worth owning and the 3ds XL is the perfect way to play those games. Plus with plenty of deals that include a game with the purchase of a 3ds, now through this holiday season is a great time for newcomers to the system.

Recommendation
If you have yet to purchase a 3ds and are interested, the 3ds XL is definitely the system for you. The XL thwarts the 3ds in almost every way, and the price differential is so slim that there isn't much reason to purchase the regular 3ds. The XL is attractive in both design and price, and is well worth the purchase whether you have yet to own a 3ds system, or if you are looking to upgrade from your current 3ds.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/20/12, Updated 08/22/12

Game Release: Nintendo 3DS XL (US, 08/19/12)


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