firstly its definately an improvement over the older model designwise, but it does indeed feel cheaper. the plastic looks of low quality especially around the top screen edges, but the one major flaw is the casing on the left side. you can actually pull it up even with the screws on, and it gives away quite a bit. i feel like if i wanted i could easily rip the casing right off with the screws being intact and thats rather sad. a great design but i have to say at this point nintendo is pretty terrible at console build quality. first the ugly arwing DS, then the crack hinged DS Lite, then the screen scratching fingerprint magnet 3DS, and now finally the casing detached 3DS XL. what the hell man? ;o
let me elaborate by what i mean improvement design-wise. i like how much improved the dpad is, the menu buttons are bigger and easily accessible, they made it harder to quit out of games which is good for ragequitting, and the bigger screens looks great. in terms of layout and function everything is nice, but the plastic used and build quality is where it hits home on the negative aspects. this has been a continuous problem with the entire DS line. if you have a regular 3DS i wouldnt recommend getting the XL unless youre willing to sacrifice as much as you gain. it feels more like an alternative than it does an upgrade. they definately did not put anymore money into it, they just took the money out of the plastic parts and cheapened it, to put more money into larger screens.