The 3DS You Want: Hands-On With The 3DS XL

by Ben Salter Featured 30 Comments 38 Votes 2871 Views 02/08/2012 Back to Articles

Sleek, sexy, stunning. These are all words brought to you by the letter “S”. They also summarise my tantalising 30 minutes with Nintendo’s new beefed up handheld: the 3DS XL.

Glasses free 3D was always a cool novelty, but I’ve never been a big fan. It lacks lasting appeal and I always struggled to maintain the perfect sweet spot. In that sense, the 3DS XL is a revelation. Once you find the crux of 3D, it works without a hitch.

I dominated Mario Kart 7 and allowed myself to get lost in the experience with full 3D turned on. That would never have happened on the original DS, as the display is too taxing on my eyes and it would always distort into a useless double-vision blur at the crucial moment.

I forgot I was playing in 3D on the 3DS XL.

The 4.8” screen, much closer to that of the PlayStation Vita, is also noticeably less vulnerable to glare, not that it was ever a huge problem, and the touch screen benefits from enhanced real estate for those of us without child-like fingers. The awkward screen size discrepancy that plagued the original model in the eyes of aesthetic perfectionists is less noticeable; although, I’m oblivious as to why Nintendo settled on different dimensions to begin with.

With improved 3D capabilities, at least for my eyes, and a more comfortable design, the 3DS XL is the Nintendo handheld that you want to play.

Aside from being significantly larger, the XL feels like the premium 3DS. It’s more comfortable to hold -- especially for adults -- and resonates with a higher build quality. The L and R buttons feel more natural and the redesigned Home, Start and Select buttons have more durability to them.

It culminates in a sleek black and silver design, with added curves to the edges for maximum comfort. It’s even marginally slimmer than the original 3DS, but the expanded proportions come with a 46 percent gain in weight. As I said, it’s curvy.

The added weight may sound considerable, but in practice it was hardly noticeable. The only cause for possible alarm is portability if you’re restricted to a pocket or very limited bag space. It’s no chance of covertly sitting in your school blazer.

That’s not the market the 3DS XL is targeting. It’s designed for anyone who wants to enjoy the expanding library of 3DS titles on a larger, more comfortable device. Gamers who enjoy using their handheld at home or on holidays, not on the train every morning -- but even they shouldn’t have too many issues.

Perhaps best of all, the 3DS XL will retail for the same price of $249.95 as the current model when it hits Australian retailers on August 23. Unless portability is of the utmost importance, you’d be daft to settle on a standard 3DS once the XL has been released, unless Nintendo is planning a sizable price cut for the soon-to-be fun-size model.

It’s a little perplexing to see the lack of inbuilt second Circle Pad Pro, considering there’s plenty of space under the face buttons. We’re assured that Nintendo is working on a new peripheral for the XL, but is obviously still far from convinced that two analogue nubs is the right decision. It also mightn’t be the best choice for Pokemon Black and White Version 2, as the original 3DS already has screens bigger than the DS. The 3DS XL will either mutilate the pixels or leave you with sizable black boxes; although, that’s simply conjecture, as I have yet to see a DS game in action on the 3DS XL.

We didn’t get a chance to try out any of its other software or functionality -- such as its cameras -- but in terms of downright gameplay, it’s clearly the definitive model of the 3DS. With improved 3D capabilities, at least for my eyes, and a more comfortable design, the 3DS XL is the Nintendo handheld that you want to play.

By Ben Salter

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The 3DS You Want: Hands-On With The 3DS XL Comments

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Battery life?
@TomStones well, we know it lasts for at least 30mins.

Skidmark said: @TomStones well, we know it lasts for at least 30mins.



It does :P

20% more than the original 3DS, so still not as much as we'd like.

Ben said:

Skidmark said: @TomStones well, we know it lasts for at least 30mins.


It does
20% more than the original 3DS, so still not as much as we'd like.


A slight improvement is better than no improvement.
I already got a 3ds.... but I want one!

Matteh said:A slight improvement is better than no improvement.

Agreed, it's impressive that they even got the battery life to be longer rather than shorter on this.
I read DS games will still look good on it and wont be affected by the bigger screen.

shanshish said: I already got a 3ds.... but I want one!



I've already got a 3DS XL, but I want another one. :D
Anyone want to buy a black 3DS :'(
Blob
+
"It’s a little perplexing to see the lack of inbuilt second Circle Pad Pro, considering there’s plenty of space under the face buttons."

There's no space on the inside.
Cos Nintendo make their moniez from accessories .......
Is there a difference in pixel size? Does it not look as sharp?
Last time I buy a device early. I don't play my 3ds cause it's too small to hold. I want a XL but I'm not going to pay for another DS. You've lost me on this one Nintendo.

Blob said: "It’s a little perplexing to see the lack of inbuilt second Circle Pad Pro, considering there’s plenty of space under the face buttons."
There's no space on the inside.



Find that very hard to believe.

renagadez said: Is there a difference in pixel size? Does it not look as sharp?



The bottom screen wasn't quite as sharp, but the top (at least in 3D) looked much better.
I'd sell my 3DS and get one of these any day.....except I have the limited Zelda 3DS and I never want to part with it [Rage]

Tsunamo said:

Matteh said:A slight improvement is better than no improvement.

Agreed, it's impressive that they even got the battery life to be longer rather than shorter on this.


bigger means better

Ben said:

Blob said: "It’s a little perplexing to see the lack of inbuilt second Circle Pad Pro, considering there’s plenty of space under the face buttons."
There's no space on the inside.


Find that very hard to believe.



Check the pic below, that's what is inside. The square hole to the top-left is where the left circle pad goes. Now look to the right, you see the buttons now under that is the power module. Where could you put the right pad? that motherboard is crammed, even the cpu gets crammed under the game slot.
The 3DS You Want: Hands-On With The 3DS XL

Ben said:

renagadez said: Is there a difference in pixel size? Does it not look as sharp?


The bottom screen wasn't quite as sharp, but the top (at least in 3D) looked much better.


Aaahh fair enough! I can't wait to have a go at this!
Sleek, sexy, stunning. These are all words that don't describe the 3DS XL.
It's ugly.

OllyEbbz said:

Ben said:

Blob said: "It’s a little perplexing to see the lack of inbuilt second Circle Pad Pro, considering there’s plenty of space under the face buttons."
There's no space on the inside.


Find that very hard to believe.


Check the pic below, that's what is inside. The square hole to the top-left is where the left circle pad goes. Now look to the right, you see the buttons now under that is the power module. Where could you put the right pad? that motherboard is crammed, even the cpu gets crammed under the game slot.



You lost me as soon as you posted a pic of a motherboard lol

The screen on this thing is amazing. I haven't played enough of the 3DS to see the need for a second analog stick.

winhhh said: Sleek, sexy, stunning. These are all words that don't describe the 3DS XL.
It's ugly.



I agree that the pictures don't flatter it, but it looks much better in your hands.

Beta said:
You lost me as soon as you posted a pic of a motherboard lol



Really? :P @Ben mentioned there was room for a second circle pad yet upon looking inside there clearly isn't. (For clarification, that is the motherboard inside the lower half of the 3DS XL)
Does it have a better camera? the 3DS one is terrible...
No, it's of the same quality as the 3DS, but at least I now have a bigger view.
extra thumb stick atleast?

MoeMan said: extra thumb stick atleast?


lol nah
Lol as you can see from the pics there isnt a second pad and by the posts
EB games is now advertising a trade in deal in store. I think it's 129+3DS = 3DS XL. I might take this up....but the WiiU is coming.....
Had a look at it today at EB in the city. Lighter than I expected and pretty easy to hold.
I like it

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