Aug 20 2012

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As I’ve written many times here on Ramsey Digital, I love the 3DS. From my review to 3DS one year later and my 3DS Best of E3, its safe to say that Nintendo has grabbed a hold of this gamer.

The original 3DS has been out almost a year and a half from its original Japanese launch and already we have a revision of the handheld. Nintendo does this often with their handheld consoles, although I cant remember them ever doing it within such a short time from launch. With the 3DS currently in 20 million homes worldwide, I think its safe to say the XL will take them above and beyond 30 million by years end.

This 3DS revision changes nothing specs wise, but does offer up longer battery life (3.5 to 6.5 hours) and obviously a (90%) larger screen. And while the battery does last a bit longer, keep in mind it also takes a bit longer to fully charge. The 3DS XL’s top screen is 4.88 inches diagonally, making it the largest Nintendo handheld screen ever. The bottom screen is 4.18 inches diagonally, a tiny bit smaller than the DSi XL’s bottom screen. While the size of the screens do make for a more enjoyable 3DS experience, its the anti glare that really sets it apart from the original 3DS. If you take the XL outside or into any well lit areas inside, you will still see the screen better than you would the original. And with that larger bottom touch screen, its easier to use a finger or thumb this time around, especially during gameplay.

Both the original 3DS screens and the XL screens are the exact same resolution. Surprisingly though, the image quality looks almost like-for-like despite the same resolution on a larger screen. There is a tiny bit more pixelation seen here and there in certain games, and especially in text, but nothing that is a deal breaker and nothing that your eyes wont get used to quickly and end up preferring in the long run. Overall, the larger screen just makes for a better experience as its just so much easier on the eyes, and so much more detail is seen throughout each game. The larger screen really does wonders for the 3D effect too, up to a point. If you crank the slider all the way up, you will notice a bit more ghosting (blurring movement on screen). The middle setting seems to me to be the perfect setting if you like the 3D, and if you do like it, you will be amazed by this larger screen. Although, just like with the original 3DS, I prefer non 3D gaming.

One thing I really love about the XL, over the original, is how it feels in the hands. With the rounded edges of the XL, it sits comfortably for much longer periods of time, compared to the squared edges of the original. And for any gamer with larger than average hands, its a real treat holding the XL. One thing I always found bothersome with the original is that my thumb was always bent back while reaching to use the circle pad, with the XL, you can fully extend the thumb for prolonged comfort. One complaint I still have with the control is that there still isnt a built in right circle pad, although with the increased battery size, its said to have been impossible to add in anyways.

All of the buttons on the XL are a little larger/rounder and protrude just a bit more than the original, notching the overall comfort level up a bit. The d-pad is pretty much unchanged from the original, which you will either love or hate. The Home, Select and Start buttons are much easier to press now and the (non extendable) stylus is in a more convenient place now, on the right of the device instead of the top.

The XL is a tad bit heavier than the original, but also feels a bit more durable too. The weight could be troublesome to some small children over longer periods of play, as even my oldest son mentioned the weight difference when he compared.

If you are currently an original 3DS owner and wondering if you should upgrade, the answer is no. Dont get me wrong, the larger screen is easier on the eyes for longer periods of time, but it is essentially the same 3DS. I would urge any original 3DS owner to give the XL a try though, as some may find that extra screen space and added comfort, relative to the handheld’s size, to be worth the upgrade, especially if you spend hours on end gaming on the 3DS. But for most 3DS gamers, Id say sticking with what you have is more than adequate.

Now if you happen to be in the market for a handheld console and do not currently own a 3DS, then I absolutely recommend the XL over the original. And if you happen to still be gaming on your DSi or original PSP, I would tell you that now is a better time than any to make the upgrade. There are already well over a dozen top tier games out for the 3DS and many more coming within the next couple of months.

And for those PS Vita owners who may be disappointed with their lack of games and wondering if they should make the switch or add another handheld to their gaming arsenal now that the XL is here, I say, absolutely!

If you enjoy Nintendo games theres really no reason not to buy the 3DS XL, even if you arent interested at all in the 3D. While the PS Vita may be more powerful on paper, specs wise, compared to the 3DS, theres just no denying that the range of exclusive AAA titles that are out for the 3DS and that are coming soon, far surpass anything out and in the pipeline on the Vita.

I own the PS Vita and I gave it a positive review, but theres just no denying at this point in time that Sony wasnt ready to launch it and im just not sure when they will be. Most of what they have coming up are games that will be very similar to what you can play on the Playstation 3, whereas the 3DS has exclusive games that are innovative, and many that are one of a kind. And for the few games on Vita that arent similar to what you can play on the PS3, many just arent that good.

The 3DS is a true handheld console as thats what was intended, and its why its succeeded. The PS Vita was made to be like a home console thats portable, and thus far, thats why its failed, too much similarity between the PS3 and PS Vita.

The 3DS XL takes take the term “gamer companion” to a whole new level. With a sleek and slim design, durable build and high quality screen, the XL is the ultimate portable gaming machine. It does everything you could want it to do, without doing too much of what you don’t need it to do. Its not trying to replace your console, computer or cell phone, its just trying to offer up a good time that cant be had anywhere else.

The 3DS XL is the best portable gaming device to ever launch, in my opinion. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes videogames!

About the author


Husband, Father, Gamer.....

Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, MiiVerse, GameCenter- Gamertag: KRUZ8ER

1 comment

  1. Jair

    Great review, you hit the nail right on the head with everything you mentioned!

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