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815 of 850 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Nintendo delivers on the 3DS' potential (an in-depth look at the improvements and differences over the original 3DS)
If one looks at the 3DS with an unbiased, objective point of view, there is a lot to love. It is basically a next-gen successor to Nintendo's vastly successful DS handheld, with the horse-power of a console somewhere between the Gamecube and the Wii. It utilizes a very cool 3-D effect that, when done right, really adds to the overall immersion of the gaming experiences...
Published on August 20, 2012 by T. Hill

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great library but falls short in build quality and resolution. asinine network policies
The device itself is not really the great part of this system, it's the titles available for it. The quality of the games that come out for the 3DS just bury everything else available out there, be it for the PS Vita, iOS or Android. And really what you're buying it for is the games. I own this, the PS Vita and the original 3DS and really, if you're going to buy just one...
Published 23 days ago by 0ktopi


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815 of 850 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Nintendo delivers on the 3DS' potential (an in-depth look at the improvements and differences over the original 3DS), August 20, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If one looks at the 3DS with an unbiased, objective point of view, there is a lot to love. It is basically a next-gen successor to Nintendo's vastly successful DS handheld, with the horse-power of a console somewhere between the Gamecube and the Wii. It utilizes a very cool 3-D effect that, when done right, really adds to the overall immersion of the gaming experiences available on it. Everything about it is an improvement on the original DS. Granted, it also has some caveats and issues as well. The 3DS XL does a very good job delivering the goodness of the original 3DS, while making vast improvements over its smaller brother original. In this review, I will focus on the differences and improvements this model makes on the 3DS line. I'll warn you right now, this is a long review. If you don't like long reviews, then you may want to skip this. :P

Screen Size: With a title that includes "XL," obviously the increase in size is the biggest difference between this and the original 3DS. It may be easy to hear that the screens are 90% bigger than the original, but it really is a stark difference when you take the system out of the package and see it for yourself. The XL's screens are HUGE compared to the original. It's comparable to the jump between the DSi and the DSXL, for those savvy to what that means, but in this case its even bigger because the top screen is in a widescreen format. Despite the size increase, the picture is still crisp and pops with nice detail. I thought that because the screen would be bigger, but with the same resolution as the original, the XL's picture would be distorted and fuzzy, but that's not the case here. I've put the screen detail and quality through rigorous testing since buying the system, playing many different games, and the bigger picture really makes the scenery more detailed than I ever noticed before. It's no exaggeration to say that the games actually feel new due to this greater detail. It's great!

Screen quality: Instead of the top half of the XL having a shiny, glossy finish of the screen and the area around it that the original featured, the 3DSXL features an almost "smoothed over" finish that was meant to lessen glare from the sun or other lights from bothering your eyes. It actually makes quite a difference. The trade-off is that the back-lighting seems just a smidgen less bright, but not much at all. One of the biggest problems I had with the original 3DS was the problem of "ghosting." It was especially frequent in games with areas of high contrast. This was a common issue people had with the original 3DS, but I haven't noticed it much at all yet with the XL. This is a big plus for me, because that ghosting was one of my biggest gripes with the original. I made my peace with it though, because ghosting naturally occurs from time to time with the tech being utilized in the 3DS, but to have it mostly gone here is a real treat. The colors in the XL seem brighter and a bit more vibrant as well. The touch screen is really nicely made, and seems to be a slight improvement on the original, but the difference is negligible. The saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," comes to mind.

DS backwards compatibility: Honestly, this is one of the best things about the 3DXL. If you look up comparison videos of the first 3DS playing original DS games and a DSi playing DS games, the 3DS is surprisingly inferior. The colors are more bland, the resolution is fairly fuzzy, and if you choose to play it in its native resolution to fix that blurry smudginess, the screen becomes so small it's hardly worth doing that. The XL makes drastic improvements in all of these areas. The colors are just as bright and beautiful as playing on a normal DSiXL. Due to the larger screen size, playing in a native resolution still leaves ample room for playtime and is no longer the cramp experience the first 3DS offered. If you choose that route, the screen will be close to a normal DSi. Even if you don't, the picture is still decent at full-size, shockingly. This fantastic backwards compatibility is a real plus in the 3DSXL's favor and should not be understated. Massive improvement here.

Build quality: Much like the new DSi and DSiXL made notable improvements in build quality to their predecessors, so does the XL refine the design of its predecessor. Instead of an outer glossy finish, there is a sleek matte exterior that makes the XL feel more heavy duty and refined. It definitely has a better build quality than the original. My original 3DS' top screen hinge became fairly loose and the lock-in positions a little weak after just one instance where I accidentally jostled it. The hinges on the XL click and lock into one or two set angular positions before locking into the flat position and I know there's no way this thing is going to break easily at all. That's a really nice improvement. The system is surprisingly slick in its form too. It's about the same thickness as the original (which is kind of clunky in comparison, let's be honest), and even weighs less than expected, despite the larger screen and button size, and this size and shape really comes across as a mature, sleek gadget from Nintendo. I felt the same way about their classy DSiXL system too. The buttons are also vastly improved. The home, select, and start buttons are actual separated buttons that have a bit of click to them, which is a vast improvement. The other buttons have more "squish" to them, but still click in a satisfying way. All-in-all, the buttons feel very balanced, if that make sense. They're very similar to the DSiXL's button quality, which is to say, very nice. The 3-D and Volume slider are also different. When all the way off, the 3-D slider clicks into an off position, and when you want to turn the 3-D effect on, you must click it out of position and then slide it to your desired 3-D level. Both the volume and 3-D sliders seem more heavy duty. They stick and stay where you leave them very, very well. A lot of small details add up in this system, to be sure.

Battery life: In my personal experience, the original 3DS had battery life that lasted about 3-5 hours with the 3-D slid up, 4-6 without 3-D, and roughly 6-8 hours with DS games. The 3DS XL is supposed to last 4-6 hours with 3D, 6-8 without, and 8-10 with DS games. It's not a HUGE improvement, but every bit counts. If you're like me and play a lot of the time with the system plugged into the wall, it won't really matter all that much anyway, but for those who want to play on the go, this is a really nice improvement over the original. Of course, battery performance will vary depending on how bright you have the screen and how many power-draining features like wifi that you choose to use at any given time. Still, I really like the battery life of the 3DS XL.

Sound: Supposedly, the sound tech in the 3DSXL is pretty close to the original, but I (and others, I've checked) have noticed some differences. The speakers on the XL seem a bit quieter than the original. Not a ton, mind you, but it's noticeable. The speaker volume level seems to depend on which game you're playing too. 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure seems just as loud as before, but better now. I tend to play my 3DS with these amazing headphones on, and the difference becomes really noticeable then. The sound from the XL with headphones seems a lot more detailed and ambient than before, and the volume level is fine. The highs, mids, and lows are distinctive with no aspect overpowering or distorting the others. Much like the visuals, I'm hearing things in games I never heard before, and it has enhanced my experience even further. Games with amazing soundtracks are a real delight to listen to on the XL. Great stuff here, and a very pleasant surprise!

Memory: The 3DSXL comes with a 4 GB SD card, making for a much bigger space for storage than the 2 GB SD card included with the first models. This is nice. I almost filled my first one up and still had a lot more games to get. Granted, you can buy any sized SD to use with the 3DS after some formatting, but having more space right off the bat is nice.

Any issues?: In many ways, the 3DSXL is what the 3DS should have been from the beginning, and it's a fantastic little handheld. It's not quite perfect though. For one, where's the second analog slider? There's ample room under the right-hand face buttons for it, but alas, no slider. It's not a problem that bothers me much, but I must note it because there are many who will view it as an issue. Imagining the boat-peripheral they're making for this system makes me giggle a bit. It conjures up visions of Nintendo releasing a laptop-sized 3DS with trigger buttons, lol. I understand they kept it out due to tech/power/space optimization, which makes sense. Personally, I never cared much for a second slider, and not having one has pushed developers to come up with some really creative things in the past on the DS and 3DS alike. I also find the design of the XL to be, like the original, cramped and painful to hold after a while, especially in high-action games. It's definitely better, don't get me wrong, but the cramping is still there a bit. To fix this issue, I highly recommend purhasing this comfort grip, as it is worth its weight in gold in this area. :D Perhaps the most annoying thing about this handheld is the d-pad. It works just as well as the one before, but now it's extremely "clicky." I don't mean the button clicks when you use it; that has always been the case with the 3DS. What I mean is, now the d-pad seems to be looser in its area, and so makes this "clickety" sound against the bracket if you lift your thumb off of it even if only for a split-second. It can be really annoying. One more personal gripe: the color choices. Really Nintendo? Bright blue and red? The DSiXL had really mature, fetching color options that made the system feel like an adult's gadget. These slick red and blue colors are a lot less subtle and elegant. Don't get me wrong, I own a teal 3DS (not exactly the most "mature" color choice) and love it, but I wish there had been a more subdued teal, gold, or forest/jade green finish to choose from. Just you wait, as soon as I post this review, that option will become available, knowing my luck. lol

(Update: Nintendo has since released two more models with different color schemes. My wife has a lovely Pink/White model and it is very pleasing to the eye, and I say that without shame or feeling like a wussy. There's also an all-black XL which seems like more of an "adult" choice. Nintendo also releases limited edition models from time to time that gives more variety if your timing is good. Being a massive fan of the Legend of Zelda series, I ended up buying the gorgeous golden LE 3DSXL commemorating A Link Between Worlds, with no regrets. It looks amazing. So there are better color options now, thankfully, even though I grew to love my blue XL. Just thought I'd throw this update in there.)

I realize this review is very long, but when considering tech purchases that are this pricey, these kind of reviews always helped me make informed decisions better. I have both the original and now the XL, and I must say the 3DSXL feels like the "true" 3DS. The system should have been like this from the start, honestly, and when it was originally announced, I, along with many others, hoped for an XL edition. Now we get it and it has been well worth the wait. For those who don't own a 3DS yet, this is the perfect time to get it. This system finally delivers on the promise of the original 3DS, and now there's an excellent library of titles for newcomers to joyously embrace. At a mere 30$ more than the original for practically double the space and a big jump in hardware quality, it's more than worth it. This is a great value. I'm glad I got the original a year ago, but I am absolutely thrilled to get this version, and heartily recommend it to all gamers with a heart container for Nintendo or great gaming in general. It's not a choice you'll regret. I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful. Have a good day. Toodles.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Nintendo delivers on the 3DS' potential (an in-depth look at the improvements and differences over the original 3DS), September 4, 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Nintendo 3DS XL Black/Black - Nintendo 3DS XL (Video Game)
If one looks at the 3DS with an unbiased, objective point of view, there is a lot to love. It is basically a next-gen successor of Nintendo's vastly successful DS console, with the horse-power of a console somewhere between the Gamecube and the Wii. It utilizes a very cool 3-D effect that, when done right, really adds to the overall immersion of the gaming experiences available on it. Everything about it is an improvement on the original DS. Granted, it also has some caveats and issues as well. The 3DS XL does a very good job delivering the goodness of the original 3DS, while making vast improvements over its smaller brother original. In this review, I will focus on the differences and improvements this model makes on the 3DS line. I'll warn you right now, this is a long review. If you don't like long reviews, then you may want to skip this. :P

Screen Size: With a title that includes "XL," obviously the increase in size is the biggest difference between this and the original 3DS. It may be easy to hear that the screens are 90% bigger than the original, but it really is a stark difference when you take the system out of the package and see it for yourself. The XL's screens are HUGE compared to the original. It's comparable to the jump between the DSi and the DSXL, for those savvy to what that means, but in this case its even bigger because the top screen is in a widescreen format. Despite the size increase, the picture is still crisp and pops with nice detail. I thought that because the screen would be bigger, but with the same resolution as the original, the XL's picture would be distorted and fuzzy, but that's not the case here. I've put the screen detail and quality through rigorous testing since buying the system, playing many different games, and the bigger picture really makes the scenery more detailed than I ever noticed before. It's no exaggeration to say that the games actually feel new due to this greater detail. It's great!

Screen quality: Instead of the top half of the XL having a shiny, glossy finish of the screen and the area around it that the original featured, the 3DSXL features an almost "smoothed over" finish that was meant to lessen glare from the sun or other lights from bothering your eyes. It actually makes quite a difference. The trade-off is that the back-lighting seems just a smidgen less bright, but not much at all. One of the biggest problems I had with the original 3DS was the problem of "ghosting." It was especially frequent in games with areas of high contrast. This was a common issue people had with the original 3DS, but I haven't noticed it much at all yet with the XL. This is a big plus for me, because that ghosting was one of my biggest gripes with the original. I made my peace with it though, because ghosting naturally occurs from time to time with the tech being utilized in the 3DS, but to have it mostly gone here is a real treat. The colors in the XL seem brighter and a bit more vibrant as well. The touch screen is really nicely made, and seems to be a slight improvement on the original, but the difference is negligible. The saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," comes to mind.

DS backwards compatibility: Honestly, this is one of the best things about the 3DXL. If you look up comparison videos of the first 3DS playing original DS games and a DSi playing DS games, the 3DS is surprisingly inferior. The colors are more bland, the resolution is fairly fuzzy, and if you choose to play it in its native resolution to fix that blurry smudginess, the screen becomes so small it's hardly worth doing that. The XL makes drastic improvements in all of these areas. The colors are just as bright and beautiful as playing on a normal DSiXL. Due to the larger screen size, playing in a native resolution still leaves ample room for playtime and is no longer the cramp experience the first 3DS offered. If you choose that route, the screen will be close to a normal DSi. Even if you don't, the picture is still decent at full-size, shockingly. This fantastic backwards compatibility is a real plus in the 3DSXL's favor and should not be understated. Massive improvement here.

Build quality: Much like the new DSi and DSiXL made notable improvements in build quality to their predecessors, so does the XL refine the design of its predecessor. Instead of an outer glossy finish, there is a sleek matte exterior that makes the XL feel more heavy duty and refined. It definitely has a better build quality than the original. My original 3DS' top screen hinge became fairly loose and the lock-in positions a little weak after just one instance where I accidentally jostled it. The hinges on the XL click and lock into one or two set angular positions before locking into the flat position and I know there's no way this thing is going to break easily at all. That's a really nice improvement. The system is surprisingly slick in its form too. It's about the same thickness as the original (which is kind of clunky in comparison, let's be honest), and even weighs less than expected, despite the larger screen and button size, and this size and shape really comes across as a mature, sleek gadget from Nintendo. I felt the same way about their classy DSiXL system too. The buttons are also vastly improved. The home, select, and start buttons are actual separated buttons that have a bit of click to them, which is a vast improvement. The other buttons have more "squish" to them, but still click in a satisfying way. All-in-all, the buttons feel very balanced, if that make sense. They're very similar to the DSiXL's button quality, which is to say, very nice. The 3-D and Volume slider are also different. When all the way off, the 3-D slider clicks into position, and when you want to turn the 3-D effect on, you must click it out of position and then slide it to your desired position. Both the volume and 3-D sliders seem more heavy duty. They stick and stay in position very, very well. A lot of small details add up in this system, to be sure.

Battery life: In my personal experience, the original 3DS had battery life that lasted about 4-5 hours with the 3-D slid up, 5-7 without 3-D, and roughly 6-8 hours with DS games. The 3DS XL is supposed to last 3.5-6.5 hours with 3D, 6-8 without, and 8-10 with DS games. It's not a HUGE improvement, but every bit counts. If you're like me and play a lot of the time with the system plugged into the wall, it won't really matter all that much anyway, but for those who want to play on the go, this is a really nice improvement over the original.

Sound: Supposedly, the sound tech in the 3DSXL is pretty close to the original, but I (and others, I've checked) have noticed some differences. The speakers on the XL seem a bit quieter than the original. Not a ton, mind you, but it's noticeable. The speaker volume level seems to depend on which game you're playing too. 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure seems just as loud as before, but better now. I tend to play my 3DS with these amazing headphones on, and the difference becomes really noticeable then. The sound from the XL with headphones seems a lot more detailed and ambient than before, and the volume level is fine. The highs, mids, and lows are distinctive with no aspect overpowering or distorting the others. Much like the visuals, I'm hearing things in games I never heard before, and it has enhanced my experience even further. Great stuff here, and a very pleasant surprise!

Memory: The 3DSXL comes with a 4 GB SD card, making for a much bigger space for storage than the 2 GB SD card included with the first models. This is nice. I almost filled my first one up and still had a lot more games to get. Granted, you can buy any sized SD to use with the 3DS after some formatting, but having more space right off the bat is nice.

Any issues?: In many ways, the 3DSXL is what the 3DS should have been from the beginning, and it's a fantastic little handheld. It's not quite perfect though. For one, where's the second analog slider? There's ample room under the right-hand face buttons for it, but alas, no slider. It's not a problem that bothers me much, but I must note it because there are many who will view it as an issue. Imagining the boat-peripheral they're making for this system makes me giggle a bit. It conjures up visions of Nintendo releasing a laptop-sized 3DS with trigger buttons, lol. I understand they kept it out due to tech/power/space optimization, which makes sense. Personally, I never cared much for a second slider, and not having one has pushed developers to come up with some really creative things in the past on the DS and 3DS alike. I also find the design of the XL to be, like the original, cramped and painful to hold after a while, especially in high-action games. It's definitely better, don't get me wrong, but the cramping is still there a bit. I highly recommend getting this comfort grip for the system, it's worth its weight in gold with regards to comfort. :D Perhaps the most annoying thing about this handheld is the d-pad. It works just as well as the one before, but now it's extremely "clicky." I don't mean the button clicks when you use it; that has always been the case with the 3DS. What I mean is, now the d-pad seems to be looser in its area, and so makes this "clickety" sound against the bracket if you lift your thumb off of it even if only for a split-second. It can be really annoying. One thing I used to gripe about the XL was the lack of more "mature" color choices. I love my Blue XL and everything, but the Blue, Red, and Pink XL model don't exactly scream "adult gadget" the way the classy DSiXL color choices did, but this all black version looks real nice. I would have preferred an all-white version, because I like how sci-fi all white tech gadgets look, but the all black color scheme looks really cool too. It's too late for me to buy one now, but if this had been available from the start, it would have been a real temptation to get this color scheme over the brighter color choices available.

I realize this review is very long, but when considering tech purchases that are this pricey, these kind of reviews always helped me make informed decisions better. I have both the original and now the XL, and I must say the 3DSXL feels like the "true" 3DS. The system should have been like this from the start, honestly, and when it was originally announced, I, along with many others, hoped for an XL edition. Now we get it and it has been well worth the wait. For those who don't own a 3DS yet, this is the perfect time to get it. This system finally delivers on the promise of the original 3DS, and now there's an excellent library of titles for newcomers to joyously embrace. At a mere 30$ more than the original for practically double the space and a big jump in hardware quality, it's more than worth it. This is a great value. I'm glad I got the original a year ago, but I am absolutely thrilled to get this version, and heartily recommend it to all gamers with a heart container for Nintendo. It's not a choice you'll regret. I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful. Have a good day. Toodles.
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175 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth the upgrade!, August 21, 2012
By 
Steven (Slidell, LA USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I don't feel like writing a long review as the other reviews seem to cover the finer points of the item just fine.

I just want to say, if you have an original 3DS, upgrade to this one if you can. If you don't have a 3DS at all, buy this one. Your eyes will love you for it. I rarely played my original 3DS (with 3D on or off) because the screens were so small and my eyes would get tired after 30 minutes or so (this never happened with my DS Lite, seems to just be more happening on the screen with 3DS games). I wasn't going to pick up the XL until I was reading reviews on other sites and almost every one of them were bragging about how much easier this one is on the eyes. They couldn't have been more correct. I went to gamestop and traded my old 3DS and a few games and got the XL, did my system transfer in the store (took about 30 minutes or so) and walked out with my new XL all ready to go with my ambassador games and all of the other games I downloaded from the eshop.

Here are some other changes I have noticed so far. One huge change I love about this system is that they moved the stylus back to the right side, so you don't have to fumble with the system trying to get it out of the back anymore (I know it seems like a small change, but it makes a huge difference in my opinion). Another thing I haven't seen pointed out yet is they took away the green 3D indicator light that was right next to the top screen, not sure how important that is to everyone else, but it was quite distracting to me at times and I am glad it is gone. Also, the 3D slider now has a slight ridge in it so you can tell when you have turned it completely off as well, not a very important change, but useful nonetheless.
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205 of 233 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first impressions of the 3DS XL, August 19, 2012
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Well, I just came back from Target about 30 minutes ago and I picked up my 3DS XL. I picked up the red and black one. As soon as I took it out of the box I could see that this was well worth the money. IMO, the overall design is much better than the original 3DS. When you open the lid, you a hear a click that assures you that the hinge is tightly fastened. The screens are beautiful and the size of them are great. The original 3DS's screen is dwarfed compared to the 3DS XL's as it's 90% bigger. The stylus is now on the side rather than on the top which I think is a better place for it, as it's easier to get to in the middle of a game. The outer shape seems to have a more rounded design than the original 3DS. There is no docking station for recharging this time but rather it went back to the original cord in the back. Also, if you have an old DS XL case, then the 3DS XL will fit in it. I have one that I bought from BB last week for $1.99. Also, the 3DS XL comes with a 4GB card rather than the 2GB that comes with the original 3DS.

I popped in Mario 3D just to see how the picture was and I was amazed on how vivid the colors are and how the game fits perfectly as on the DS XL, people complained that the games seemed a little blurry because of the size enhancement. I've registered it on clubnintendo.com and now I'm in the process of tranferring my data from original 3DS to my XL. It's taking awhile but it was a snap making the transfer. Here's the video I used for it.

How to Transfer Files From a 3DS to a 3DS XL on youtube

Update: My system has now been fully transferred and everything from my original 3DS is now on my 3DS XL including the Ambassador Program info. Took about 20 minutes give or take. Also, you have to first do a system update on your 3DS XL before you start the transfer so you'll have to connect your 3DS XL to your WiFi connection before anything. The 3DS XL comes charged about 50% straight out of the box, so you can make the full transfer without having to charge it first. Also, for everyone who doesn't actually own a 3DS but plans on getting one, spend the extra $30-$40 and get the XL. You definitely won't be disappointed.

Update #2: Well, I've played a few games so far such as MK 7, Mario 3D, SSF IV, and Heroes of Ruin, and I must say, it's great. With my original 3DS, I really didn't use the 3D aspect of it on games because I tend to move around a lot while playing and the "sweet" spot was very small to really maintain the 3D effect but it's much bigger on the XL. Super Street Fighter IV is beautiful in 3D on such a nice sized screen. The bigger screen also added a lot of depth in MK 7 as it looks like you are really driving down a road. This bigger screen really makes me appreciate the 3D aspect of the 3DS and it's games. The 3D XL really makes me glad to be a Nintendo fan and I can't wait to see what they have their sleeves in the next coming months and years as far as games. I think the 3DS's library might be able to top the DS's in a couple of years and we all know that won't be an easy job but I think now we have a near perfect handheld gaming device.
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122 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Nintendo delivers on the 3DS' potential (an in-depth look at the improvements and differences over the original 3DS), August 21, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If one looks at the 3DS with an unbiased, objective point of view, there is a lot to love. It was basically a next-gen successor of Nintendo's vastly successful DS console, with the horse-power of a console somewhere between the Gamecube and the Wii. It utilized a very cool 3-D effect that, when done right, really adds to the overall immersion of the gaming experiences available on it. Everything was an improvement on the original DS. Granted, it also had some caveats and issues as well. The 3DS XL does a very good job delivering the goodness of the original 3DS, while making vast improvements over its smaller brother original. In this review, I will focus on the differences and improvements this model makes on the 3DS line. I'll warn you right now, this is a long review. If you don't like long reviews, then you may want to skip this. :P

Screen Size: With a title that includes "XL," obviously the increase in size is the biggest difference between this and the original 3DS. It may be easy to hear that the screens are 90% bigger than the original, but it really is a stark difference when you take the system out of the package and see it for yourself. The XL's screens are HUGE compared to the original. It's comparable to the jump between the DSi and the DSXL, for those savvy to what that means, but in this case its even bigger because the top screen is in a widescreen format. Despite the size increase, the picture is still crisp and pops with nice detail. I thought that because the screen would be bigger, but with the same resolution as the original, the XL's picture would be distorted and fuzzy, but that's not the case here. I've put the screen detail and quality through rigorous testing since buying the system, playing many different games, and the bigger picture really makes the scenery more detailed than I ever noticed before. It's no exaggeration to say that the games actually feel new due to this greater detail. It's great!

Screen quality: Instead of the top half of the XL having a shiny, glossy finish of the screen and the area around it that the original featured, the 3DSXL features an almost "smoothed over" finish that was meant to lessen glare from the sun or other lights from bothering your eyes. It actually makes quite a difference. The trade-off is that the back-lighting seems just a smidgen less bright, but not much at all. One of the biggest problems I had with the original 3DS was the problem of "ghosting." It was especially frequent in games with areas of high contrast. This was a common issue people had with the original 3DS, but I haven't noticed it much at all yet with the XL. This is a big plus for me, because that ghosting was one of my biggest gripes with the original. I made my peace with it though, because ghosting naturally occurs from time to time with the tech being utilized in the 3DS, but to have it mostly gone here is a real treat. The colors in the XL seem brighter and a bit more vibrant as well. The touch screen is really nicely made, and seems to be a slight improvement on the original, but the difference is negligible. The saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," comes to mind.

DS backwards compatibility: Honestly, this is one of the best things about the 3DXL. If you look up comparison videos of the first 3DS playing original DS games and a DSi playing DS games, the 3DS is surprisingly inferior. The colors are more bland, the resolution is fairly fuzzy, and if you choose to play it in its native resolution to fix that blurry smudginess, the screen becomes so small it's hardly worth doing that. The XL makes drastic improvements in all of these areas. The colors are just as bright and beautiful as playing on a normal DSiXL. Due to the larger screen size, playing in a native resolution still leaves ample room for playtime and is no longer the cramp experience the first 3DS offered. If you choose that route, the screen will be close to a normal DSi. Even if you don't, the picture is still decent at full-size, shockingly. This fantastic backwards compatibility is a real plus in the 3DSXL's favor and should not be understated. Massive improvement here.

Build quality: Much like the new DSi and DSiXL made notable improvements in build quality to their predecessors, so does the XL refine the design of its predecessor. Instead of an outer glossy finish, there is a sleek matte exterior that makes the XL feel more heavy duty and refined. It definitely has a better build quality than the original. My original 3DS' top screen hinge became fairly loose and the lock-in positions a little weak after just one instance where I accidentally jostled it. The hinges on the XL click and lock into one or two set angular positions before locking into the flat position and I know there's no way this thing is going to break easily at all. That's a really nice improvement. The system is surprisingly slick in its form too. It's about the same thickness as the original (which is kind of clunky in comparison, let's be honest), and even weighs less than expected, despite the larger screen and button size, and this size and shape really comes across as a mature, sleek gadget from Nintendo. I felt the same way about their classy DSiXL system too. The buttons are also vastly improved. The home, select, and start buttons are actual separated buttons that have a bit of click to them, which is a vast improvement. The other buttons have more "squish" to them, but still click in a satisfying way. All-in-all, the buttons feel very balanced, if that make sense. They're very similar to the DSiXL's button quality, which is to say, very nice. The 3-D and Volume slider are also different. When all the way off, the 3-D slider clicks into position, and when you want to turn the 3-D effect on, you must click it out of position and then slide it to your desired position. Both the volume and 3-D sliders seem more heavy duty. They stick and stay in position very, very well. A lot of small details add up in this system, to be sure.

Battery life: In my personal experience, the original 3DS had battery life that lasted about 4-5 hours with the 3-D slid up, 5-7 without 3-D, and roughly 6-8 hours with DS games. The 3DS XL is supposed to last 3.5-6.5 hours with 3D, 6-8 without, and 8-10 with DS games. It's not a HUGE improvement, but every bit counts. If you're like me and play a lot of the time with the system plugged into the wall, it won't really matter all that much anyway, but for those who want to play on the go, this is a really nice improvement over the original.

Sound: Supposedly, the sound tech in the 3DSXL is pretty close to the original, but I (and others, I've checked) have noticed some differences. The speakers on the XL seem a bit quieter than the original. Not a ton, mind you, but it's noticeable. The speaker volume level seems to depend on which game you're playing too. 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure seems just as loud as before, but better now. I tend to play my 3DS with these amazing headphones on, and the difference becomes really noticeable then. The sound from the XL with headphones seems a lot more detailed and ambient than before, and the volume level is fine. The highs, mids, and lows are distinctive with no aspect overpowering or distorting the others. Much like the visuals, I'm hearing things in games I never heard before, and it has enhanced my experience even further. Great stuff here, and a very pleasant surprise!

Memory: The 3DSXL comes with a 4 GB SD card, making for a much bigger space for storage than the 2 GB SD card included with the first models. This is nice. I almost filled my first one up and still had a lot more games to get. Granted, you can buy any sized SD to use with the 3DS after some formatting, but having more space right off the bat is nice.

Any issues?: In many ways, the 3DSXL is what the 3DS should have been from the beginning, and it's a fantastic little handheld. It's not quite perfect though. For one, where's the second analog slider? There's ample room under the right-hand face buttons for it, but alas, no slider. It's not a problem that bothers me much, but I must note it because there are many who will view it as an issue. Imagining the boat-peripheral they're making for this system makes me giggle a bit. It conjures up visions of Nintendo releasing a laptop-sized 3DS with trigger buttons, lol. I understand they kept it out due to tech/power/space optimization, which makes sense. Personally, I never cared much for a second slider, and not having one has pushed developers to come up with some really creative things in the past on the DS and 3DS alike. I also find the design of the XL to be, like the original, cramped and painful to hold after a while, especially in high-action games. It's definitely better, don't get me wrong, but the cramping is still there a bit. I am waiting for CTA-Digital to release a Sega Saturn-esque hand grip for the system. :D Perhaps the most annoying thing about this handheld is the d-pad. It works just as well as the one before, but now it's extremely "clicky." I don't mean the button clicks when you use it; that has always been the case with the 3DS. What I mean is, now the d-pad seems to be looser in its area, and so makes this "clickety" sound against the bracket if you lift your thumb off of it even if only for a split-second. It can be really annoying. One more personal gripe: the color choices. Really Nintendo? Bright blue and red? The DSiXL had really mature, fetching color options that made the system feel like an adult's gadget. These slick red and blue colors are a lot less subtle and elegant. Don't get me wrong, I own a teal 3DS (not exactly the most "mature" color choice) and love it, but I wish there had been a more subdued teal, gold, or forest/jade green finish to choose from. Just you wait, as soon as I post this review, that option will become available, knowing my luck. lol

I realize this review is very long, but when considering tech purchases that are this pricey, these kind of reviews always helped me make informed decisions better. I have both the original and now the XL, and I must say the 3DSXL feels like the "true" 3DS. The system should have been like this from the start, honestly, and when it was originally announced, I, along with many others, hoped for an XL edition. Now we get it and it has been well worth the wait. For those who don't own a 3DS yet, this is the perfect time to get it. This system finally delivers on the promise of the original 3DS, and now there's an excellent library of titles for newcomers to joyously embrace. At a mere 30$ more than the original for practically double the space and a big jump in hardware quality, it's more than worth it. This is a great value. I'm glad I got the original a year ago, but I am absolutely thrilled to get this version, and heartily recommend it to all gamers with a heart container for Nintendo. It's not a choice you'll regret. I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful. Have a good day. Toodles.
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96 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what the 3DS needed to be in the first place, August 17, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Having purchased one of these fine pieces of hardware in Japan I have the benefit of having taken it for a test drive long before it hits American shores, so I thought I'd offer my thoughts on Nintendo's latest installment in its handheld line.

HARDWARE:

Aesthetically speaking, the 3DS XL is gorgeous. Gone is the awkward size and shape of the original hardware, and in are beautiful curves and a tasteful tasteful matte finish, a sight to sore eyes in this day and age of glossy gadgets. Being matte, the device isn't prone to picking up fingerprints, and generally looks cleaner and neater even after extended use. The nicely rounded edges of the system also now fit well in the hand, offering a much more pleasant experience while gaming for long periods of time. Some have complained about the quality of the plastic used to make the device, but in my experience the 3DS XL feels exceptionally sturdy. While the plastic casing may not exhibit the class of the brushed aluminum and glass seen in Apple products, it serves its purpose of keeping the price of the system low while still looking quite dapper to boot.

Atheistical value aside, the 3DS XL is a much more thoughtfully constructed system than its predecessor, and does well in learning from past mistakes. The stylus has been moved back around to the right hand side of the system for ease of access, and is once again a solid piece of plastic instead of the telescopic stylus featured on the original 3DS. This new stylus is nearly identical to that of the older DSi XL. The SD card slot has been moved from the left side of the system to its right, and the included SD card doubled from 2GB to 4GB. This is a nice inclusion now that Nintendo is beginning to push full 3DS games for download starting with the launch of the system, and will ensure that buyers have room enough for at least a couple of games. One of the main draws of this system, however, is of course the dramatically increased screen size. This boost in screen real-estate is far more than an affectation or marketing gimmick though, as it makes 3D content much more dramatic and immersive. Soaring through the skies in titles such as Kid Icarus: Uprising, or drifting around corners in close races in games like Mario Kart 7 comes to life in an exciting and engaging way that will keep you from putting down the system until you absolutely have to. The amount of time you'll be able to go on these gaming binges is extended now too with the added battery life. Recently, on a plane ride I had the system on the lowest brightness setting with the 3D off, and was able to play an impressive seven and a half hours of New Super Mario Bros 2. The 3D slider has also seen a thoughtful revision in that it now clicks into the off position, and no longer has the grating green glowing 3D emblem next to it. Besides looking better, games feel better as the controls are now more adequately spaced. On the original 3DS, the circle pad and the d-pad were a bit cramped, and switching between the two was rather awkward. The same cannot be said, however, of the 3DS XL. I've found myself switching with ease between the two pads during intense bouts of Monster Hunter, and have been consciously aware of this great improvement in ergonomics.

Truly the only negative thing I have to say about the system from a hardware perspective is its lack of a second circle pad. There were obvious space constraints with the original 3DS, and the circle pad pro add on improved the system's ergonomics, but with the 3DS XL there's very little reason that a second circle pad wouldn't be included out of the box. Though the omission of a second circle pad hasn't effected me yet, as none of the games that I currently play require one, inevitably there will be many games that do, and when that day comes I can only hope that the 3DS XL's circle pad pro extension doesn't destroy the impecable aesthetics and ergonomics I have described above.

SOFTWARE:

There truly isn't much to be said about the 3DS XL's software as it's the same software that's been on every 3DS system shipped since launch day. The added screen size does benefit the home screen, however, as smaller tiles become easier to see and to tap upon. The same can be said about menus both in and out of games, and I have even found myself using my thumb occasionally to tap on touchscreen items that required a more precise tap on the original 3DS.

SYSTEM TRANSFER:

If you're like myself, and coming off the original 3DS system, chances are you're probably going to want to transfer your data from your old 3DS to the XL. The good news with regards to this is that it's easy and well implemented, the bad news is that you will need both systems to complete the transfer. This, of course, means no selling or trading in of your old system to drum up cash for the XL. That aside, however, the system transfer options are available under settings, and are largely automated. Nintendo has even provided a lovely Pikmin themed loading screen to keep you entertained while you watch your data transferred between your systems. This transfer is fairly comprehensive, though does not include some virtual console content from my experience. This is not much of an issue though, as all virtual console content can easily be re-downloaded from the Nintendo store after the system transfer is complete.

VERDICT:

In the 3DS XL Nintendo has a true winner. This system has addressed all of the gripes I had with the original 3DS hardware, and even goes above and beyond the call in many respects. Though the omission of a second circle pad is unfortunate, it isn't a big enough misstep to negate all of the things the system does right, and at only $30 more expensive than original 3DS, new buyers would be foolish not to take the step up to this system. Is the system worthy enough to justify an upgrade for all of us who have the original 3DS though? Simply put, yes. The duty of a game console is to create the best, most immersive environment possible for the software that is written for it, and the 3DS XL offers a far more immersive experience than its predecessor.

Aesthetics: 9.5/10
Comfort: 9.8/10
Durability: 9.5/10
Screen: 9.5/10
Controls: 9.0/10

Overall: 9.5/10
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the 3DS, September 2, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Many people cried foul when Nintendo announced the 3DS XL, for most of us however, it was a given. If Apple can sell iPods, iPads, iPhones and soon mini iPads I don't see what's wrong with Nintendo upscaling their portable console. Oh yeah, it's still portable. People will complain about the size (it fits perfectly in my pocket), if that really is your only concern then just keep your 3DS.
One thing I soon noticed when I first bought my 3DS were the lines forming on the top screen. That over anything was my biggest pet peeve... But I said to my self that it's fine, there will be an XL soon. Hooray! The screen is big and the games look fantastic on them, a lot of people will mention pixelation, but if graphics are that important to you then shouldn't you be gaming on a Vita? Resident Evil Revelations looks GORGEOUS, set the depth to very strong and witness the marvel that 3D is. Games in general look more appealing on the screen, yes the screen is awesome, I can never go back to a small screen.
The fact is that I didn't have a lot of gripes with the original model, the matte finish is more desirable and better looking than that finger print magnet.
Also, if you are looking to trade in: It would be much easier to sell it to someone you know than to go through all unnecessary steps that involves trading in a store. I sold it to my sister, bought the XL and easily transferred everything.
Edit: I was using the 3D camera to take pictures of my moms dog, I showed her the picture and she said it looked better than a normal picture... Mind you my mother is 61 and hardly cares about electronics, but a simple 3D picture of a dog impressed her. The 3D effect is easier to see on the XL's screen. The battery runs fine too, I played it for a whole day and left it on sleep mode for the night, the next morning it was barely on the last bar. The 3Ds screen is brighter, as bright as the 3DS gets when charging.
Pros:
+Bigger screen
+No lines on top screen, doesn't easily smudge (both from the screen and matte finish),
3D effect is better
+longer battery life
+it is still portable (you people must wear skinny jeans or have extremely small pockets) +System transfer is easy, google it or look it up on youtube=
+Revisit your 3DS games, RE:Revelations looks stunning, so does Kid Icarus: Uprising and Ocarina of Time 3D etc.
+More comfortable, the round edges are easier on your hands
+The pictures don't do justice to the matte finish, they make them look dull. I actually like the sleek and clean look.
+The pixelation is no noticeable, the games actually benefit with the extra screen girth
+The 3D effect is more prominent, easier on the eyes.
Cons?
-The size might be an issue to some, though it's not that bad.
-No cradle (not an issue with me, I hardly ever used mine)
-No second analog stick.
Though this one is easily debatable. How would you feel if you didn't want to own an XL but Nintendo decided to add the second stick to it? It would be silly to add features that were not in the original 3DS model. After all this more of a option, rather than an improvement. A few games support the cradle but I think the handheld is fine with it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nintendo thou hast ALMOST redeemed thyself., August 30, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Completely worth every penny to upgrade from original 3ds. I was about to just sell mine until I saw the 3ds XL was coming out. I won't beat a dead horse with so many specific but:

upsides:
* The screens are larger and the games really don't look worse. No more eye strain.
* The 3d is MUCH better. I can actually move the screen around a little and not get the ghosting effect. Not so with original. I had to be dead center and no movement or I'd lose the 3d. I stopped using a while back. I have an LG passive 3d tv and Evo 3d so, I can tolerate 3d. Just not with the original 3ds....
* No more cramping. I'm 5'8", 170 lbs. so, I'm no giant. The original would have my hands cramped after about 20 mins. or so. The xl is almost perfect to hold and play for me.
* No more gimpy screen wobbling.

downsides:
* It is a lot less 'portable'.
* still no second analog or circle pad pro.
* i've not noticed sound difference. I've heard it's worse and it was pretty sad on original.

I had gotten a Vita 6 months ago and was going to sell my 3ds. Now with this release, it might be the other way around.....
I think the upgrade or purchase is definitely worth the $200. I really wish that Nintendo would have not said that they weren't going to release this originally, I would have waited on purchasing the original 3ds....
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reason to play the 3DS., August 19, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
So I bought a 3DS Original on day 1. I suffered through the lack of games. I bought several games with hopes that sometime soon I would enjoy my system. The 3D effect was fun... for the first 5 minutes. The screen seemed to hinder the games, with the 3D having too small of a sweet spot to enjoy, and much of the detail lost in the smaller screen.

Today, I picked up a 3DS XL based on video comparisons other reviewers had posted prior to release.

This system has brought life back to so many of my games. And I even play them in 3D again.

The changes in hardware in a nutshell:
- The system fits better in your hands for longer gameplay without the cramps the original had.
- You won't realize how much you appreciate having the 'Start' 'Select' and 'Home' buttons as actual buttons until you play a game on the XL. This should have never been the issue that it was on the original 3DS.
- Without the glossiness of the original, the 3DS XL does not feel like its going to slip out of your hands.
- It seems they have corrected the problem that lead to the original 3DS scratching its top screen with the border of its bottom screen. Will update if this changes however.
- On the negative... I already miss my drop in charging dock from the original.

Let me make a few observations about some games I have tested.

- Legend of Zelda O.of T. 3d: you can see some small jagged edges on Link whenever there is camera movement. Overall, you can see that the people who remade this game did pay attention to details when you can see the game blown up though. 3D image did have a bit of a 'ghosting' effect, meaning if not centered just right, you would see duplicate images of things... I like the 3D, but on a minimum setting.

- Mario Kart 7: This game was silky smooth, easy to see, easy to navigate... I would never play this on an original 3DS again if given the option. 3D effect was fantastic all the way up.

- Kingdom Hearts D.D.D.: There is so much going on in the screen on some levels, that the only way to truly keep track of what is going on in the fight is having an XL. Major Improvement to the game. 3D effect was nice. Way up on the cutscenes... mid level was good during fights.

- Star Fox 64 3D: Once again... size matters. The XL provides the eyes the ability to focus without squinting. 3D effect ok on max settings, but I still played just below the half way mark for comfort

- Lego Star Wars 3: So much easier on the eyes. 3D effect great just below the mid level mark.

Virtual Console:

- Super Mario Bros (1985): The screen is large enough to enjoy this title... before it seemed like squinting for any details.

- Legend of Zelda: Same as Mario Bros.

- Metroid Prime Fusion: This looked really good on the XL. I didn't mind it though on the 3DS original.

DS Games:

Sonic Classic Collection: I never liked how this looked on even the DS Lite. I actually thought it looked pretty good on the XL.

Pokemon Platinum: Looked good, not complaints

Super Mario 64 DS: Jaggies around the characters... but I remember it being a little like that on the DS Lite as well. On a side note, the game is actually pretty nice having a analog stick on the 3DS.

Mega Man Zero Collection: For a GBA port, this looked really sharp. Then again, the GBA games looked pretty good on the GBA Player for the Gamecube.

Overall:

I would not buy the original 3DS after trying the XL. If you are a fan of Nintendo games, you will not be disappointed. I know there are people who are upset about the lack of a second analog stick, however, I have found that current games seem to do ok without it. As an FPS fan on Xbox... I don't think I could really take an FPS seriously on a portable screen regardless. Its a different experience. Kingdom Hearts plays just fine without it. And, if you really want the second stick, I have read that they will be releasing an XL version soon.

I would highly recommend this as an adult, as a modern gamer, and as a classic gamer. Nintendo seems to have learned from some mistakes in the past.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great system - terrible pricing on Amazon ~, December 11, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Purchased 3ds XL Mario Kart Limited Edition version on Target.com for $199.99. Yep. With Mario Kart 7 pre-installed. Beware these unscrupulous 3rd party vendors. Target also retails the 3ds XL for $199.99 normally, and the other bundles for around $239.99.

Adding to the positive reviews for this system. I recently upgraded from my DSi XL, but will be keeping the DSi. Here's why: the backwards compatibility works fine. But the screens on this system have a tendency to distort the image. So the game looks like you're watching a video online, then blowing it up to a larger size than and getting the grain. It is okay, but playing side by side, it is VERY noticeable. So I will be playing only 3ds titles on the 3ds since the resolution is wonky.

The 3ds has a sliding 3d scale which can be toggled at any time. This was and is the most important feature to me. If I am getting eye strain, or if I'm playing a game and just don't need the 3d depth, I can lessen it or shut it off. Perfect!

Turning the system off is a bit different than the DS. You have to quit the game, then go to the menu, then hit okay to turn off system. No more of just holding the power button. Still, the games go into sleep mode if you just close the lid.

Battery life is good, but it takes a lot longer to charge than the DS did. Probably twice as long (judging by charging time on each when the low battery indicator comes on).

The volume is still on the side... yes you will still probably hit it with your hand when using the L trigger. Headphone jack still at the bottom (not a huge deal, but I like to lay down and rest the bottom of the system on my torso... can't with headphones in. The direction pad is lower, and in an odd place. Just a note for those not a fan of the analog circle pad.

In summary: It's not perfect, but it's pretty great. The titles being released are amazing. I went for the 3ds due to price and selection of quality games over the PS Vita.

Note: 3ds is ready to play out of the box (unlike PSP and PS Vita which require Sony memory sticks). The 3ds uses an SD card and comes with one already. And it has a charger, the same as the DS, so that's nice if you have DS charger already.

Also, the 3DS XL fits perfectly in my DSi XL pouch: Official Nintendo Travel Case for DSi and DSi XL - Wine. The blue is nice and it has a metallic look and is fingerprint resistant. Graphics are pretty amazing for most games, and though it has less impressive hardware than a Vita, I can't complain about the entire package. A great hand held system, even for someone like me who is not big into 3D.
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Nintendo 3DS XL Black/Black - Nintendo 3DS XL
$199.99 $199.98
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