Customer Review

98 of 116 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 
This review is from: Nintendo 3DS XL - Blue/Black (Video Game)
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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 19, 2012 4:58:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2012 5:00:01 PM PDT
Hi an excellent read please feel free to read my review and opinions on this excellent piece of nintendo kit :)

Hope you enjoy your XL :)

Posted on Aug 19, 2012 6:14:13 PM PDT
Peragulator says:
I picked the console up earlier today and while most of what you have here is true the construction isn't close to my DSi XL. Where that the top and bottom pieces are solid the base of the 3DS sees the bottom blue plastic easily pulled away. The other thing is the sound quality (or lack thereof) is disappointing. I'd describe it as "muddy". Resident Evil Revelations does look fantastic.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 12:41:13 PM PDT
Hi again and thanks for the compliment re my review :) I couldn't find any fault with the audio either with or without headphones (having said that decent hphones make a huge difference as you will get better bass mid range etc) so maybe you are hearing it very differently to me ? As for the construction build prob you mentioned i have yet to find usage faults as have only played for 2 hours (I get to use properly at end of August) but will take your word for it as i have only ever owned the orig 3ds and now the XL :)

Totally agree on resi rev's it's just a huge nostalgia trip to me as i have brilliant memories of the orig resi evil on the ps1 back in 1996! especially with the new ship deck on resi rev's being so similar to the resi 1 game dining hall flashbacks :)

Posted on Aug 20, 2012 10:56:51 PM PDT
Elbongo says:
If you are disappointed with the sound quality try switching the audio setting from Surround to Stereo. This makes them louder and is better if you don't use headphones. Just go to Settings on the home screen and find >Other Settings>--->(page 2) Sound--->Stereo.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 10:00:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 22, 2012 10:09:43 AM PDT
Peragulator says:
Elbongo: I switched to stereo and it does seem to improve the sound quality. I usually have the headphones on at home, something I can't do when I'm at work. Besides that the bottom cover that is easily pulled away with a fingernail the jack for the headphones doesn't have that positive *click* when inserted which could be a problem down the road.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:56:22 PM PDT
i completely agree on the build of the xl its is better but not as good at the dsi xl which felt nice and hefty.and actually had a much larger battery. I would prefer that as well. The bottom of the 3ds xl is thin and just sheet of plastic honest. which i have caught on edge of thumb more than once, showing me how flimsy it was. RE does look amazing on it. sound is touch and go. i found it depends on the game. I play with the 3ds voice chat headphones or my skull headphones.. both sound good and loud.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 10:28:27 AM PDT
B. Scott says:
sorry, being an Atheist, I laughed at the early line "Atheistically speaking." ;) haha.

thanks for the in depth review!

Posted on May 3, 2013 11:12:19 PM PDT
A. DuLac says:
Unfortunately this feels like a shill review - probably written by someone in Nintendo's marketing department or hired externally to write something up. Can't really trust it but I do appreciate the level of detail providing, even if it IS a shill review.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2013 7:40:01 PM PDT
Brooke Hardy says:
I appreciate that you think my writing is good enough to have been paid for by Nintendo, but I assure you that this is not the case. :)
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