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Oh I do spoil you lovely, lovely readers.
Welcome to my meeting with the brand-new Nintendo 3DS XL. Since I am a UK resident, the console was released here a few weeks earlier than the US so I am coming to you from the future!
On first opening of the box, you’ll notice the lack of a charger. This has already been well-documented by various news outlets but it seems that several retailers (including GameStop in the US) are packaging the new console together with the charger. Also, if you’re upgrading but not trading in, you can use the old 3DS charger for the new XL. The same charger from the DSi XL also works with the new console.
It comes in quite a small box, very little packaging in the box too which is always nice to see. Save the planet, and all that. Of course, the usual bits of paperwork are in there with the console. Depending on what colour you got, my review may be slightly biased. I bought the red version (it’s my favourite colour) and one of the very first things I noticed after removing it from the box was the instant greasy fingerprints you leave all over the console. It harked back to the days of my GameBoy Advance SP which also was a PITA for leaving fingerprints. And so again, I am forever cleaning it to remove them. With the old-style 3DS, you never really had that with it being so shiny. I mean in the sense that they weren’t so obvious to spot.
Opening the console for the first time, the hinge is definetely as strong on this one if not a little stronger. First impressions about the 3DS XL other than the fingerprint remark? Even with my tiny little girl hands, I found the console very easy to grip and I felt like my long fingers were no longer fighting for gaming space to try and press the buttons. I personally, always found both the screen and the layout of the 3DS a little small for me. I still believe that there’s too many buttons on it for a console that size. This is where the 3DS XL triumphs. The bigger console means that the buttons are more spread out, and if you struggle with eyesight issues and before you were always squinting at the screen- you no longer will have to with the 90% bigger screen.
And it’s really not a sales gimmick. The screen really is so much bigger than the original 3DS. And also the clarity and sharpness are improved too. Staring at the screen for a long period of time means that the 3D effect (should you have it turned on) is also not as harsh on your eyes either. Not that I’m recommending that you glue yourself to a console for a little longer each day, haha. As I mentioned before too, the 3D slider now has an audible click so you know when the effect is turned off or on. As always, Nintendo recommends that the 3D effect is not turned on for children below the age of 7- no matter how much they want to play Mario Kart in 3D.
The sound seems to be improved somewhat also. I always believed that it sounded a little tinny and cheap on the 3DS. With the inclusion of a newly-designed speaker system- the sound on the console now seems to be just as good with headphones or without. Of course, if you’re playing Nintendogs- do you really want everyone around knowing that you’re a grown adult playing on a cute puppy game?
The battery has also been beefed up on the new console. With the old 3DS, a couple of hours gaming with the 3D and the wireless turned on and you would find that your battery would drain faster than water going down the drain. With the new XL, Nintendo have been kind enough to put a smarter battery into their new console. I’m still on the first full charge of the battery, playing about an hour each day. And it’s literally only just had the red light flicker on to tell me to plug in the charger. I’m very impressed, as I’ve had the console for just under a week and only now is it asking for some more juice. This is what we always wanted to see on handheld consoles- it was very much a bugbear with the last edition. And as always, Nintendo listened and delivered.
Supposedly, the new console is meant to be heavier than the 3DS but with it being larger and more ergonomic- it felt like the weight was better spaced out over the whole console where I always felt all the weight was at one end on the old version. I personally like the extra heft as I feel like I’m holding something worth the money I paid out for it. If technology has proven anything to us, it’s that the general public don’t really like light things. The heavier the weight, the more you feel like you bought something that was worth the hundreds you paid for it. I don’t think the extra weight is distracting, but better balanced that the 3DS.
Even with the new additions to the console like the bigger screen- is it worth the upgrade? I traded in my 3DS for my 3DS XL and I believe that it was very much worth it for me. Having suffered from many years of staring at tiny little screens on the Nintendo handheld- right from the early days of the GameBoy with the black and green dot matrix screen. It’s a real treat to be able to play games like Super Mario Land 3D on the bigger screen and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm is a joy. I really love it. But, saying this other people have held the machine and have said that even though the console is bigger- it’s also lighter and thinner so it makes it harder for people with larger hands than me to grip it properly. And of course, you don’t wish to be dropping anything that expensive. Even if Nintendo are insisting that they’ve made this console a little more durable. So- I shall leave it with you fair readers. If it’s not available in your country yet- go to your nearest gaming store and see if they have a demo model available to play and make up your own minds. I fell in love with it from the first time I played it- but it might take you a little longer to warm up to it.
Good luck and happy gaming!