3DS XL landed on European and Japanese shelves over the weekend. It seems to have had a good start; in the UK it outsold the original 3DS model at a rate of around 2:1 and bumped up the software sales of Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games — though we're not sure about giving the XL any particular credit for the last one. Meanwhile over in the East, undoubtedly helped by the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, 3DS XL — or LL, as it's known in Japan — sold over 193,000 units in the first two days on sale.
We imagine Nintendo's quite happy with the results — but more importantly, are you happy with the system itself? Have you purchased or tested one out, and if so what do you think? We've already reviewed the 3DS XL hardware, but here are some more personal opinions about the new model from a couple of Nintendo Life staff members.
I'd known from a couple of brief hands-on opportunities that I liked the form factor of 3DS XL, but I was particularly buzzed to get my own red + black model home on Saturday. Despite its plastic build, it actually feels like a quality piece of kit to me, but this overall feel seems to be polarizing opinion. Since successfully transferring my profile and games, meanwhile, I've been noticing a big difference in the gaming experience. The screens and system as a whole really are a lovely size, the extra weight seems well balanced enough that I haven't found myself struggling in longer play sessions, and I prefer the touch of the D-Pad and buttons over the original model. Marvel Pinball 3D has been a favourite, as I can actually see what I'm doing, and big titles such as Super Mario 3D Land really pop and look gorgeous. Those who obsess over pixel density and resolution may look closely and spot flaws on the bigger screens, but my over-arching impression has been overwhelmingly positive.
Then there's the battery, which has been a very, very welcome improvement. Overall, I'm pleased that I took the plunge.
I was pretty excited about 3DS XL prior to launch, as I was a great fan of the super-sized form factor of DSi XL. I always found the original 3DS to be a bit tiny and cramped after using DSi XL as my main handheld for so long, and I was never a fan of the D-Pad either. 3DS XL addresses both of those concerns for me: it feels extremely comfortable, and every button has just the right amount of click to it.
The larger display gives off a 3D effect that is easier on the eye too, though I think a slight resolution bump could have been beneficial; it looks great overall, but some apps, such as StreetPass Plaza, look a tad rougher than on the original model. I dragged out all my 3DS games to test, and the huge screens really give everything a new lease of life – particularly titles like Super Mario 3D Land. I've also spent a fair amount of time on Pokémon Conquest, and in 1:1 mode I'd say that DS games have rarely looked better than on 3DS XL.
This is how you do a hardware revision: it doesn't cut off the rest of the user base, but it does offer a superb alternative to the original model. I have no regrets.
Have you bought or played with a 3DS XL yet? How do you feel it compares to the original 3DS model? We'd love to hear your opinions on the positives — or negatives — of the new system and your initial impressions. Join the discussion in the comments section below.
If you've picked up a 3DS XL and need to know how to transfer your 3DS data, check out the following video.