News Article

Talking Point: What Do You Think of 3DS XL?

Posted by Mike Mason

Is bigger better?

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.

Tom Whitehead

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.

Mike Mason

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.

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

From the web

User Comments (103)



Corbs said:

If I get a freebie, I'll take it. If not, I'm passing. Love my purple 3DS just fine.



bezerker99 said:

It's a disappointment. Nothing was upgraded except screen size and battery (yaaay, an hour longer I have to play Bird Mania 3D).



K1LLEGAL said:

I got the blue one and i'm really impressed by it. Bigger is definitely better in this case. Much nicer than my Aqua Blue 3DS.

Kingdom Hearts alone deserves a bigger screen.



Heatran5400 said:

i know this is not the right place to ask this but when i transfer to my 3ds xl from my 3ds, does this make my ambassador games go away and all save data to all the various games including the ambassador games go away too?



ennan said:

Wasn't that bothered unitl I tried one out. The larger screen is gorgeous and really makes the 3D stand out. Also a lot more comfortable to hold. Condidering getting one now.



K1LLEGAL said:

You keep all save data and all ambassador games. I was worried about it too but seriously; it's all good



WolfyWardark said:

I got mine on Friday and I have to say, it's awesome!
It feels more comfortable in my hands, the top screen has less reflection, the matt finish looks really nice with no nasty fingerprints, the upscale looks good and the system transfer basically turned the XL into a carbon copy of my original 3DS. Overall, I'm very pleased with the 3DS XL.



ecco6t9 said:

Looking forward to picking mine up here in the states, in a few weeks.



NImH said:

Sir, you are a BirdManiac! Enough already, I'm sold.
On the 3DS XL however, I am not sold yet. I'll wait for an excuse (like my original taking a poop.) Seems great though.



Ren said:

lucky, here we are waiting in the states. I would trade mine in if they allowed system transfer at Gameslop but it looks like I'll have to buy and sell on Craigslist later so I don't lose all my junk. This is a great idea since it really did feel to small for a lot of games especially considering the horrible glare and cramped d-pad slider buttons.



Mk_II said:

I love it to bits. It is far more comfortable to hold and play, the buttons feel much better and the bigger screens are more immersive and i can actually see whats going on. Ive rediscovered some older releases like Starfox 64 that are now far more playable and enjoyable. Recommended purchase!



NintendoMaster said:

I bought the original 3DS on launch day and right now I have the Red and Black 3DS XL reserved at Gamestop. August 19th can't come sooner. I can't truthfully judge it yet without having it in my possession, but it certainly seems to me that bigger is better.



kdognumba1 said:

For me, I like the original 3DS size as I can take it everywhere with ease. I also like the look and design of the original better. The 3DS XL however does have much better battery life which I wish my original 3DS had.



Megumi said:

I'll wait for an actual 3DS know, like how DSi was.
Besides I spent my money to put skins on my black 3DS, I kinda wanna keep it for some time. xD



19Robb92 said:

I'm thinking about picking a silver one up tomorrow. Looks great, huge improvement over the original model.



RR529 said:

I don't have the money for it now, but when I do, I'll look into it.

I may just wait and see if my normal 3DS holds out over the years. The XL isn't technically superior in any way, and my normal 3DS can play the same games unhindered.



HandheldGuru97 said:

I am just fine with my small little 3DS that fits in my pocket, after feeling burned out after buying the Classic when it first came I vowed to never upgrade unless it was like the DSi, so I can wait another 3 years if I have to.



KaiserGX said:

The 3DSXL isn't that much bigger then the regular one closed. Still fits in your pocket. (well not if you have small pockets which then not even the regular 3DS fits).



SkywardLink98 said:

I'll consider upgrading when I can get a really good upgrade deal. $100 for bigger screens doesn't make sense to me since I can see fine on my normal one.



Lalivero said:

@irken004 I hate it, and you know why? 'Cause it isn't here in the states yet.

At first I was a bit annoyed and didn't think I'd get one, but apparently it makes the 3D a bit better on a bigger screen? Along with the other improvements, I think I will pick up one eventually. I just wish it came in an orange...

Other than that, I'm fine with my current black 3DS; no problems really except the glare when outside.



k8sMum said:

My poor eyes and arthritic right hand cannot wait for this baby. Trying hard to be patient and not green with envy at my brit friends. Hey…'envy green' would be a great launch colour here in the states!



Scollurio said:

Got it today, upgrading from kosmo black 3DS, I have to say after the very first time in held it in hand all my concerns were blown away. Build quality looks cheap on photos but definitely isnt in real, it feels great, solidly built, comfortably heavier than the small 3DS and the blown up screen with same resolution hardly gives you any trouble. I could see jaggies in Mario Kart and Heroes of Ruin before, I can see them now as well, they don't distract me more than they did before and everything else looks just fine. Definitely recommended!



Handy_Man said:

Actually, I just flew over to New York for vacation, and I stopped by the Nintendo World store. An employee actually had a 3DS XL demo unit, and I got to try it out!

The buttons still felt pretty small for my big hands, but everything else felt pretty good. The bigger screen makes the 3D stand out more to me, probably because it makes it look more... shall we say, cinematic.



JJtheTexan said:

I want one, but I'm waiting until it comes in solid black. No regrets about buying a 3DS last year though (the day after the price drop).

I imagine more colors will come out sometime in the second quarter next year.



chiptoon said:

I think iit looks great. I can't explain why I would spend more on a 2nd 3DS, as opposed to one of the consoles I don't have, but I'm really, really tempted.



DarkKirby said:

I think it doesn't have a Circle Pad Pro built in so I'm not paying for it. Nintendo made the Circle Pad Pro available then has seemingly worked to discourage the distribution of and use of the Circle Pad Pro by making it online from GameStop only. This is despite the universal complaint about the PSP was the lack of the 2nd Analog Stick and how the PSP 2 has the 2nd Analog Stick. Nintendo is being incredibly stupid by insisting their system is better off without efficient camera controls and is good enough to poor substitutes. In the end it just means 3D games can never be too action packed or the lack of good camera controls would make the game unplayable.



Dentyone said:

@Hyperstar96 I carry a messenger bag to hold all of my gadgetry. The 3DS XL is no less portable for me! Plus, the price difference is negligible with such an impressive screen size. It's a day 1 purchase for me.



cakeashi said:

i love it, i took the plunge and upgraded from my zelda edition 3ds and i'll never look back. crisp,beautiful display on both screens and resident evil revelations and ki:uprising look even better!! i tried playing mario tennis on my girlfriends 3ds and had to turn it off,it was too damn small!! i highly recommend the xl to anyone who likes to play games



Gridatttack said:

I kinda wanted this. Should have actually waited to buy this. I like the normal 3DS, but since I hardly take any portable system with me (my smartphone replaced them ), I think this one would fit me better.



Pokefanmum82 said:

still not for me until they come out with better colors than red and blue. I like my purple 3DS too much to part with it



Phle said:

I've been away this weekend, but I'll be picking mine up at the post-office tomorrow. I ordered a red one, and I'm quite sure I'll like it. My boyfriend will get my cosmos black 3DS after I've finished a system update, so I'll finally have someone else that owns a 3DS (he really didn't feel like upgrading from DS but now he get's an upgrade for free so hopefully he will like it)!

EDIT: Have completed system transfer and everything now and I'm very happy with my new 3DS XL red, feels super in my hands. Kinda lame that no game stores where I live have screen protectors for it yet though.



Zetchzie said:

@turtlelink Yea me too its more compact and all so im good plus the nokia battery has my 3ds running 8 hours on full power with all settings high



NintyMan said:

I'm sure the 3DS XL is great in person, and I would like to try it out if I ever see it in stores. Games like Kid Icarus Uprising and Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance would look spectacular on it. I don't have the money to get it now or later this year, but I'm likely to get one come next spring. Maybe by then there will be new colors?



SyFyTy said:

@Heatran5400 from what I've read on Nintendo's site, you can transfer the Ambassador games up to three times.But I'm unclear about the game saves (on any game besides those using cards). I have heard both that the saves ARE and ARE not transferred, I'm not sure there.



MeloMan said:

I still like my Cosmo two-tone 3DS (sexayyy!) but I would upgrade to the silver/black 3DS XL ONLY IF Gamestop will offer a "extra trade in credit for a 3DS XL if you bring in a 3DS..." deal and I only have to pay like, 50 bucks, or something reasonable. The small screens and sometimes hand cramps of holding the 3DS do get to me some days as I have medium to large hands. Time will tell, but I'm not forcing myself to get the 3DS XL as it's (hopefully) the NEXT iteration I'm after (holding out for dual analog, a more ergonomic feel, perhaps even bigger screens and most of all, an even bigger battery)



Lalivero said:

It would be nice if they gave out more of a color choice from the start. Limited Editions are one thing, but freeing up some peoples' favorite colors after they already have one just isn't nice, haha. Like if I decide to get an XL early on and they come out with orange later.



WolfRamHeart said:

I am really tempted to pick up a 3DS XL after hearing all the positive feedback. I am going to have a tough time holding out until Black Friday because I am hoping that Nintendo makes a special edition of the XL.



Jumpman said:

I really want to get my hands on an XL to really see the physical differences of the two systems, not just the size but the buttons and the finish. My 3DS always seems to be covered in fingerprints and smudges. Sigh...



KryptoKrunch said:

Matte finish, bigger screens and the shoulder buttons have made me want it. Can't wait to play games like DoA, SF643D and OoT3D on the XL.



Freak-Show said:

It doesn't come with a second circle pad but I can get over that. Still the 3DS XL makes the production of a normal 3DS look pointless. Plus I can't sneak a 3DS XL into school.



WaxxyOne said:

Still waiting until I can see the 3D in action before I commit to a purchase. I anticipate that the larger model will be more comfortable if it's not too much heavier, and the improved battery life is a definite win, but it's all about the 3D effect for me.



Dr-Rockzo said:

Getting mine for my birthday, upgrading from cosmos black to red. Can't wait surprised its getting good reviews.



grumblegrumble said:

I'll probably be upgrading, just because the smaller screens cause me eye strain after just a few minutes of use. The 3DS XL looks amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on one



CowLaunch said:

If the 3DS XL version were region free, I'd get it.

On a side note, why do people insist on regarding people's views in a binary fashion of either love or hate? I hate the term 'hater'.

I don't hate the 3DS XL, I quite like the look of it, but can't justify the expenditure in my current position.



JohnPhilipSousa said:

I'm getting this at some point, since I doubt they'd have another revision, and my 3DS is starting to wear down due to slightly poor choices regarding screen protectors and other things. I honestly doubt there's anything they could REALISTICALLY add. I won't buy any other handheld until the next gen DS.



zezhyrule said:

I already hold the normal 3DS in very low regard. So this would be a little lower I suppose.



Rekiotsu said:

3DS XL would be awesome, but I don't have money for it. Even so, I am happy with the original one.



Setrodox said:

I'd like to hear more about the DS 1:1 mode, if there's more to share. I don't really know what that means.



Kohaku said:

Got a XL and I am very happy with it! Playing games like Maro Land 3D and MK7 are even more fun now. Pokémon B&W looks better on this screen then on the normal 3DS. And the sound of the XL is also better.
I have the silver one, form the 20 pre orders in my game shop were almost all the silver ones.
Batterylife is not better for me because on my 3DS I had a non-original battery what gave me 16 hours playtime in 2D. So I wait for another battery now.
For people who are not sure what to do at the moment I only can say that ones played on the XL, you never want to go back to the original 3DS.



Justaguest said:

i was planning to sell my 3ds now that illl have xl but.. I am really not sure now as i discovered that download play on MK7 only restricts the other player to use shyguy. If it was like in mario kart ds where only 8 tracks were avaiable for download play id sell it but oportunity to have fun with all tracks with my cousin really makes me think.. can anyone confirm that MK7-less player can play all of games races?sorry for offtopicing



KaiserGX said:

You can do anything you can play normally, but you only get a Shy Guy and default kart.



Ducutzu said:

It's nice to see that this model is so well received. Personally, I am very happy with my original 3DS. I actually find the smaller screen size very cute.



3DSNoobieNerd said:

I was thinking of buying the 3DS XL, but I just remember of the power grip pro of NYKO. Now I can play the 3DS for 9 HOURS!!!



luminalace said:

Damn us Aussies have to wait another 22 days. I think EB games will be getting a demo unit in a couple weeks so I can work out if I need it day 1.



Felix_ said:

I upgraded from my Zelda 3ds (sold it to a friend), and I have no regrets. On my first 3ds I had the occasional ghosting problem (with high contrast scenes), however, I’ve played some Zelda, Kid Icarus, Super Mario 3d land and it seems the 3d effect works much more effectively. I haven’t experienced the same degree of ghosting in the spots I use to…In some places it’s gone completely and in some places it’s just barely noticeable.
However, I feel that the matte finish is much more prone to scratches. So will have to be even more careful…
Buttons do feel more clickable.
And Gameboy virtual console games look great in 1:1 pixel mode.
I love my red 3ds xl.



Slapshot said:

As an early adopter of the 3DS, the XL upgrade would put me at $350 for the 3DS in just over a years time. As much as I'd like one, I just can't reason with that kind of cost for a system with so little coming out in the near future that I absolutely have to have. Especially considering the lack of software for both my 3DS and Vita has not one, but two very expensive handhelds in my home collecting dust. Just can't do it.



tovare said:

The 3DS XL is a wonderfull handheld, and for me a worthwhile upgrade to play . Marvel Pinball 3D, but i totally understand those who stick with their original 3DS because all games will work fine on both. For new buyers I think the 3DS XL is a must.



3dsgamer02 said:

For me the XL is a mixed bag. I got my XL on Friday and had the time to try a number of my 3DS games on the XL. For most games I enjoy the larger screens of course. Zelda 3D for example is very nice on the larger screen. Kid Icarus is another story. Due to the increased weight it is uncomfortable for me to hold the XL when playing the game using the stylus control scheme. In addition to that the earphone jack is too far on the left side on the XL. When I hold the console while playing Kid Icarus I always touch the earphone plug.
Due to the large screen I will keep my XL. For travel and some games I will still use my old 3DS system (this is when I can manage to steal it from my wife ).



bezerker99 said:

@Dentyone For someone who has played video games on a small Standard Definition television his whole life, yeah - a bigger screen isn't really a big deal.

And btw, where is the 2nd circle pad? Where is the 8 mega pixel cameras?

^ THOSE would have been upgrades. I don't consider making the screen bigger worthy of spending 200 dollars.



19Robb92 said:

Just picked mine up today. Anyone who's on the fence should go for it, it's a huge improvement. More comfortable, better location for the pen, non-telescopic stylus, better design, A LOT better buttons (god, I love these shoulder buttons), improved 3D (by a lot - for me) etc. etc.

It's all just.. Better, in every way possible except the size. Though, it's as big as my 3DS was in it's case, so no problems.

Resident Evil Revelations with the 3D at Very High in the options and at full force on the 3DS just looks absolutely amazing on this. And I've been playing with those settings for 2h and haven't gotten tired in my eyes like I used to on the original 3DS. (yay!)

It's just a great package all around. Speaking of the package, the box was surprisingly small. I knew it would just be the system and some manuals, but damn.





Already posted a lot about this console on other forums why I think that if you already have a 3DS this ISN'T a good buy. Its a luxury buy. The original, standard 3DS is EVEN BETTER value for money now this has come out.

Only played around with it a few times at GAME and I must say, IT IS a lovely thing and you do get the feeling this really should have been the original design of the 3DS (or at least an option) at launch considering the DSi XL was already released. They planned this all along (developed and produced the XL units quite quickly after the original's release didn't they ). Not being ripped off, especially since the Wii U is on the way



Banker-Style said:

I got the Red+Black one of Friday,and so far I'm really impressed with it.
Obviously the big screens,are the best thing about it.
Metal Gear,and Kingdom Hearts look perfect on it.



LittleIrves said:

@LEGEND_MARIOID The Wii U's impending launch is the one thing that's holding me back. Just can't rationalize what is, as you say, a "luxury" purchase, when I know I'll be spending another chunk of change just a few months later. (But I guess all video games are luxury purchases, eh? Doesn't exactly feed you or give you shelter.) Still, glad to hear all the positive feedback. Maybe the XL will help 3DS start to take off in countries outside Japan now...



MysticX said:

Meh, i'll wait for the inevitable next revision, but only if that revision has some added features besides a bigger screen (Just like the DSi), some more games of "Shut up and take my money!"-calibre are a requirement too...



DaJusticeyJDude said:

After reading all the postive comments I'll be definetly getting one now Hope august 19th comes soon too bad i can't pick it u on release date our family reunion got moved to that day well if i dont have enough my bithday is coming u so ill be asking for it.



Pichuka97 said:

Can you copy all your saves for your games onto it too? Like if my Zen Pinball was put on my new 3ds xl, would the save from my old 3ds still be on the new 3ds xl?



Squirtodile said:

Not sold to just buy it. If mine gets in bad shape or something i'll upgrade, but i love my cosmo black, i've had it since GS opened on March 27, 2011 lol.



Joygame51 said:

If heaven drops 200 bucks on me anytime soon I would have to repay my household money fund first for the new Medication I had to go on ........ !
CRICKIE !!!!! s I hate having to take meds instead of having a new Game System .... AH well as the Song says "WHAT A DRAG IT IS GETTING OLDER !"



winter123 said:

I remember when everyone was like LOLOL they will probably just release a 3DS XL next year after the colossal flop of the last XL. Then the second circle pad add on came out, giving rise to redesign rumors.

But no, they released a larger version of the exact same design, and are charging more for that. How does that make sense? Oh, and the circle pad pro will not work with it.

If you dont already own a 3ds, this is the obvious choice. But im talking about the loyal fans, the people who bought it soon after launch. I'm not buying the exact same thing again! Way to screw over your most loyal fans like you always do! I'm pretty sure I'm buying a used PS Vita today.



SyFyTy said:

what a bunch of whinners,,blah blah blah, second circle pad blah blah jagged edges blah blah cant fit in your pocket blah blah blah... get a life.



gamerchick_22 said:

still on the fence, i'm on the small side as far as my hands, so I guess it just depends on whether I can handle the slight additional weight and placement changes of the stylus and such. so far my aqua blue 3DS is still in loving condition. and with the news that they're fading out this particular color and therefore raising it's value, i'm gonna hold onto mine for as long as I can ^_^



Medicham said:

Ugh... The 3DS XL is gigantic slap in the face to current 3DS owners. Who the heck wants to buy a XL when the 3DS works just fine? To make it worse, Nintendo made the XL sorta good. The XL shoulda never been created...



MasterDebug said:

Nothing wrong with my 3ds, why get a bigger one thats more expensive? I don't mind the "cons" cause there not really an issue for me.



ouroborous said:

The blue 3DSXL is BEAUTIFUL, the pictures online do it NO justice. It is a deep metallic blue, it looks like my old Subaru Impreza with the racing stripes. From what I can tell, the red is pretty slick as well. I was mad about the colors at first, I wanted a black or silver, but now I am more than satisfied, having gotten my hands on one in person.
The larger screen is awesome and the minor improvements like the matte finish of the casing, rounded edges, and inside/outside two-tone color scheme is perfect. I hated that the colored 3DS still had black all around the screen so they totally fixed that here. Only complaints are that the speakers are no louder than before (still sound fine with headphones though, like before) and they did not add any more system memory for storing DSiWare games, which is really a terrible shame. So I still have to shuffle my DSiWare games off and on from the SD card when I want to play specific games.
In direct comparison, the original 3DS screen is noticeably brighter, but in practice and use, the 3DSXL brightness is just fine and you'll forget about the difference instantly. I like that they moved the headphone jack to the left side instead of having it centered. The larger size provides a more comfortable layout for the analog and d-pad. The system feels quite thin compared to the original. DS games look WAY better on the XL than they did on the 3DS, on the original they seemed all fuzzy, here they look great to me. The system transfer was easy enough but took at least 45 minutes (you have to do a firmware update on the XL before you can start too). Gamestop sadly has no plan in place for allowing you to trade in your old 3DS to get an XL and be able to do the system transfer. They also don't have an internet connection in their store, which is ludicrous and there is no way to do a system transfer without the internet. But with some convincing and help from some very nice sales associates, I got it worked out. You guys in UK are lucky that GAME lets you take the unit home and bring the old one back the next day and still get credit.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...