For decades, Nintendo’s family-friendly video game consoles – and the worlds created within their unique games – have been beloved to adults and children alike. The New Nintendo 3DS XL aims to continue pleasing with upgraded hardware, improved 3D technology and new games. This handheld gaming system boasts larger screens, plus there are multiple design plate styles to choose from.
Those who already own an older-gen 3DS or 3DS XL may be unsure if upgrading to the latest and greatest 3DS XL is justifiable, as the units appear quite similar at first glance. In fact, you can still play your old library of 3DS games on it. But aside from that, the changes on this upgraded gaming console are substantial enough that you’ll notice the difference. Internally, the New XL has double the RAM, a faster processor, and even an improved 3D gaming experience thanks to its enhanced face-tracking technology. It even has an NFC capability, allowing you to use your Amiibo collection with compatible video games.
Externally, quite a bit is different in both its layout and general design. The most notable change is the slightly increased screen size and resolution. The bottom touchscreen measures 4.18 inches, and the top 3D screen measures 4.88 inches. A few ports and buttons were relocated to make room for new buttons. The game card slot and the power button were both moved to the front edge, making them less susceptible to accidental bumps. Three new buttons were added: two secondary trigger keys, labeled ZL and ZR, which are located next to their respective primary triggers, and an analog C stick for enhanced control for in-game cameras, which is located just above the A/B/X/Y buttons. Lastly, the circle joystick pad is slightly larger and noticeably more comfortable for adult gamers.
The New 3DS XL comes in a variety of colors beyond the classic black color, like blue, red, white or with a purple galaxy nebula design on the front. Nintendo also sells snap-on plates with different designs for under $20 each, or you can go through a third-party retailer to buy a custom plate or skin for it. These options make it easy to personalize your own console, or to distinguish yours from others.
As is the case with all 3DS models, this unit gives you access to Nintendo’s eShop, basic web browsing, video streaming apps, and its proprietary StreetPass and Miiverse social features. Additionally, the New XL boasts a longer-lasting battery, so you’ll be able to enjoy playing it throughout your day instead of being tethered to an outlet.
The 3D capabilities of the New XL have been extensively redesigned and improved from its previous incarnation, thanks to Nintendo’s face-tracking technology, which uses front-facing internal cameras that constantly detect your viewing angle. This means a more stable 3D image, even if you’re playing an action-packed game and moving around a lot. As we discovered in our tests, in comparison to the second-generation Nintendo 3DS XL, the New 3DS XL unmistakably allows for a greater range of movement before the 3D image on screen is distorted.
However, take note that the console does not come standard with an AC adapter for charging the device, which is its single largest downside. You’ll need to purchase one separately to keep your XL charged and ready to game. It is compatible with the adapters for the original 3DS, DSi and DSi XL, but if you don’t have an extra one of those lying around, you’re out of luck. Though the adapters themselves aren’t too costly, it’s still a hassle considering that most electronic devices come with a charging cord.
With an improved battery life, upgraded hardware, larger screens and multiple design options, the New Nintendo 3DS XL ensures hours of fun for gamers of any age, at home or on the go. Despite not including a charger, its improved design aims to keep up with your most intense gaming sessions.