Nintendo’s unique video game consoles and worlds have been beloved by children and adults alike for decades. The New Nintendo 3DS XL aims to continue pleasing and makes a great addition to your holiday gifts. This handheld console boasts bigger screens and a greatly improved 3D capacity, plus there are multiple design plate styles to choose from.
Those who already own an older-gen 3DS or 3DS XL may wonder whether upgrading to the new XL is worthwhile, as the units appear quite similar at first glance. In fact, you can still play your old 3DS games on it. Rest assured, though, the changes are substantial enough that you’ll notice the difference. Internally, the New 3DS XL unit has a faster processor, double the RAM, improved 3D via Nintendo’s face-tracking technology and NFC interaction capacity for all of your amiibos.
Externally, quite a bit is different in its design and layout. The most notable change is the increased screen sizes and resolutions. The 3D screen measures 4.88 inches on the diagonal, and its touchscreen is 4.18 inches. Both the power button and game slot were relocated to the front edge, which make them less susceptible to accidental bumps. Three new buttons were also added: an analog C stick for enhanced control while using a camera in-game, and two secondary trigger keys, labeled ZL and ZR, located next to their respective primary triggers. The circle pad is slightly larger and more comfortable for adult gamers.
It also has a variety of different case designs, including a trendy purple galaxy look, two Super Mario 3D Land patterns, and one featuring Lunala and Solgaleo from the new Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon games. Additionally, the stylus has moved from the right side of the console to the front edge, making it more accessible for left-handed players.
As is the case with all 3DS models, this unit also has a digital game store, web browsing, video streaming apps and Nintendo’s proprietary StreetPass and Miiverse social features.
The 3D capabilities of the New 3DS XL are also much-improved from its last iteration, thanks to Nintendo’s face-tracking technology, which uses the two front-facing internal cameras that constantly detect your viewing angle. This means a more stable 3D image, even if you’re playing an intense game and moving around frequently. As we discovered in our tests, in comparison to the original 3DS, the New 3DS XL unmistakably allows for a greater range of movement before the 3D image on screen is distorted.
However, be aware that the handheld console does not come with an AC adapter to charge the device, which is its single largest downside. While it works with the adapters for the original 3DS, DSi and DSi XL, if you don’t have an extra one of those lying around, you’ll have to purchase an adapter separately, which you can expect to cost roughly $8-13.
With bigger screens, multiple case designs to choose from and improved battery life, the New Nintendo 3DS XL ensures hours of fun and makes a great Christmas gift for the gamer in your life. Despite not coming with a charger, its improved layout and processor aim to keep up with the most intense gaming sessions.