System Comparison: 3DS vs XL

System Comparison: 3DS vs XL
5.5/5 Review Score:

The original 3DS had a bit of a shaky launch last year, with a great initial line up followed by a devastating dead patch. This naturally hurt sales, and for the first time in history, Nintendo made a loss! Now that there are games growing out of its ass, sales are on par with the DS, and Nintendo are promising even more in the future, they have released the XL. Is the XL worth the pick up, or should you just stick to your standard 3DS?

Hardware Differences

What do you get in the XL that you don’t get in the original? Well for starters you get a 90% bigger top screen, twice as much memory, better battery life and a much improved design.

The screen is the main selling point here, and it is truly massive. The added size has also made the 3D effect much more appealing and finding the ‘sweet spot’, and more importantly, maintaining it, is a doddle. The new screen also features a new function when playing DS titles by holding down the Start and Select button giving them a razor sharp finish. The biggest downside to the new screen is they have not improved the resolution at all, so the image can look slightly stretched. That being said, when viewing the 3DS and XL side by side, the XL is much more impressive.

2gb of memory ok…nothing special. Certainly enough to store your save games and maybe have a few eShop purchases. The XL comes with 4gb of memory, letting you horde as much content as your heart desires. Whilst it would be nice to have a massive 32gb card like the Vita, the space on offer here is more than enough.

The biggest bugbear with the 3DS was its battery life. 3 hours is not an impressive run time, and it is a flaw that continued with the Vita as well. Nintendo, despite the bigger screen have more than doubled the lifespan of the XL giving you 6-10 hours of gaming without charge as well as having a very impressive sleep mode that will last for days on end…perfect for utilising the Street Pass function.

Finally, you have the improved design. The XL has made the Home button…well…a button! Always nice, considering the originals home button was…well…a bit crap. The 3D slider has also been given a bit of a makeover by adding a slight lock. This lets you keep the 3D off when you don’t want it, and have it on a minimum setting without fear of it just slipping down. It is a very nice change, and one that I have used constantly. The screen has also been giving a hinge overhaul via the use of a second lock. This lets you have the screen set firmly in two places for maximum viewing pleasure. Just to top it all off, despite this behemoths size, it is amazingly comfortable to hold. Whilst being slightly heavier than the original, it actually feels a lot lighter and after days of use, I have yet to experience any hand cramp.

On a slightly different note, the old shiny finish is gone, and instead you now have a more matte look, which I think looks fantastic. The matte colour really pops, and is a lot less prone to smudging.
What we liked

We liked just about everything the XL has to offer. The improved design and extended battery life let us game for longer, the improved screen and 3D let us become more immersed and the added memory is always a big plus. The added sharpness to DS titles is also a welcome addition. Finally, the price. The XL retail at less than the original 3DS did last year coming in at a staggeringly low £160!

What we didn’t like

For people in Europe, you have drawn the short straw as you do not get an AC adapter included with the XL…at all. This means you have to fork out extra cash in order to charge your system, which is a bit strange if you ask me. Regardless, an extra £5 is not likely to break the bank. Whilst minor, the stretching of the image just seems lazy. A slight improvement to resolution would have fixed this, and made the image so much sharper. Also, due to its size the XL is not compatible with the Circle Pad Pro, meaning the joy of having two analogue sticks is gone. Luckily there is news of a new pad being released early next year.

The Verdict

The Nintendo 3DS XL is a great piece of kit with improvements across the board. Anyone who has yet to buy a 3DS should pick up the XL, and those who have a 3DS have enough reason to trade it in for the new model. Whilst it has a few problems, the positives far outweigh them making this the definitive version. Hopefully the next iteration of the 3DS will include two analogue sticks as standard, but as it stands, this is a great buy for a great price.

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