Review: Nintendo 3DS XL

It has become inevitable that every Nintendo handheld will be redesigned a few times in its life.  It has been just over a year since the Nintendo 3DS was released and now it’s first redesign, the 3DS XL, is due to hit shops shortly.

The Nintendo 3DS XL is, in many ways, similar to the Nintendo DSi XL; the larger size, the bigger screen and the rounded corners all result in a very similar look.

This is by no means a bad thing however as the Nintendo 3DS XL is a very slick looking console.  While I was happy with my Nintendo 3DS, seeing it next to the XL made me realise just how rigid and square it is.  The 3DS XL offers smooth corners, a more matte look and is generally more pleasing on the eyes in my opinion.


These elements all add up to a much more comfortable console to hold in your hands.  The smoother edges makes for a more natural handheld gaming experience. The increased battery life and the more ergonomic feel will undoubtedly result in longer gaming sessions as well.

Of course, the 3DS XL’s main selling point is the larger screen.  The new screen now takes up most of the console and certainly smacks you in the face.  It seems strange but the larger screen helps to ‘smooth’ the 3D effect, making it less of an effect and much more natural. It's difficult to describe but the larger screen does work to its advantage.

Unfortunately, the resolution hasn’t increased so technically the pixels are being stretched out a bit and while I did no notice any problems during my play session, some titles may become noticeably degraded because of this.

3dsxl11Of course anyone who has got used to the Circle Pad Pro add-on will be disappointed about the fact that you can't use it on the new console. A variation is in the pipeline apparently, but we'll have to wait and see how long it takes to hit shelves.

Overall the redesign is a good improvement.  It may not be a huge change and many would probably want a longer battery life, but it is genuinely better than the original model.  Worth upgrading to? Perhaps, it depends how much you like new tech. Worth buying as a first 3DS? Absolutely, just don't forget the charger!

N-Europe Final Verdict

Smoother, sleeker and more pleasing in the hands. Nintendo has done a good job of tweaking the Nintendo 3DS.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Fits nicely in your hands
Visually more pleasing than the 3DS
Bigger screen offers a noticeable improvement


Not compatible with Circle Pad Pro
Charger sold separately

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