New 3DS XL Review

Chad Goodmurphy

Reviewed by:
On February 11, 2015
Last modified:February 11, 2015


Nintendo's New 3DS XL is a fantastic upgrade to an already great line of handhelds. That said, it's certainly not perfect, as it presents a questionable auto-brightness option that ends up being more frustrating than helpful.

New 3DS XL Review

Like many others, the gaming industry is no stranger to hardware revisions. In fact, when a new console or handheld is released, people are quick to start talking about when and how it will be altered, improved or made smaller. This is especially true of Nintendo’s handhelds, which seem to be redesigned every other year, which is both great and frustrating at the same time.

As happened with the release of its enlarged XL variant, the Big N’s 3DS handheld is about to get another upgrade with the debut of the New 3DS and New 3DS XL versions. At least, that’s the case here in North America, where gamers have had to wait longer than their Japanese, Australian and European counterparts. Whether or not that wait has been worth it is ultimately subjective, and must be based on each user’s unique circumstances, like their cash flow and the amount of time they have put into or would put into such a device. That said, we still wanted to publish our own thoughts on the new device in order to help those on the fence make an educated decision.

Following the confirmation of its North American release date, Nintendo was helpful enough to supply We Got This Covered with one of its New 3DS XLs for review purposes, along with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, which we’ve already reviewed. What we received was the sleek-looking black variant of the larger XL, which is, in fact, the only one that will be available for purchase here. Apparently, after studying consumer habits, Nintendo felt that it’d be best to avoid allowing us to buy the basic New 3DS – a decision that upset quite a few folks, many of whom were looking forward to being able to customize their handhelds with themed faceplates.

The first thing you’ll notice after buying your system and tearing open its cardboard housing, is the fact that it doesn’t ship with a charger. It’s a cost-cutting venture, for sure, and an annoyance to those who’ve never owned one of these things before or to those who may have sold theirs. However, it is what it is, I guess, and it’s something that folks are going to have to live with if they’re going to purchase a New Nintendo 3DS XL. Thankfully, the chargers are relatively cheap (I’ve seen them for between $12.99 and $19.99 Canadian), and are compatible between the DSi, 3DS, and New 3DS family of handhelds.

New 3DS XL Review

Although its lack of a charger definitely sucks, especially here in Canada where the New 3DS XL’s $199.99 (USD) price tag translates to $229.99 CAD, the system itself is a thing of beauty. It’s sturdy, well-made, sleek and sexy. Not only that, but it’s also harder to smudge, or so it seems.

As someone who’s used a 3DS XL on different occasions, but had yet to upgrade from the original aqua blue launch 3DS until now, I feel that I appreciate the improvements that have been made here more than most will. Chief among these improvements is the system’s size, as gaming on its large screens makes me wish that I had upgraded way sooner. Still, things aren’t perfect with the New 3DS XL.

The truth of the matter is that, while the New 3DS XL’s improved screens are large, beautiful and vibrant, it can still be difficult to find that perfect 3D sweet spot while gaming. This is true even despite the device’s ability to track its users’ eyes and adjust its 3D mechanic based on their position. Granted, we’re not talking about a new problem, nor is it anything to obsess over. The 3DS handheld has never had perfect 3D, and it’d be unfair to ask that of it given how advanced the thing was to begin with. After all, there’s a reason as to why the effect has an adjustment slider and can even be turned off completely.

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