Hands on: Nintendo 3DS XL is Bigger and Better
Nintendo is famous for upgrading its game consoles to a better model. The Nintendo DSi handheld was soon followed by the 3D-capable 3DS. Now it's back with another redesign, the 3DS XL, which is a huge step up from the handheld it first released on the market last year. Though it comes at a slightly higher price than that system (about a $30 difference), it's definitely worth it.
The first thing you'll notice about the new system is the huge screens, which Nintendo states are 90 percent bigger. Games like "Mario Kart 7" and "Super Mario 3D Land" are much easier on the eyes, and the 3D effects are more astounding. Furthermore, camera and video services are greatly improved, especially the Netflix streaming service, which really takes advantage or the expanded screen.
Nintendo also made the system more comfortable to grip. Where the original 3DS had slightly sharp edges that made it a pain to hold over time, the 3DS XL comes with a rounded clamshell build. The analog nub and other controls are easy to access, and the system closes up with ease.
Other improvements include a better place for the touch-screen stylus (easily accessible through a side slot, rather than from the top back portion of the original system), actual buttons on the bottom row (in place of the small touch squares) and a slightly improved battery life, adding an additional one to two hours, depending on what you're playing.
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That's not to say everything is perfect. While some of the newer 3DS games, like the recently released "New Super Mario Bros. 2," look dazzling on the 3D display, older titles available through the eShop appear pixilated. For instance, Game Boy games look ridiculously fuzzy when blown up to cover the whole screen.
One other note: If you have an older 3DS system, you can easily move over most of your data using a wireless transfer option. There's even a cute little movie that plays, showing multi-colored Pikmin characters carrying your stuff from one place to the next.
As we mentioned before, cost could be an issue if you're tight on money, especially if you bought a previous 3DS system for $170. But if you have the funds, Nintendo's tech-charged handheld is certainly worth it.
RATING: 4 / 4