The rumors were real. The announcement wasn’t made at this year’s E3, to the surprise of some, but sure enough Nintendo did have a new revision of its portable 3DS hardware to unveil – the Nintendo 3DS XL, shipping to stores around the world in just a matter of weeks. As with any new hardware announcement, there are lots of details to absorb regarding this XL upgrade. So we’ve compiled them all together here, along with some snazzy visuals, to help you better understand how the 3DS XL is different than the original 3DS.
With any new product launch, it’s best to first understand the basics. When will we be able to buy it? How much will it cost? And what different versions will be sitting on the store shelves? Let’s address those questions first:
OK, so those were the basics of when and how to buy. But why would we want to? Is the 3DS XL really all that much larger than the standard 3DS? For reference, when holding the system towards you, the 3DS XL is 155mm (6.1 inches) horizontally and 173mm (6.81 inches) vertically, with the system fully open. By comparison, the original 3DS is 135 mm (5.32 inches) wide and 138mm (5.43 inches) tall. When closed, the two systems are virtually identical in thickness (22mm to 21mm) with less than a tenth of an inch difference.
Let’s take a look visually, shall we?
Fine, fine, so the 3DS XL looks larger. But how does that actually translate into gameplay? How much bigger can we expect the viewing area to be? Here are some examples for that issue:
Alright, so we’ll assume you’re convinced about the visuals. But what about the rest of the hardware? The 3DS had issues to address beyond screen size. Here are some other cosmetic changes that have been made:
The 3DS XL is a fairly straightforward up-sizing of the original 3DS hardware, bringing Nintendo’s latest portable back to generally the same dimensions as the DSi XL from 2010. The images above should give you a good sense of what you’ll be buying – if you decide to buy – and how it’ll be different that what you may be used to already.
Beyond what we illustrated above, there are a few other details to note. There will be no AC adapter included in the box for Japanese and European purchasers. The stylus has shifted to insert on the side of the system instead of the back – and it’s no longer a “telescoping” model. There will be a System Transfer utility to bring all of your games, save data, StreetPass Mii Plaza puzzle pieces and more straight over to the new system so you won’t lose any progress you’ve made on your first 3DS. The XL will now come with a 4GB SD card instead of the 3DS’s standard 2 GB card. The difference will be noticeable, though not perfect. Check out our feature analyzing 3DS, Wii and HD game sizes for a better picture on what kind of space you might need.
The new system’s 1:1 pixel mode should make original DS cartridges, DSiWare games and 3DS Virtual Console titles more crisp and clear when compared to the “blurry” effect the first 3DS applies to those game’s visuals. And, if you’ve encountered trouble with low battery life, Nintendo promises that the 3DS XL will last longer on a single charge than the original 3DS as well – between 3.5 and 6.5 hours, compared to the 3-5 hour time span estimated for good old 3DS Normal.
So what do you think? Are the upgrades enough that you’ll fork over the cash for a new system? Or were you holding out on buying a 3DS from the start? Let us know how the details for the XL stack up in your mind through the comments box below.