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Colour: Silver/Black|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:£139.99 - £242.53
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on 2 October 2013
This review is meant for people who do not have a 3DS at all and are wondering which model to buy.

EDIT: Before reading this review, please be aware than in February 2015 a NEW model 3DS will be released, the "New 3DS" and "New 3DSXL" have many improvements, including faster processing speed, a minor graphics upgrade, extra controls (meaning you no longer need the circle pad pro attachment for games that required it) and a big improvement to the quality of the 3D (including motion tracking that means you don't have to hold it completely still to enjoy the 3D effect). If you want the best version of the 3DS I recommend waiting until mid February and buying the new one, but if you want a decent 3DS at a lower price I also recommend waiting, since the release of the new 3DS models will likely drive down the price of the old models significantly.

Anyway, back to the review:

I bought this as an upgrade to my old DS lite so that I'd be able to play 3DS games and play my old DS games on a larger screen.

Overall this is a very good system and I'm glad I bought this, I'm enjoying the games I bought for it and it's a fun and easy to use system, I REALLY LIKE THIS CONSOLE, but there are a few things that could be better and I recognise that other people considering buying may want different things from their console, so for people still not sure I have put together a pro vs. con review to help them decide. For comparisons between the standard 3DS and the XL I've been looking at my nephew's 3DS.

Let's get the cons out of the way first:

For the XL specifically:
- as many people have mentioned, the XL does not come with a charger, you will have to buy it separately, but it's only about £5 from Amazon so it's not that big a price difference, you can pay more than that just for having a different colour, this is just something to be aware of when buying: unless you have a compatible charger already, order one with your purchase.
- the larger size and weight of this console makes me feel a bit paranoid that I might drop it when playing, whereas the smaller DS I have is very easy to keep a good grip on and I feel comfortable letting my nephews use it without fear of them dropping it but I wouldn't let them use my 3DSXL, so for people with small hands or buying for their kids the standard 3DS might be better. Also, the back plate of the XL clicks a little when pressed in the middle, as it's a removable plate and made from slightly flexible plastic, whereas on previous smaller versions the back has a small plate in it that could be removed for replacing a damaged battery, etc so the standard 3DS has a more solid back.
- the larger size also makes the device less portable than its smaller counterpart, which is pretty much pocket-sized, so if you want to carry the console around with you a lot you might prefer the smaller 3DS, there are some neat carry-cases for the XL though.
- the SD card on the XL is a lot harder to remove (if you want to replace it or put music or videos on it) than on the standard 3DS, I found it quite fiddly and tricky to get to. (New 3DS will be even more fiddly because you have to remove the back plate to get to the SD card).
- Yes, the 3DSXL is expensive, and for some people not worth it. Currently the standard red and blue versions are the cheapest on Amazon, so if you don't want to pay out too much get those, but if price is your biggest concern then there's the ordinary 3DS (which is marginally cheaper and comes with an adapter) and the 2DS (which is much cheaper but with no 3D and is solid rather than hinged) to consider too, I do think the console is worth the price though for what you get.

For the 3DS family in general:
- the 3D effect can be hard to maintain on some games, as it goes blurry every time you move away from the "sweet spot" and can make the models appear more pixelated.
(note, "New 3DS" models have a face tracking addition that apparently makes the 3D more stable, something to consider if buying now)
- the games on the nintendo e-shop seem rather expensive compared to retail price, and that goes for the virtual console games too, you could buy physical copies second hand for about the same price as the downloads. I also think the full 3DS games would quickly fill up the provided SD card so I'd recommend buying the retail versions.
- the headphone jack is on the front, which means it can be a bit uncomfortable if resting the 3DSXL against your chest while playing, (all the DS and 3DS range have their headphone jack at the front, including the "New 3DS" models I'd expected the larger console to have it at the back as there's enough space for it but it is at the front too)
- the built in browser is kind of... bad, it doesn't play flash videos, (although there is now a youtube ap. available for free from the nintendo e-shop, so you can at least watch youtube videos, though not in great quality) and for most websites it uses the mobile phone version of the site -- but let's face it, you don't buy a games console to browse the internet, you'd have a smartphone for that or just use your computer.
Edit: the browser has been updated and is better than the old one, but still fairly slow. It's been said that the speed of the browser and other online functions will be greatly improved with the New 3DS models though.

However, there are a lot of good reasons to buy this system:

For the XL specifically:
- the 3D effect does look surprisingly good, as I said it can be a little tricky to keep in the sweet-spot but when you do the effect does add a lot of depth, especially on the larger screen.
- the larger screens really do look good, when comparing my old DS lite to the 3DS XL the difference in the size and clarity of the screens is very clear, the 3DS XL provides a much better gaming experience just in how much better the games look when played on it. I'd recommend screen-protectors though, as the screens will scratch, especially the bottom one when you use the stylus, and also the default brightness setting is quite glaring, so turn that down to three or four.
- the 3DSXL comes with a decent sized 4GB SD card, twice the size of the standard 3DS, on which you can save game data, audio, pictures and video etc. and transfer them to your computer by removing the card and putting it into an SD card slot or getting a USB adapter that will do the same, you can also transfer mp3 music onto the SD card to play them on the 3DS and there are programs you can find online to convert video into a format and size that you can play on the 3DS too. As I said the only trouble is that it can be a bit fiddly getting the card in and out.
- the hinge clicks into place nicely, the build is sturdy (and feels much more substantial than the old DS lite I have) and there are a lot of small features that are improved over the standard 3DS like the position of the stylus and the finger-print-resistant surface.
- the rounded edges make this much more comfortable to hold than the smaller 3DS, which my nephews have, and if you have larger hands you will find it easier to use the controls on the XL than the smaller version, also the analogue pad is actually pretty good, though I still prefer to use the D-pad for most games.
(note: the "New 3DS" will have the same rounded edges and matt finish in both the small and XL models, so this is only an advantage over the old 3DS)

For the 3DS family in general:
- the home page and the various aps you get with the console and can purchase for it are very nicely laid out and easy to use, and the 3DS comes with a number of built in applications that are rather neat such as the letter box (update: which *used to* let you send notes to friends but alas due to a few irresponsible users sending inappropriate messages and pictures the sending of notes has now been disabled) and a few built in games like the mii plaza games (although some of these require streetpasses) and "face raiders" that are quite fun, so you can use this console straight away even if you haven't bought any games for it yet.
- both the 3DS and 3DSXL have three built-in cameras, one on the inside to take pictures of your face for some games and applications, and two on the outside which allow you to take 2D and 3D photos and also videos, which can be played back on the 3DS or transferred to a computer using the SD card.
- parental security controls, if you want to buy one for your kids then on all the 3DS platforms there are parental controls you can use to disable internet access and some other features if you don't want your kids using them, you can read more about it on the nintendo webiste.
- the streetpass and friends list features are very handy and let you link up with friends online for multiplayer easily, and both the 3DS and 3DSXL support WEP and WPA security for wifi, whereas the DS only supported WEP. There's also some neat things you can do with the mii plaza games by collecting street passes, as I mentioned above.
- although I mentioned that the retail games on the e-shop are a tad expensive, there are a great variety of games available on it, and some reasonably priced download-exclusives, plus although I think the virtual console games are a little over-priced this does let you play some great old titles on this portable platform, which is a neat feature.
- as for retail games, well there is a great variety, and they generally use both the touch screen and the 3D effect well, but I go into more detail about that below.

The most important thing to consider when buying the console is whether it will cater to your gaming tastes. For me the main reason for buying this console is the games, there is a good variety of genres that cater for a range of ages, including games for children, games for teens and adults (including some you might not expect like Metal Gear Solid and Tekken), and games that everyone will enjoy, but most of all the games I bought this console for were the exclusive titles like Mario, Pokémon, Professor Layton, etc.
It's also great that as well as 3DS games you can play old DS and DSi games on this system, which means you'll have a lot of games available to you between those platforms, so if you don't have a DS at all but want to play the games then this is the handheld for you since it will play them all. You can't play Gameboy Advance games on the 3DS like on the old DS, but the gameboy advance is pretty cheap second hand these days if you really wanted one, or if you're upgrading from the old DS with a GBA slot, just keep the old one, as you won't get all that much in trade value, then you can still play your old GBA games and also do self-trading in games like pokémon.

I hope my review has been helpful, I've tried to cover every consideration so sorry if I seem to waffle on a bit.


Overall this is the best handheld console Nintendo have produced to this day*, so really it boils down to exactly what you want from a gaming device. Take a good look at the games available, if they don't spark your interest then you're better off with a smartphone, but if nostalgia grabs you when you see Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Mansion, Star Fox 3D or Pokémon X and Y then go for it. As for other DS models, well if you're buying for young kids and want something sturdy and less expensive there's the 2DS, if you want something more portable or you want a console for smaller hands that will still have 3D then get the standard 3DS, but for the best visuals and ease of use I'd say the 3DS XL is the best in the range, just don't forget to buy the power adapter with it.

*Again, until the "New 3DS" range come out.
44 comments| 135 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 July 2012
I bought the 3ds XL the day after it's release and also did the trading in of my original 3ds like others no doubt. This was not an easy decision as i loved my aqua/blue 3ds and probably like other people was sceptical about the XL version, however i need not have worried as many of the problems with the orig 3ds have been rectified such as the battery life, the top screen being scratched against the bottom screen, the stylus positioning, and comfortability being vastly improved (i am an adult gamer = larger hands) My first impressions when taking it out the box was WOW it's big but also instantly comfortable what with the now rounded corner design (no more digging into your palms on longer gaming sessions) and it just felt natural to me as an adult.

I have to say i also agree with another reviewer here in that i don't think the 3d sweet spot has been changed from the orig 3ds but it's less of an problem keeping the 3d as it should be maybe due to the bigger screen and i think with use people will adjust anyway.

The first game i loaded up was zelda OOT and oh boy did that impress me it just felt more like i could see the depth of the 3d better but also bigger and link on epona on the title credits was fantastic to watch and hear which leads me on to the audio this in my opinion has been improved it just sounds crisper and clearer and like the orig 3ds has plenty of volume (with or without headphones).

The clamshell casing and matte finish is more appealing and much less prone to fingerprint prob's (i got the blue/black version as blue is my favourite colour) also when you open the XL you will be very pleased to hear a nice firm click in 3 different positions that do not wobble or suffer from the orig 3ds floppy hinge design (yeah it annoyed me aswell) another big improvement is the top screens reduced glare (apparently from 12% is now down to 3% from a nintendo article) so hopefully will be better if you are taking photo's outside for example.

The lower touch screen does seem more responsive to me (though maybe just me) and all the button positioning is better laid out due to the increased size of the console.

The circle pad, d-pad, and face buttons are all responsive and the start, select, and home buttons are now actually separate buttons (very welcome) the best thing is the little rubber pads that when the lid is closed now prevent the top screen from rubbing against the raised bevel which caused no end of worry to me with the orig 3ds.

I played zelda OOT for about 3 hours last night and it felt much more immersive and just a more engrossing experience with the bigger display everything was a joy to use, also the lower touch screen is less fiddly now i was a bit sceptical about the top screens brightness at first but having played now i think it's probably equal to the orig 3ds (so no prob's there) and i have resi revelations yet to play :) (though not till my birthday at end of august darn it) others have said the mario games are amazing on it so lots to look forward to :)

I kind of hope that what i have said above helps you decide if you are wanting to upgrade from your old 3ds and don't get me wrong i loved and always will love the orig 3ds and as many critic reviews have stated there is nothing new technically on the XL as far as improved resolutions graphically etc. but i do feel that nintendo have fixed most of the orig 3ds prob's that annoyed most users in the first place.
11 comment| 116 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 September 2012
Thought a lot about buying the 3DS XL but wished I'd bought it sooner ,I find it so much easier to play all my games and they look so much better on the bigger screen. If you thinking about buying a 3DS XL I just do it as you won't be sorry.
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on 28 July 2012
At first I was undecided about purchasing the 3DS XL as I already had the Aqua blue 3DS and was reasonably happy with it. However I played Mario Land 3D in a Game retail store and was suprised how clear and nice the screens were.

The main reasons I prefer the 3DS XL are:

1) The Silver 3DS XL comes in a matt finish which is less prone to finger prints and smudging.
2) The lower screen was way too small on the original 3DS and found both larger screens are so much better on XL.
3) The battery now lasts 6 hours (original lasted 3 - 4 hours) which means less charging.
4) The buttons and analog stick are spread out more and feel a lot less cramped.
5) The 3D affect is much more clearer on the larger screens and even if you look at the 3DS XL at an angle it does not pose a problem.

The upscale to the big screen is great and very clear. I completed games like Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7 a while ago but on the new system they feel fresh and new again. I have started playing them and having so much fun the second time around.

If you own games like Street Fighter 4, Tekken 3D and Dead or Alive Dimensions then this new system is a must as the fight sequences and finishing moves are so much more satisfying on the larger screens. I found it easier to pull off the touch screen combos on the lower screen now as, I can touch the combos I want on Dead or Alive. I now play games like Mario with the 3D turned on. I use to find the 3D really annoying on the 3DS but on the 3DS XL the 3D is actually OK and I have no problem keeping it on for most games (on a low level) without any bother.

I have started watching videos on the Eurosport and Nintendo Video apps because of the screen sizes. I did not enjoy watching clips on the original 3DS. If you are buying the system new then I would recommend considering buying Pullblox, Freakyforms, Dillion's Rolling Western, Mutant Mudds and Mighty Switch Force from the Nintendo eshop. I have spent hours on these games and played them more than some of my 3DS cartridge games.

My favourite 3DS games for the system are Mario Land 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Heroes of Ruin . . . . . and the list goes on. I have not even mentioned Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (masterpiece) and Star Fox 64 3D. The point I am trying to make is that there is so many great games on this system that I had to buy it.

Kingdom of Hearts is a game I have not even had a chance yet to play as I am too busy revisiting the levels on Mario Land 3D. To summarise I am glad I purchased this system and find it a lot more enjoyable to use than my original 3DS.
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on 9 May 2013
My 6 year old is a very happy boy now he's received the 3DS XL. I like the idea of parental controls, especially being able to turn off the 3D setting (I would't want him using this until next year). My only gripe would be the fact that it doesn't come with a charger! Is that not akin to buying a new car and not being given the key? It only costs around £6 or so for a charger, but that's not the point. Why Nintendo didn't include a charger with just the XL model, I really don't know.
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on 17 October 2013
Brought this for my boys birthday this month.Its an excellent product but at the price why no charger or at least make it more noticable in the description
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on 9 October 2012
I wasn't sure whether to buy the normal 3DS or spring for the XL due to the price difference, although after noticing you can get Zelda or Mario for free with the XL it was only £10 difference so that swung it. Amazon don't make it obvious, there is a tiny link that says buy this as a bundle.(At the time of writing this review). Even if I had paid the £40 difference and not got Zelda for free I would have still made the right choice.The screens are large and clear and present a good quality image despite stretching the same amount of pixels over a larger area. I don't plan on using the 3D feature much but it is nevertheless very impressive. I couldn't actually believe how good the effect was when I turned it on for awhile.

The sound, despite being from small speakers is more than loud enough and very clear. The touchpad responds well. Also the quality of the casing is better than I had thought it would be after looking at photos online. It's a brushed metal effect on top which looks very nice.

It's a very well made product and a lot of fun to play. The only thing which surprised me and anyone buying a 3DS XL in the UK should know is that it doesn't come with a power cable (of any type). I had heard that a docking cradle / mains adapter wasn't included as with the normal 3DS but I had assumed there would be a USB cable for charging, or at the very least a USB port that my phone charger or an equivalent would fit. Unfortunately not, so I've had to order a charger for £2.50 from Amazon and will now have to wait a few days until I can play my 3DS XL again. If you are a parent thinking to buy this as an xmas present you should probably be aware of this.

Apart from that...fantastic
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on 11 August 2014
I decided to buy this because I wanted an upgrade from my smaller 3DS, it was worth it! The box contains everything Nintendo usually decides to pack into the box, except a charger! Yes, they decide not to include a vital piece of equipment that you need to use the device for longer than the battery lasts out of the box. So make sure you have one handy before the product arrives, my old DSI charger works fine, so I use that.

The build quality is very nice, it doesn't feel cheap and it has 3 click-clack settings for the screen so you can play in different angles and also has two dinky speakers on each side of the screen. The speakers aren't mega loud but they definitely get the sound to your ears well enough. The screen is very bright and crystal clear, and next to the speakers is of-course, the 3D slider. Unlike the original 3DS this one doesn't have the light up 3D logo. You can slide it up to full or in the middle if you like. Some people say that the 3D makes them feel sick but I haven't noticed this yet. Maybe it's the bigger screen that makes it easier on your eyes - who knows? Next, the screen. It is like the box says... 90% bigger. It is definitely an improvement as I love playing my games on this. Also, this console can play original DS games but it feels like your forcing the cartridge in when inserting them. Don't worry though, just push down a bit and it should lock into place.

The cameras are nothing to shout the halls about, they are very basic quality and I think that the 3D camera thing is a bit 'gimmick-y', however I did have a fun 5 minutes playing on this whilst I was bored. Something I have noticed about this console is that loading is now the new thing. It took nearly 9 seconds to turn on, I know it might not seem alot but then you have to wait a while for anything else to start up too 'apps, games...' However, in-game load times are actually quite fast.

So If you're looking for a relatively cheap handheld console that can do quite alot for the amount you pay the this is a sure competitor, the screen is lovely and big, speakers are loud and clear and the build quality is second to none.

If you found this review helpful please press the 'yes' box below, it really helps! :)
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on 1 February 2016
Having not had a Nintendo ds for quite some time, I decided to give the 3DS a chance, I'm so glad I did! It's fantastic. Big screen, brilliant colour. It also plays the old ds games which is handy as some of the 3ds games are a tad pricey still. But overall, I'm happy with it. As for the negative reviews on this item, all in regards to it not coming with a charger, it clearly states that it doesn't. Smh. I managed to get this for only £67 from amazon itself so spending a few extra pounds on a charger is hardly problematic.
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on 7 August 2012
At first I was a tad skeptical about the Nintendo 3ds XL being an overall better product than the original version but I have to tell you that this product seems better in every single way. The 3ds xl has a much better 3ds effect than the original, the xl feels more robust and sturdy and those two MASSIVE screens are just amazing to use during gameplay.
If you are thinking of buying this product then I highly recommend you do as it is far better than the original in every single way.
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