How do you feel about playing 3D games that fit in the palm of your hand? All right, now how do you feel about playing 3D games on large screens that still manage to fit in the palm of your hand? Good news: it’s possible. The Nintendo 3DS XL, which is coming to North America on August 19, is a handsome upgrade to the original Nintendo 3DS. This preview will outline the features of the 3DS XL, and, where necessary, compare it to the 3DS’s hardware.
The Nintendo 3DS XL’s screens are larger than the Nintendo 3DS’s screens -- About 90% larger, if you want to get specific. The top screen for the 3DS XL is 4.88", and the bottom screen is 4.18”. By comparison, the original 3DS’s screens are 3.53” (top) and 3.02” (bottom).
The Nintendo 3DS XL’s larger screens are being marketed as its most distinguishing feature.
The 3DS XL’s screen resolution is unchanged from the 3DS’s -- The 3DS XL’s top screen resolution is 800×240 pixels (or 400×240 pixels per eye, which helps produce the system’s 3D effect), same as the original Nintendo 3DS’s resolution. While you might expect this to create an unpleasant “stretched” look for the 3DS XL’s graphics, some players’ early hands-on experience with the system suggest that the 3DS XL utilizes a filtering effect to soften the picture.
The 3DS XL costs more than the 3DS -- Not a surprise, but fear not: you’re not looking at an astronomical leap in price from the 3DS to the 3DS XL. The Nintendo 3DS XL will sell for $199.99 USD, whereas the original 3DS costs $169.99 USD. Does this mean an official price drop for the original 3DS is imminent? Possibly! Retailers may even take matters into their own hands and put the original 3DS on sale as soon as the 3DS XL hits shelves. Savvy shoppers take note!
The 3DS XL still has only one thumbstick, and has its own version of the Circle Pad Pro (not included) -- When rumors started going around about a Nintendo 3DS re-design, the most popular prediction was that it would feature two thumbsticks instead of the one. Nope. The Nintendo 3DS XL still has one thumbstick, and a larger version of the Circle Pad Pro will be marketed for the system. The Circle Pad Pro is not included with either the 3DS or the 3DS XL.
The 3DS XL has a different name in Japan -- In its home country, the 3DS XL is the “3DS LL,” much as the Nintendo DSi XL is the “Nintendo DSi LL.” A rose by any other name, right?
The battery life for the 3DS XL is significantly longer than the 3DS’s battery life -- The battery for the Nintendo 3DS lasts approximately three to five hours, depending on what you’re doing. According to Nintendo, the battery for the 3DS XL should last from six to ten hours. Play your heart out!
The 3DS’s AC adapter will work with the 3DS XL -- This is actually an important point of note in Japan, where the 3DS XL reportedly doesn’t come with an AC adapter. North America’s version of the 3DS XL should be packed with an adapter, though it doesn’t look as if there will be any kind of charging cradle included.
The 3DS XL comes with a 4GB SD card for storage -- The original 3DS is packed with a 2GB SD card for game and data storage, but the 3DS XL will be packed with a 4GB card. All the better to download content from the eShop with, my dear.
The 3DS XL camera is still 0.3 megapixels -- There’s no change to the 3DS XL’s camera. It might not be your go-to camera for snapping photos, but you can still have a lot of fun with the 3DS XL’s 3D photo effect and editing software.
The 3DS XL will be available in different colors at launch day -- If you live in North America, you can pick up a red 3DS XL, or a blue one. Europe and Japan will also have the option of a grey system, and Japan has dibs on a white system.
The 3DS XL is reportedly comfortable and light -- According to early hands-on reports, the 3DS XL is supposedly quite light, and comfortable to hold even though it looks like it’d weigh you down. Of course, this is also the kind of thing that’s best determined on a case-by-case basis.
The 3DS XL doesn’t have a telescopic stylus -- The 3DS XL has a traditional one-piece stylus—a change from the 3DS’s telescopic deal. This will make fumbling for the stylus a at crucial moments lot less awkward.