What Is The Nintendo 3DS XL & Should You Get One? [MUO Gaming]

Dave LeClair 07-08-2012

nintendo 3dx xlThe buzz around Nintendo’s Wii U has been rather lackluster. Much like the Wii, people seem confused by the new controller that is looking to revolutionize gaming, as we know it. In an effort to add to consumer confusion, Nintendo is rolling out a new handheld system called the 3DS XL.


What is the 3DS XL? Quite simply, it is a bigger version of the 3DS with marginally improved battery life. The 3DS, which is still fairly new to the market at a year and a half old, started with relatively poor sales, and quite possibly was a large contributor to Nintendo posting their first loss in years.

Why Make the 3DS XL?

So why release a larger version so close to the launch of a major home console and only a year and a half after their first iteration hit the market? After all, sales have picked up on the original 3DS once Nintendo lowered the price. In fact, sales rebounded so strongly that the 3DS is actually outpacing the ultra successful Nintendo DS. In the first year, the original DS sold 2.3 million units in the United States. Even with a slow start, the smaller version of the 3DS has already sold a staggering 4.5 million.

Presumably, Nintendo is trying to appeal to the casual market, much like the 3DSi XL. The issue is that Nintendo is trying to make a bigger screen for a market of gamers who are lacking in terms of eyesight. Is looking at a stereoscopic 3D display really the best choice for someone with eye issues?

nintendo 3dx xl

All of that said, who is the 3DS for? Does the average portable gamer want to carry around an extra large device? Do the elderly want to look at a 3D screen? It’s a cool device, and larger screens can be a good thing for certain types of hardware, but I find myself having a hard time figuring out exactly whom Nintendo is targeting with this piece of hardware.


What Would Make Me Want One?

Nintendo recently launched a peripheral with a second joystick called the Circle Pad Pro. If Nintendo wanted to make the 3DS XL a device worth owning, including that in the hardware seems like a no brainer. However, Nintendo decided not to include a second stick, so the console is literally just a larger version of the previous iteration with slightly better battery life. I would be at my local video game retailer on launch day if it had a second stick.

nintendo 3ds xl review

The 3DS XL launches on July 28th in Europe, August 19th in North America and August 23rd in Australia and New Zealand. Oddly, the system will not include an AC power adaptor. Nintendo claims this is in an effort to keep the price down. However, if the target demographic is the elderly, forcing them to charge the device through USB seems like it could be confusing and a possible oversight by the powers-that-be at Nintendo. I know I prefer to charge my electronics with a wall outlet, and leaving this out of the box will certainly annoy me.

How Much Is It?

nintendo 3dx xl


Nintendo certainly smartened up in terms of pricing, launching this console at $200. That’s $50 less than the 3DS’s launch price, and only $30 more than the current price of the regular 3DS. It’s certainly not a bad value for 4.88 inches of screen and better battery life (the original 3DS has a 3.02 inch screen).

Should You Get One?

The original 3DS is a fantastic device, and if you do not already own one, and want a bigger screen, this might be worth grabbing. Just remember that you will be sacrificing a great deal of portability in order to gain these bigger screens. Personally, I prefer to have a smaller device that is easy to carry around.


I doubted Nintendo when they launched the Wii and I doubted them when they launched the 3DS. They have proven me wrong time and time again. Their track record of success is impeccable in recent years. It seems as if they have the Midas touch; making it hard to question any move they make.

What do you think of the 3DS XL?  A smart move or one doomed to failure?  Will you be buying an XL?


Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Choon Khai
    August 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    The larger screen makes the gameplay easier and ease. I'm definitely buying it! Hopefully it hits the market in market already :)

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:06 am

      Let us know how you like it once you get one!

  2. 3DSGUY
    August 12, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Hhhmmm... Nintendo really should have just kept the same size 3DS but maybe just improved battery life, performance, camera, sound and maybe added another analog stick, which would have to mean that they make it a tad bigger. I dont see many people buying this NEW 3DSXL because, really.. all people want it great portability. Dont you guys think that too?

  3. Deb
    August 10, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Since most people have to start wearing bifocals in their forties, I'm not sure that referring to such individuals as "the elderly" is the way to go.

  4. epizestro
    August 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I will not be picking one up, because I am perfectly happy with my current 3ds. I really don't care so much about the screen, because the 3ds has it good enough without needing to go XL. I would buy it if I didn't already have a 3ds, though, just for the extra battery life.

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:06 am

      I think this is the way to go. If you don't have a 3DS the XL could be worth it. If you already own one, a slightly larger screen and marginally better battery life doesn't seem worth it to me.

  5. tarzan2001
    August 8, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Man, this actually looks pretty good! I wish I had the money to get one though! :(

  6. Austin Beatty
    August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    If I had the money, I'd love to get one (XL or not). Unfortunately, that seems like it will be a while before that could ever happen. When the Wii U comes out, I'd rather get that than a 3DS, but not like I can afford either, being a college student :P I'll stick to my DS Lite I recently found at Goodwill for only $25! (Great deal, I'm loving that, especially with an R4 flash cart for homebrew stuff and not having to carry around a bunch of DS carts)

    • coffee
      October 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm


  7. AriesWarlock
    August 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    If there's no AC power adapter then how do you charge the system?

    I want one to play the Castlevania games. Such a pity that they only came out on DS.

    • Seppe
      August 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      there is one coming for 3DS

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:05 am

      Through USB

  8. Christopher Harlan
    August 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I have the original 3DS, and I am more than happy with it. The 3D is great quality and this little machine packs quite a punch. Plus, the originals are easier to be "pocket-sized". However, a bigger screen could be nice. But is the 3D quality brought down because of size? Or is it better? And besides a bigger screen, why would I want to get a 3DS XL? Better processor/components? Or just a big screen.

    Anyways, i think Nintendo is doing great, though I wish they made Pokemon Black and White 2 for 3DS.

    • Maximilian
      August 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      It is better, the 3D is more immersive. I have an original and I would like one. The battery is also better. However the 3DS already barely fits in my pocket for StreetPass, imagine this inflated system fitting in your pocket... time to get a pair of 3DS XL pants. (iPants reference)

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:04 am

      I can't wait for 3D Pokemon!

  9. Jon Smith
    August 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Now Nintendo made it even harder to choose between a PS Vita or 3DSXL

    • Karl Joseph Ku
      August 8, 2012 at 3:36 am


    • Amanda
      August 20, 2012 at 3:22 am

      I just bought the 3DSXL, I was going to buy a Vita, but after trying it out at the ToysRUs I found it to be quite slow. If you are just using this for games, it seems to be the better choice. I found the Vita had entry screens on their games that took forever to load.

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:04 am

      I have a Vita and regular 3DS. I prefer the VIta, but it really comes down to what kind of games you like.