New Nintendo 3DSXL Review

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The New 3DSXL is the latest Nintendo handheld. It’s got a faster processor, face tracking for improved 3D viewing and a new C stick for moving the camera in 3D environments. But should you buy it now, or wait?

 

I would like to point out that I purchased this system out of pocket for $199. I have the elusive Majora’s Mask Edition.

Looks:

The system now has a glossy finish on the outside instead of matte. For mine, the gold finish looks like its metal. The black system has more of a carbon fiber look to it. I would assume there’s some kind of scratch resistance built into it. I know my Link Between Worlds Edition has a couple of scratches that came very easy.

The inside is gray metal that’s the same on all New 3DSXL models. The Start and Select buttons are now to the right instead of sitting with the Home button. The Home button is now all by itself at the bottom. The other noticeable change is the C stick which is actually more of an eraser nub. This will help move the camera around instead of using the touch screen.  The A, B, Y, and X buttons now highlighted Red, Yellow, Green and Blue which is a throwback to the Super Famicom controller. There are also 2 new trigger buttons: ZL and ZR – both are to be used in future titles.

How it plays:

If you already have a 3DSXL then you won’t really notice too much of a difference with the feel.  It is heavier than the original giving it a premium feel. The real difference is what’s on the inside. The extra processing power increases the 3DS’ boot speed, menu switching and game launching by almost twice that of its older counterpart. I was amazed that I didn’t have to wait very long to play. The design is still the same so if you’re like me and have big hands, you’ll experience cramping after about an hour of continuous gameplay. Unfortunately there aren’t any comfort grips out for the New 3DSXL. I would use one for the old, but the game slot, stylus and volume rockers have all been moved around.

The 3D is now comfortable to use. I wear glasses so sometimes the face tracking takes a bit to catch up, but it’s still a vast improvement over the older model. I now leave the 3D on and don’t notice it until I shift my head and it breaks into double vision for a brief second

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Likes:

Premium design – It’s heavy, it feels expensive and not like a toy,

Extra buttons – The C stick will help bring more 3D world games and hopefully some new concepts instead of N64/Wii Ports. I’m really looking forward to playing Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time.

Face Tracking The face tracking improves the 3D experience vastly. It’s really fun seeing Link transform into a Deku Scrub when his face sticks out of the screen.

Dislikes:

SD card placement – The SD is now underneath a panel that you have to remove with a screwdriver. The first time you remove the panel, it sounds like you’re going to break it. There’s a 4GB card included so if that’s enough space for you, it should be ok. I had a 32GB that I bought on Black Friday so I decided to put it in.

My hand still cramps – it’s the same form factor as the old 3DSXL – I would have preferred a redesign, but this is a middle cycle system, so I wasn’t expecting much.

The charger is sold separately – So this bugged a lot of people. Gamestop will not let you trade in your old 3DSXL without it. I kept mine because I’m a collector, but I can see the frustration online. I completely get why Nintendo decided not to: it works in Japan and it keeps the price point at $199 (the packaging is very minimal as well)

It’s a finger print magnet – The glossy finish attracts fingerprints – not really a big deal, but I thought I would mention it here.

 

 

Final thoughts

The New 3DSXL is new. Honestly if I didn’t get my hands on the Majora’s Mask edition, I would have waited until an exclusive game came along that I felt warranted the purchase. If you’re thinking of buying a 3DS for the first time, I suggest picking one up instead of the old one seeing as you can play all the old games and the new ones that are sure to come out and require the New 3DS.

If you’re on the fence about upgrading, I would wait. Gamestop’s trade in program offering $100 towards the purchase of a New 3DS was great, but that ended yesterday. If you must have the latest and greatest, the New 3DS is a fine upgrade, but if you’re looking to save some cash the old 3DS will still hold its own for another year or so.