Nintendo 3DS XL vs 3DS

Hey guys, this is Austin and today I’m here with a comparison between the Nintendo 3DS XL and the original 3DS. The size is obviously a big difference but there’s more to it than that. First of all let’s go over the design. The original 3DS breaks away from all other DS models with a distinctive triple layer design as well as a coating of glossy plastic. Inside you’ll find a inch 3D display up top with a resolution of 400×240 and below you’ll see the 3 inch 320×240 resistive touchscreen. One thing that should be easily noticeable is the large bezel which makes the screen seem smaller than it could be. Moving on to the 3DS XL it’s a much more traditional design that looks quite similar to the DSi. The layered design has been simplified with just the top and bottom shells being colored and the rest a matte black plastic. Open it up and you’ll see the inch top 3D display and the inch bottom screen.

Something to keep in mind is that both of these sport identical specs other than the size which means that the already low pixel density on the 3DS is magnified on the XL. I was never much of a fan of the Select, Home and Start buttons on the 3DS as they’ve got nearly no feedback but on the XL they’ve built in some proper buttons. Otherwise everything else seems to feel very similar inside which is a good thing. Nintendo figured out the whole button deal a long time ago. One change I’m a big fan of is the stylus. Not only is it a proper size without needing to be extended but it’s also moved over to the right side just like on the DS instead of being buried up top on the 3DS. The XL comes with a 4GB SD card instead of the 2GB card from the 3DS but on the flip side there’s no charging dock and the XL doesn’t even come with a charger in some countries outside the US.

Cameras on the 3DS XL and 3DS are disappointingly the same which means you can expect VGA photos and video. The software is also identical between the 3DSes which should come as no surprise. Battery life is much better on the 3DS XL. While the 3DS has about three or four hours of gaming on a charge it burns through the entire battery in just a couple days of standby.

The XL does a bit better, averaging just over four hours of gaming. Better yet, standby doesn’t dent the battery anywhere nearly as badly as before so if you don’t play your 3DS for a couple days you probably won’t find it dead. Doing a little simple math you’ll be able to figure out that if you take the same amount of pixels from a 3.5” screen and put them on a 4.9” one things aren’t going to look as good.

That said you’re getting a screen that’s nearly twice as big so it’s going to depend on your preference. Most 3DS games, especially ones that rely on 3D graphics look just fine however more pixel based games like New Super Mario 3 can be fairly noticeable. After a while though you really get used to it. The extra screen real estate is a plus across the board when playing older games. I never liked playing DS games on the 3DS as you either had to deal with blurry upscaling or shrink it down to the native resolution which is way too small to see very well. On the XL the upscaling still is really no good but when you hold the Start or Select buttons while loading the game the overall size is a lot closer to the DS screen. Same goes for playing Virtual Console games, the extra screen real estate makes it a lot easier to play games without upscaling. Overall the 3DS XL is a solid improvement. If you already own a 3DS it’s probably not enough to get you to upgrade unless you have to have the larger screen but if you’re looking to buy your first 3DS the XL is the one to go for.

For more 3DS XL coverage feel free to check out the unboxing and full review here! If you enjoyed be sure to leave a thumbs up and if you’re interested in more videos like this be sure to subscribe!

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