Tech Review | New 3DS XL

For the past week I’ve been slumming around Germany for work, as a bit of fun I took my ‘New’ 3DS XL. See below the cut for the highs and lows, and my thoughts on if it’s worth buying or upgrading to.

Firstly, who ever it was at Nintendo that decided to call it the ‘New 3DS XL’ should be fired. I mean seriously, it’s actually worse than Xbox One, and I didn’t think any name could be worse than that!

Transferring my stuff from the old 3DS to the new system, was relatively easy for me, and painless. However that was because I used a micro-SD card already in my old 3DS (Just used an adapter to make it a SD card). For those that used a normal SD card things get a little complicated, and tricky.


The wireless transfer, that is supposed to transfer all your data from machine A to machine B can take a huge amount of time, depending on how much downloaded content you have. Even after this is completed many users have reported that a lot of data was lost or even corrupted. This resulted in them having to start over from scratch and losing everything that was on the card, game saves and stuff. This is because as part of the process the source card is wiped, so there’s no safe way to check if the data is fully transferred.

Thankfully, as I said, I was already using a micro SD card, so once the transfer started I just selected to transfer the system data, then popped out the SD card and stuck it in the new system. This worked flawlessly, and as such I’d recommend anyone else that upgrades to a new 3DS to take the PC option, which essentially tells you to use a PC to copy the files from the source SD card to a the new microSD card.

Next to consider is build construction, and aesthetics. Unfortunately I was limited in choice, the shop I bought mine from was in the process of closing down so it was selling stock of cheaply. I picked up a metallic blue N3DS XL (New 3DS XL) for £49.99, rather than it’s current listing price of £179.99. Though you can get N3DS XL’s for around £142 upto £183, which is just the normal standard models and not including collectors editions.

So aesthetically, this N3DS XL fails to my Zelda 3DS XL that I’ve had for a while now, see the pictures below:

zelda 3

zelda 2

And here’s the Metalic Blue New 3DS XL:



As you can see, from an aesthetic stand point the old 3DS is superior, and while it’s true I could have waited for one of the upcoming collectors editions of the N£DS XL, or picked up one of the current ones (Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for example). I still find these aesthetically not as good looking as the original ones. And the reason why is easy to point out.

With the N3DS XL they (Nintendo) obviously wanted to make customisability a thing (snd lets face it more money!) So they opted for removable back and face plates. This made for both good and bad elements.

Firstly they changed the memory card location from the side of the device to the bottom, under the back face plate, along with a swappable battery. This also means that were getting game specific face and back plates. So if you want a pikachu 3DS XL, you can have one!

The downside to this is the collectors editions that are around, and are planned, are nothing more than normal 3DS’s with a different faceplate. I was originally temped by the Xenoblade Chronicles 3D Collectors Edition, till I saw the face plates:


What’s wrong with the faceplates you might ask. Good question, and honestly, other than aesthetics and perception, nothing.

What I mean is that unlike the Zelda 3DS above, where the top was ALL gold and the bottom ALL black, with face plates it’s now going to be a mishmash of gold, black and metalic blue. Since the face plates aren’t covering everything. So from an aesthetic view point (which is highly subjective and changes from person to person), I don’t see it being as good looking as my original 3DS. The other problem however is a question of perception. Here what I’m referring to is how I perceive the console in my hand. Does it feel good?, does it feel sturdy? Sadly the answer is no.

My old 3DS XL was sturdy to the point if I dropped it, or knocked it off the table I wouldn’t worry to much. I also had a ‘premium’ feel to it in the hand. However the N3DS XL has none of that. It has a huge amount of flex in the hinge, it creaks and squeaks no end This is especially true on the faceplate areas, the amount of flex in those is worrying. For the first time ever I’m worrying that my new handheld device won’t last 6months before it’s needing replacing.

I’m hoping that a lot of this comes just from the faceplates and the actual build construction of the device will still be as solid as the Zelda device I owned, only time can tell here.

Now, thats the griping out the way, despite the above issues, honestly I think this device is amazing. Except it’s being deliberately hamstrung by Nintendo (which I’ll cover in another post).

A few weeks ago if someone asked me if it was worth buying or upgrading to a New 3DS XL, I honestly would have said not really. Since on paper there was no real reason to do so. However after using it for this past week I’d have a different view, I’d be saying HELL YES!

Why? Simple, they’ve vastly improved the 3D screen to such a level that I can now play for hours on end without any form of headaches or eyestrain. Previously I could manage maybe an hour or two before my eyes felt like dying.

Nintendo’s new Super Stable 3D screen, which uses the camera and follows your eyes, giving you an optimal 3D effect at all times, is frankly amazing. Being able to play games with the 3D toggled to maximum while sitting on a bus (or in my case a plane through turbulence!) was amazing, and something my old 3DS couldn’t handle at all.

What’s more, being able to play for extended periods of time without getting headaches or eye strain was amazing, the quality of the 3D made it even more amazing. I’ve gotten used to ghosting and blurred images. However I’ve had almost none on the new device. You do get a little bit of ghosting and double vision when you change position to fast, but the screen quickly catches up.

Frankly, for this alone it was worth the upgrade!

The process is one of the mysteries of the N3DS XL as Nintendo haven’t released any specifics for it (as far as I know), only to say it far outstrips the old. From what I’ve seen this does indeed seem to be so. While my 3DS XL was never slow when it came to downloads (it was actually quicker than my Vita) taking around 45minutes to download Shin Megumi Tensei IV. However when I downloaded it again on my N3DS XL to test its speed it took barely 10minutes!

What’s more the response times for the new system were also pretty damn awesome! Along with this are the improved loading times, which for some games, like SMTIV, were rather long on the old system; but were significantly improved on this new system.

So, in conclusion.

While the new system certainly has it’s flaws, it’s most definitely a worthy upgrade! I just wish the devices were more aesthetically pleasing and not as flimsy feeling in the hands.

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