Comic Con 2012: Nintendo 3DS XL Hands On
This year’s Comic Con marked the first time Nintendo has made the 3DS XL playable by the public, so I decided to stop on by to try and get my hands on (or around) it and see how the XL was different, if at all, than the normal 3DS.
And I have to say, despite the egregious omission of a second circle pad, the 3DS XL is most assuredly the definitive version of the system. The first thing you’ll notice is how huge the screens are. With 3D engaged, the top screen is especially beautiful, with the 3D seemingly easier to digest visually than on the previous 3DS model, which seems unwieldy in its tinyness by comparison.
There really hasn’t been any change to the buttons; if you prefer squishy, you’ll love it, and if you prefer hard and clicky, then you’re still SOL. As for the rest of the clamshell, it feels remarkably sturdy and hefty, a characteristic I really appreciate. I hate electronics that feel like they’re hollow. I need a good weight to my handheld devices; it reminds me they’re valuable, sure, but they also rest in my hands easier. Usually I can only play handheld games for 45 minutes at a time before my fingers start to turn into evil claws, but the 3DS XL felt much more natural in my grip. The shoulder buttons were a little small for my liking, but it was otherwise quite comfortable. The larger size also meant that I wasn’t gripping the system like some sort of freaky clown.
Finally, I really appreciate the rounded corners; it makes the unit look less like a kid’s toy and more like a sophisticated kid’s toy that adults will maybe want to play. The 3DS XL will be out in North America on August 19, and if you don’t have a 3DS yet, or have freakishly large appendages, it’s a great update to Nintendo’s little game platform, circle pad omission aside.