The New Nintendo 3DS XL makes some small, much-needed changes to the product line, but isn't worth an immediate upgrade if you already own a previous model.
Second directional stick added
Face-tracking increases 3D viewing angles
C-stick feels overly firm and inaccurate
No charger included in the box
No games utilise the extra power
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Since the first Nintendo DS model released in 2004, there have been various iterations on the dual-screen console. The New Nintendo 3DS XL here is the flagship model, with both 3D capabilities and a superior clamshell design. However, you can also join the family with the 2D-only New Nintendo 2DS XL, or even cheaper sibling, the wedge-shaped Nintendo 2DS.
For those after a single-screen handheld that can truly play AAA games, head to our Nintendo Switch review.
When Nintendo announced the latest 3DS handheld, it delivered two big surprises: one, that it planned to release a new iteration of the market leading Nintendo 3DS handheld by the end of the year, and two, that it would release in Australia before Europe and North America.
The first is surprising because no one expected it. A 3DS with a more powerful CPU and better 3D support isn't something the masses have been baying for.
The second is surprising because traditionally, Australia is usually among the last major regions to receive hardware releases.
The New Nintendo 3DS line up (the 2011 Nintendo 3DS and 2015 New Nintendo 3DS have since been discontinued) seems to commit the same messaging error as the Wii U: casual customers may be confused by the subtle rebrand, or not realise it's a new product at all. While previous 3DS iterations have served only to expand Nintendo's audience, this one threatens to divide and confuse it.
Additionally, the New Nintendo 3DS range exhibits no substantial leap over its predecessors – none that can be discerned with the naked eye, at least.
Whether Nintendo's audience is prepared to pay for a system which seems to offer as much evolution as a smartphone generation is yet to be seen.
Cosmetically the New Nintendo 3DS XL does not alter the series' core design. The laptop-aping dual screen setup is intact, though the screens are marginally larger than those on the vanilla 3DS XL.
The biggest change is the addition of a second analog stick on the right hand side of the console: a small nub absent on earlier devices unless you owned the CirclePad Pro peripheral.
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