New Nintendo 3DS XL review

Nintendo's already excellent handheld device receives some long-awaited upgrades

New Nintendo 3DS XL review
Yes, this is the best handheld Nintendo has ever made

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We tested three games with the New Nintendo 3DS XL (2014): Super Smash Bros., Mario Golf: World Tour and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. As we expected, no performance issues were encountered, indicating that older software runs on the newer hardware with no discernable issues.

In 3D mode, the 3DS XL is best viewed with at least 30 centimetres between the user's eyes and the screen: any closer and the image blurs.

As with previous models, it's necessary to view the screen from a frontal position, as any angle on the view will affect the 3D output. Given that it's a handheld, this should not present any problems.

Nintendo 3DS XL (2014) review

One fancy addition is the camera facial tracking, which reduces some of the problems associated with image blur when viewing the screen from different angles.

Battery-wise, expect up to four hours of continuous play on this model, with the 3D and brightness turned to its fullest settings. Expect double that if you choose to play without 3D and with no online play.


We left the 3DS XL (2014) on continuously for several days in standby mode and noticed only an incremental decrease in battery life, which is welcome news for anyone who wants to pick up the console and be playing games within seconds.

Navigating the 3DS XL's clunky interface is no more enjoyable than it has been in the past, with the included stylus making the finicky touch interface a little more bearable.

Nintendo 3DS XL (2014) review

It's not horrible - and compared with the PS Vita's front end it's quite nice – but iOS this ain't. Navigating to the Nintendo eShop and then finding specific software can be a chore.

Browsing is by certain predetermined categories ('new releases', 'special offers' etc), and it would have been nice to have a simple alphabetised list of all software.

While it doesn't come close to matching the usability of an iPad Air 2, using the 3DS XL (2014) as a web browser is a more user-friendly, quick and manageable affair than on previous iterations, though you'll only use it if another device is out of reach and you want to consult an online game guide.

YouTube operates beautifully, with videos playing at full screen on the top screen, while options and the scrub bar is accessible on the bottom screen.