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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Nintendo's 3D handheld has overcome many of its early hurdles, but with this update it seemingly hasn't addressed all of the issues we had with the console when it launched three years ago.

Still, it's far from a bad device, and is still a more enjoyable commuting partner than the hungover drunkard you inevitably end up sitting next to on the bus.

We liked

The New Nintendo 3DS XL (2014) certainly feels like a higher market product than any of its predecessors, and the 3D is much improved. The battery life is generous and the ability to leave the console on standby for extended periods of time is helpful for those who like short but meaningful gameplay sessions.

The 3DS XL is the best handheld on the market, so for those arriving for the first time to Nintendo's stable, this is a go-to purchase.

We Disliked

The right hand control nub isn't perfect, and nor is the 3DS's user interface. The latter still feels primitive during an era where user experience has turned into its own fine art, but it's nothing a small child can't operate so consider the complaint minor.

The lack of hefty internal storage in the 3DS XL (2014) disappoints. Having to purchase a Micro SD to purchase games digitally seems absolutely backwards in 2014, though it's not like Sony's Vita offers any better alternative.


If you don't already own a 3DS this new version is a no brainer. It's sleeker, the 3D is improved and it will operate forthcoming software its predecessors cannot.

The 3DS really is the best handheld console on the market, and its software line-up features some of the best first-party Nintendo titles ever. At this price point the 3DS remains as strong a product as ever, after an initially shaky start.

If you do own a 3DS then there's no reason to update immediately. Anything can happen between now and when Nintendo finally releases software which requires the new CPU power - for instance, a price drop.

That seems unlikely, but even so there's no reason to pack your old unit away when all current software will still operate on it.

Overall, it's a curious decision for Nintendo to release such a minorly iterative console, but all things considered, it's cheaper than what many people pay to update their smartphone every two years. If you're a Nintendo diehard you'll want one even if your current unit is in mint condition.