Monday, June 25, 2012

The 3DS XL: Are You Buying it?

The 3DS. Original on the left, XL on the right.

The guys at IGN have provided a really nice breakdown of the technical differences of the 3DS XL compared to the original, so I won't spend time describing that facet of the story.

Instead I'll try and address the question: is this redesign worth buying?

As an owner of the original 3DS, which I paid good money for last year, this is an important question to ask. Personally, I believe that this revision is not worth it if you have the original, unless you happen to be a major Nintendo fan or really want a larger screen to work with.

There are couple reasons why I believe this. First off, the original 3DS fits perfectly in my pockets, a key factor which I am not certain applies to the newer model.

While this may seem like superfluous reasoning at first glance, it actually makes perfect sense when thinking about it. I bought the 3DS because I wanted a device which would allow me to play high quality games on the go, no matter where I was.

Could I do that with the 3DS XL? Probably. Would it be as comfortable to lug it around? Probably not.

I may be in the minority on this, but I feel that the portability of the original is one of its major appeals. Especially when compared to its direct competitor, the PS Vita.

Would a larger screen be nice? Sure. But at 3.5 inches, the original 3DS's screen is equivalent to an Iphone's, which I think is sufficient for most people.

Another reason I have for liking the original compared to the revision is the color choices. This is probably due to my mild case of OCD, but I highly prefer my black 3DS compared to the childish looking blue and red XL options given to those of us living in the United States.

Beyond this, one of the major selling points of the XL is the fact that it provides slightly better battery performance.

That would be great, and is one of the reasons why I might have considered switching to it one day (though by that point Nintendo would have likely released another revision).

However, based on what they have said about the XL's battery lasting 3.5 - 6 hours, I really don't see the appeal. The original lasted 3 - 5 hours, which means that this revision doesn't provide a substantial upgrade.

Additionally, I have never played my 3DS for 3 hours at a time in the first place. I see this device more as something to play for 30 minutes to an hour here or there, perhaps on a car ride or while waiting for a dentist appointment.

This ties in to what I said about considering the 3DS to be a mobile device meant to be used on the go. Going by this definition, the small form factor and slightly lesser battery life aren't issues.

Furthermore, and this is entirely opinion, I prefer the coloring and design of the original. It looks sturdier (and probably is, I've dropped mine from 5 feet in the air numerous times without it gaining a single scratch) and more expensive, both of which I know are mostly subjective observations but still play a significant role for some in terms of deciding whether or not to buy this new iteration.

Overall, I would suggest not buying the 3DS XL if you have the original and aren't made of money. I really don't see the advantages unless you adamantly prefer the larger screen, and I suppose in truth there are many of you like that out there or else Nintendo would not have released this product in the first place.  In the end, the choice is yours, but I hope my analysis had helped.

Until next time!

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