I got the chance to have a lot of hands-on gaming with the 3DS XL at Comic-Con. It definitely has it’s pros and cons compared to the regular 3DS.
The screen size is spectacular. In case you haven’t looked at the specs, the screens are 90% larger than those of the 3DS. It’s MUCH more comfortable to look at.
The 3D effect is also greatly improved thanks to the screen size. It enlarges the “sweet spot” so you can look at it more comfortably from more angles.
The new shape and matte finish also make it more comfortable to hold. The new shape helps it sit better in your hands.
The battery life has been extended from about 3-5 to 3.5-6.5 hours for 3DS games and from about 5-8 to 6-10 hours for DS games.
The pixels are stretched in order to use up all that new screen space. This gives the screen rather large pixels which is really disappointing. It greatly hurt the visual quality of games I played, even on that really nice screen.
I don’t think you can call it “portable” any more. It’s so large that you might as well be carrying around a small laptop or an iPad.
The lack of a second circle pad confuses many die-hard Nintendo fans. Considering they’ve released the Circle Pad Pro attachment for the 3DS and have announced that they will be bringing one to the 3DS XL anyways, not building it into the oversized handheld when there is certainly enough space is baffling.
It’s really up to the gamer if they think the 3DS XL is worth it’s $200 price tag and is better than the 3DS which costs $30 less. Personally, I prefer my normal sized system (although I do like the new matte paint jobs), but it really is preference. Do you prefer giant screens that are more pixelated or smaller screens that are more portable? We’ll find out what the general consensus is when the 3DS XL released August 19th (the same day as New Super Mario Bros. 2).