Nintendo 3DS XL And Standard 3DS Photo Comparison

By Spencer . July 11, 2012 . 11:56pm

Nintendo gave me an early look at the Nintendo 3DS XL and, yes, the XL has a much larger screen. Here’s a side by side comparison of Heroes of Ruin running on a standard 3DS and a 3DS XL.


3dsxl7 3dsxl6


While the 3DS XL is larger, it didn’t feel that much heavier than the 3DS I already have. Graphics, at least for games with polygonal graphics, look a bit crisper and the 3D effects appear more pronounced. I think the bigger screen helps with the 3D effect and when I played Luigi’s Mansion 2 with the depth slider at the highest snow particles popped out everywhere. I’m curious to see how Pushmo and 2D games work on an XL. The 3D camera is the same resolution so even though photos are blown up, they’re the same muddy images as you would get from a regular 3DS.


The Nintendo 3DS XL has a metallic matte finish. Here’s a look at the red x black and blue x black units.


3dsxl13 3dsxl15


One other feature is the 3DS XL’s top screen can lock into place in three positions (a regular 3DS only has two). You can have it close to a L position which might make playing Kid Icarus: Uprising more comfortable if you sit the 3DS XL on a table. Since the 3DS XL is probably too big for most pockets, it feels more like one of Nintendo’s old tabletop arcade games than a portable system.


3dsxl4 3dsxl1 3dsxl2 3dsxl3  3dsxl12 3dsxl17

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • Xapth

    I understand the exclusion of the circle pad so as not to alienate / divide the 3DS consumer base, although it would have made this system an insta-buy for me.

    However, I’ve decided that while the improvements justify the purchase of a 3DS XL over an original 3DS, they don’t necessarily justify the replacement of my current 3DS model. I’ll probably just wait until the inevitable next model comes out and then decide whether to upgrade then.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Gawd, its not even fair how much bigger that screen is :(

    • Aoshi00

      I know.. I’m sure the 3D effect would pop out much more and it’s easier to position yourself to see it..

      Sigh.. I alrdy got two “small” 3DSes alrdy, a Jpn Aqua and US Zelda LE.  How I wish to play my 3DS library w/ this bigger screen (just like I loved my Mario DSi much more and couldn’t go back to DSi), this is like the Wii U controller now..  as much as I want this, I would need a limited edition to justify upgrading.. otherwise I would feel regret again w/ the 3DSi XL lol.. 

      I like the smooth edges and new star/select/home btns more than the original’s angular edges.. the surface finish seems nicer too and gives better grip.

  • Peace Legacy

    I always hear people concern about the portability of a large handheld like 3DS XL and Vita, and I always laugh as I happened to own one of this
    It is a godsend product for portable gamer, the largest pocket (for even the standard version) can probably carry 2 3DS XL easily, and still have 2 other side pocket to store game cartridges.
    While it looks a bit…standout, if you are wearing black pants, this fit in almost perfectly, and look really…cool on the contrary. I like black pants so I always wear this whenever I am outside.
    No… no one paid me to write all of this XD

  • I wonder just how portable that thing will be when you slap a circle pad XL on it.

  • CirnoLakes

    For those who buy handhelds for the games, not the portability.

    I rather want one myself.

  • I hope the hinge is strong? My DS Lite’s hinge broke on the right side – still playable, though – making it unable to sit up like it used to. My 3DS’s hinge seems a little flimsy as well.

    Hearing that the 3D effect is a lot better on the bigger screen makes me want to get a new one but I will hold off for the time being.

  • LittleMofreaky

    red one looks sweet

  • popyea

    Good thing most of my pants are too tight for pocket storage to even be a possibility. Though I also never game anywhere but at home. If the price is right i’ll definitely opt for this one.

  • Asura

    I’ll wait for two more revisions and then buy that 3DSXlmegasuperfuntimeorwhatever.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Lol i think you also have been saying that again and again lol since the first 3DS.^^

  • Carlito Cabada Jr

    I’m interested in seeing how it handles regular DS games. They look pretty bad on the original 3DS.

  • Aqua King

    I’m not really convinced yet to purchase this, I like the portable size of the 3DS I have right now. I do have to say after looking at the photos that I love the fact they changed select start and home to actual buttons, the strange ‘metal pop’ I get from the way they are now makes me feel they are breaking whenever I push them. I want a review to see how the larger screen affects netflix, since I do use that a lot on my current 3DS and would really like a larger screen for that :P

  • Apache_Chief

    This thing just looks horribly ugly to me. I don’t like the bigger rounded corners or the new style of buttons. The screens and the metallic matte look nice, but I think the design just looks bad compared to the original.

  • heartless141

    think imma wait for the monster hunter 4 edition. :)

  • XypherCode

    Honestly I really don’t care how big a handheld console is as long as I can play with it. Heck I even put my keys and iPod in my backpack lol. Some people even carry their iPads and laptops everyday and they always refer to it as “portable” in a sense. 
    I might get one if ever I can sell my old 3DS for a reasonable price.

  • SupaPhly

     wait, snow particles in a good or bad way?

  • Arrei

    I dunno, I think I have quite a few pairs of shorts and pants with pockets big enough to hold one of those puppies. Not jeans though, of course.

    Wouldn’t leave much space for anything else, but it’d fit.

  • dahuuuundge

    No second analog stick and still region locked? But the only reason I want a 3DS is for the new Kiseki game, which will take ages to localize.

    • JazzyMan123

      Again, you mean Nayuta? Right now that’s a PSP exclusive.

      • dahuuuundge

        Falcom also announced that they plan to make future Kiseki games on the PSP.

        • JazzyMan123

          Uh, we all know Nayuta is going onto the PSP and obviously they”ll create future Kiseki titles for the PSP….so your point is?

          • disgaea36

             I think he meant 3DS because falcom just annouced they were going to released the legend series on the 3ds.

          • JazzyMan123

             Yeah, I think we should all wait for an PR announcement for that.

  • klkAlexar

    I’m torn. Oh well, I’ll probably either go for the cheapest or wait for another version to show up. 

  • Monsley

    I love handhelds with big screens! I had to skip the DSi XL since I already had a DS Lite, but now I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! :)

  • Someone’s gonna need a pair of pants with bigger pockets….

    *Looks at no second analog stick*

    I’ll be waiting for a new revision then… Or the 3DS price drops here($200)….

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Don’t 3DS price drop already here?

      • Where is “here”, I wonder???

        I’m in Australia which means I need to fork out more than americans do… Here you get a normal 3DS while in America, you can get the XL version for the exact price….

        Plus there’s not much games I want right now…. Only KH3D, RF4 and MH4(If it’s localised)…

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Ohh.T_T Sorry here. I am living here in South East Asia here and some shop here does cut their price which is the reason why i meet more people bringing their 3DS.

  • Herok♞

    Region lock is the only reason, I will have proper justification to buy one of these, will be my Jp 3DS.

  • Im reserving judgement until I get pixel comparisons. Its nice having a bigger screen. But if it just makes the picture bigger and thus, more murky, Im not interested in the slightest.

    • Yoshinatsu

      Unfortunately, that’s what it does.

      The screen is bigger, but the resolution is the same. Thus is has a much lower pixel density than the regular 3DS, and the games will inevitably look jaggier.

  • Trading in my DSi XL for this one, That way my younger brother can have my 3DS

    • I’m thinking about trading in my 3DS for the XL but the problem is transferring all my downloadable content to the XL. Which I’m not sure how I’m going to manage that.

      • XypherCode

        Doing a 3DS System Transfer is quite easy you know.

        • Brandonmkii

          It is, but if he trades in his 3DS, he won’t have a system to transfer.

          • Arrei

            Depending on the retailer, maybe he could ask them to let him transfer his data first.

          • Usually they are allowed because you are selling the console and not the content you bought unless otherwise. Happen when I traded in my half broken phat xbox 360 for the slim. They had a transfer cable and ethernet cable to transfer data. Then again it actually didn’t matter because microsoft implemented license transfer via the dashboard. The question is wherever they have wifi installed on their store. I already said as much as I needed above. :)

          • XypherCode

            yeah good point :)
            I only thought of first buying the the XL and just sell it for a good price.

        • I know how easy it is but it depends on wherever the retail has wifi or not since it also transfer online detail like remaining cash, DLC, friend list or etc. Well lets hope theres no trade in deal because if there aren’t I can just buy the 3DS XL, transfer all my stuff and sell my 3DS to the same retail or my brother’s girlfriend friend who is interested in my 3DS.

          • XypherCode

            They said that you can transfer up to 5 times. 5 times from the parent console or both the sender and receiver system will be affected? Or is the 5 time restriction implemented on the files that are being transferred?

          • I believe it’s the parent console though I think the counter reset every year.

  • keithmaxx

    Ugh, now you are making it hard for me to resist buying a JP 3DS… I mean, with the recent explosion in great NA 3DS games and exciting announcements for JP titles that I foresee to be localized in the next year, I’m trying hard NOT to bring out the cash for this. >.<

  • I was worried about the way games would look on the bigger screen, resolution wise and whatanot, but my fears have been put to rest with both the report and the pics that go with this report.

    For the time being, I guess I’ll stick with my ol’ Zelda 3ds, but I might just import a JP 3DS LL in the future.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    I really loves the colour here lol.^^ Even though the shape is quite…….fat??? and round lol.

    Well, as i already had two 3DS here, i probably won’t bought this one Day one here considering i am saving money for Vita and Wii U here.^^ But this is going to be a good thing for all of those who wanted a 3DS however haven’t get one yet.^^

  • MrRobbyM

    Loving that metallic blue and this is the first real comparison between the two Ive seen and I gotta say, I’m loving it. I won’t buy one right away though. I’d rather wait until they release more colors and then make a decision. Midnight purple or somethign close to the original GBA/Gamecube would be nice. 

  • It does look nice, but I think I’ll stick with my original 3DS. Mainly because I doubt I could stuff the 3DS XL into my purse.

    • MrRobbyM

      You must have a tiny purse. Which is a compliment. All these women walking around with big ass purses thinking it’s fashionable *barf*

      • Thanks. XD Yeah, the three purses I usually use only have room for either the 3DS or Vita, wallet, phone, keys and a few necessities… cause those big ass purses hurt! You can’t have a bag that big with you and not fill it up!

      • Masengan

        Don’t tell that to my sisters, but they DO come in handy for smuggling goods at the movies =].

  • yalissa

    A bigger screen sounds nice and all, but…
    The original 3DS just looks flat out classier.

  • A shame that this is the only way to get a matte 3DS.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    Heroes of Ruin is actually a pretty decent Diablo clone.  The demo actually left me wanting more, which I never expected.  

    • Nick Jones

      Couldn’t agree more.  I downloaded and played the demo yesterday and found the 3D immersive.  The character customization, level design, and orchestrated music are actually pretty good.  It’s a step above Dungeon Hunter for iOS in my book.

  • aoihana

    I kept telling myself that the 3DS XL’s size wouldn’t be much of big deal, but man, it’s huge. I really like the size of the original 3DS, it just fits perfectly in my hands. The difference is rather staggering. 

    Sure, I would like to have a bigger screen, especially for those games that would really benefit from it like Kid Icarus or Resident Evil Revelations, but I don’t think I’d compromise my comfort. ┐(‘~`;)┌

    What I do like about the 3DS XL, though, cosmetically, is the fact that they went with a matching color on the inner top screen. The original 3DS, regardless of the system color, has a black inner top screen. I guess they went with black for a less distracting experience, but in my opinion, it doesn’t look very good. 

    So, I like that they went with a (mostly) solid color for the 3DS XL. I’m not sure if the 3DS XL is for me, but maybe I’ll appreciate the more cinematic experience and bite the bullet! (*≧m≦*)

  • “The 3D camera is the same resolution so even though photos are blown up,
    they’re the same muddy images as you would get from a regular 3DS.”

    Aah too bad.
    *Hugs standard 3Ds*

  • Suicunesol

    I still don’t understand this rampant desire for 3DS to have a second analog stick. Like you can’t do without it. There are only a few games that support it… it’s like you’re asking for an extra button that games will hardly ever use.

  • Covnam

    I’ll be picking one of these up at some point, playing the DSi XL is much better at home, so I just use my regular DSi when I’m away from home. That blue looks better than I thought too.

  • Relytgninroht

    I’m definitely considering picking one of these up. Only thing is, the colors for NA suck. I really want the silver one. 

    • Masengan

      I know… I wanted the white one that seems to be exclusive for Japan at this point. I wanna wait for more colors but KH3D is coming out soon and I HAVE to play that game.

  • Masengan

    I wish the 3DS was not region locked period. Japan and EU have colors the US isn’t gonna get any time soon. I wanted the white one.. I guess I’ll have to get the red one.

  • Ferofax

    How in the… Luigi’s Mansion 2 hands-on?

  •  $299

    GTFO, death of the global economy is around the corner

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos