Tech Stuff for Baffled parents – do you need to get the 3DS XL?

technology stuff for baffled parentsAs a family we’re Nintendo fans, and for me the DS is my favourite of their consoles. My oldest had his first gameboy ten years ago, and still loves his latest incarnation – and our 7yr old received a 2DS for Christmas last year. They’re essential equipment on long journeys, sleepovers, and just for quiet times spent noodling about with each other in a  quiet corner. And they’re rarely a solitary activity in our house: I love listening to them playing DragonQuest IX together!

Nintendo is undisputedly one of the world’s largest sellers of handheld gaming devices, most prolific of which are the Nintendo DS (and its predecessor the Gameboy, if you’re old school – or just old – like me…). Most parents have either bought at least one, or are considering one of the many variations of this system. But is it worth upgrading if you already have an original DS? Is the extra spend for the 3DS XL worth the money?

The Nintendo 3DS was Nintendo’s first 3D gaming console, no funny glasses required. Just simply move the slider on the system and enjoy immersive 3d viewing of videos or games.
We own both, so we’re well-place to talk about the benefits of each. The 3DS XL does everything that a regular 3DS can do; but as you can expect with the added XL ingredient.


Boy’s new white 3DS XL vs. Jolly’s original 3DS. No camera tricky, that’s the difference in screen size between the two.

The XL screen size is an impressive 4.88 inches as compared to the 3ds’ 3.53. It is also sporting a matt finish as opposed to the more glossy regular 3DS – the shiny finish is pretty, but is a shocker for collecting finger prints, much like stainless steel kitchen appliances. The matt finish of the 3DS XL gets my vote purely on that alone!

Whilst the XL may be heavier due to its sheer size (coming in at 12oz), it doesn’t feel heavy. In fact it feels less heavy than the regular model, probably down to the weight being evenly spread across a wider surface. The XL also sports a larger memory card to support the fantastic Nintendo E-shop.


Placed one on top of the other, you can see just how much difference that extra £30 spend will make.

So, is that it? Bigger screen and a different paint job? On paper yes. But there is something about the XL. It just feels nicer to hold. It fits comfortably in your hands and allows your hands to sit in a more natural position. The screen is stunning, the display can’t be knocked and there is definitely something impressive about playing Pokemon X/Y or Super Mario 3D world on it. Of course, you don’t miss out on any of the fun stuff from the original 3DS, like the Mii maker, Mii plaza, AR games and 3D camera – you just get to enjoy them on a bigger screen. Oddly, to my brain that makes it a little kinder to the eye, too (obviously I’m no optician, that’s just parental commonsense brain telling me (with absolutely no scientific fact to back it up that a bigger screen must be better for your eyes?).

But how much does that XL screen cost you? Well, the cheapest place we found the 3DS XL for was actually Tesco Direct, where it’s £169 for a choice of colours. That makes it roughly £30 dearer than a standard DS – for me, that’s £30 well spent. The bigger screen makes a good console into a fantastic one.

But! if you can hold out just a little longer to upgrade you can get your hands on 2014’s new 3DS XL models. These include more buttons (including a secondary, smaller thumbstick), improved screen, longer battery life, improved cpu and some snazzy new special edition ones, including an NES style console, Smash bros style and more. You might be able to tell – we love the DS. It’s one of the few consoles these days that are actually worth upgrading. So, what are you waiting for?

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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