The trend in the entertainment industry has usually been that of diminishing size: from the Gameboy to the iPods. Nintendo has gone against this industry norm twice now, first with the DSi XL and now the 3DS XL. When I first heard about it I was excited; the screens were larger and the battery was improved. I was now going to be able to see my games in greater detail for much longer and for only $20 more than the original model ($200 vs. $180). After wondering how much the “upgrade” would cost me if I traded in my 3DS to Gamestop at purchase, I began to think how impractical the 3DS XL would be for me.                               

1. It’s Big

     Is bigger really better? To me, the words “big” and “handheld” are like oil and water: they don’t mix well. Handhelds have always been made to fit in your pocket and take with you. I am a gamer on the go. When I have to leave my precious consoles at home to take the metro, bus, train or plane, I pull out my handheld from my pocket to pass the time. The 3DS is about as big as the DS Lite, so it fits perfectly in my roomy pockets, even if it bulges a little. The 3DS XL’s screens are 90% larger and it weighs 46% more. Walking around with it would feel like I have a small paperback novel that weighs like a small rock. The larger screen size would be a hindrance anywhere outside the comfort of home.

2. The Display and Battery Are Not Worth The Upgrade

     Portability issues aside, the larger screen size and better battery sound great. Everyone enjoys watching movies and playing games on larger, sharper screens to feel more immersed and a better battery insures we can game on.
     Member “Oni no Tenshi” brought up a great point in her article “Bigger is Better” about clarity on smaller screens. Oni mostly talked about being able to read text but this logic can be applied to screen clarity in general. A little more than a year ago I bought a Gameboy Micro on eBay for $20 (I never purchased a GBA SP) to be able to play GBA games on the go when I wasn’t able to carry my 3DS with me (I can’t wear baggy shorts every day). The screen was brighter and clearer than any Gameboy model I have ever tried, despite the much smaller size. I can play Final Fantasy Tactics and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and can make out the detail on backgrounds and read the text without straining my eyes. The size of the screen should not matter as long as players can clearly see what they are playing.

     If a better battery is what you’re after, there are other options available for the 3DS. I myself bought the Nyko High Capacity Battery Kit. For $30 I got charge stand and a battery that is double the battery life of the original (for $20 you can get the battery without the stand). Playing 3DS games with 3D, no wireless and power saving mode on I get from 8-10 hours of straight playtime. The only downside to the Nyko Power Pak is that it adds a slight bump to the back of the 3DS and makes it slightly heavier. The weight increase should not be as much as the 3DS XL’s weight increase and the Power Pak does not make the 3DS anywhere as bulky. For $20, you will spend less on a better battery then you would trading in your 3DS towards the 3DS XL at Gamestop.