Hands-On with the 3DS XL: Entertainment at Large
About a year after the original Nintendo DS debuted in 2004, the company introduced the DS Lite. It was a staggering improvement over the original's design, reminiscent of Apple's best, and sales of the product skyrocketed. The Nintendo 3DS's lifecycle is mirroring its predecessor in at least one way. While it has taken a significant price cut for the handheld to see similar sales, a little more than a year after its release, the 3DS is also seeing its first redesign.
Really, one of the problems was that the 3DS looked too much like the DS. The public perhaps viewed it as another DS iteration rather than its successor. The more curved, yet sleeker nature of the redesigned XL version should help alleviate that.
Some changes are minimal, but welcome. The buttons that rest below the bottom screen (Select, Home, Start) are noticeably easier to press than before. A satisfying click ensures that the 3D slider is turned firmly off should you not want to utilize the feature. Even the circle pad feels tighter and stronger, with the grip being better textured than before to help avoid sweaty thumbs from slipping. Though only a small handful of 3DS games currently use it, it is important to note that this redesign does not include the sought after second analog stick / slider for dual analog control. A 3DS Circle Pad Pro accessory will be available for that purpose, though it's only confirmed in Japan so far.
More obvious changes are made to the casing, stylus, and screens. Ditching the glossy exterior and three-leveled design, the 3DS XL benefits from a cool matte finish (perfect for avoiding those nasty fingerprint smudges). The original's aluminum extendable stylus has been replaced with a static, fully plastic one, reminiscent of the original DS's.
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Writes for a few media outlets, does graphic design work for a few clients, as well as production work for a few studios (all poorly). Believes the best correlation between the words "twilight" and "sparkle" has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.
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