The New Nintendo 3DS XL Review

Nintendo 3DS XL Galaxy Style

Parents often wonder, "What age is the best time to buy a video game system for a child?" and "Do we really need a portable gaming system?" 

For those reading the Nintendo 3DS XL reviews, there really is no simple answer.

 Every child, family and financial situation is different. It is not uncommon for parents to struggle with this decision at the same time as they try to be mindful and monitor their child's access to "screen time."

There are situations where kids need an incentive to work hard at something, some downtime to relax and regroup, or a versatile device to occupy them when traveling on vacations. A portable gaming device, like a Nintendo 3DS XL is perfect for these situations. 

While many families enjoy game play together on a WiiU, there are many great reasons to own a portable gaming systems like the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS XL, too. 

The new Nintendo 3DS XL is a handheld video game system. It is recommended for kids ages 7 and up.  However, kids as young as five can play some of the 3DS games that do not require reading, like Mario Kart 7 and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games

Parents will need to trust their instincts and have an idea of their child's skill level before making a final decision.

The Nintendo 3DS XL can be purchased in red, gray and in the "Galaxy" style. Galaxy style is a blue device with stars on the outside.

In addition to the device, buy an adaptor separately, which is needed to charge the internal battery. Charging cords from a prior generation devices like the Nintendo DS system (2DS, 3DS, DSi) will charge the 3DS XL.

What's The Difference Between the 3DS and the 3DS XL (released February 2015)?

  • If you have already, or plan to invest in video game toys like amiibo characters, the 3DS XL can also utilize these characters during game play. When amiibo toys are placed over the NFC (near-field communication) reader, your child's favorite amiibo characters can unlock different game features
  • There is a faster processor
  • There is an addition of new buttons on the device to enhance game play, such as a C stick and ZL / ZR buttons
  • 3D play has now evolved into the ability for "facetracking."  When a player shifts their eye gaze,  the 3D screen still remains in focus.
  • For those with younger kids, it is stated by the manufacturer that 3D gameplay is not recommended for children under the age of 6.

What Else is Included with the 3DS XL?

For families new to the handheld gaming category, these mighty devices pack a lot of fun into a reasonable price range, especially if you are also deciding between a 3DS XL and a tablet.

While some of these features appeal to older children and adults, with the new Nintendo 3DS XL:

  • Games can be purchased online and stored directly on the device without a need to transport additional game cartridges
  • If the family has a subscription to Hulu or Netflix, kids and adults are able to watch movies on the 3DS XL, which is a great feature for travel
  • There is an included camera to take photos and videos, that is  also good even in low-light situations
  • 3D play can be easily adjusted with the slide of a button on the side of the screen
  • ​The internet can be accessed through a secure wifi connection. In addition to downloading games, users can check email while traveling and use the internet to search for information

    Do You Really Need 3D Gameplay?

    f you only ever utilized 2D gameplay you will not be disappointed. However, if you are that parent who is found on the couch at night playing your child's favorite games when they are fast asleep, then once you experience 3D game play, you will not want to play without it. It is a great feature for kids to grow into with age and experience.  It should be noted, the manufacturer does not recommended 3D gameplay for children under the age of 6. 

    Final Conclusions

    With any new experience and depending upon the child's age, video game play situations can lead to tantrums, obsessions and frustration, especially when parents set boundaries around game play with rules and limits. There are times when kids need entertainment, especially when traveling on a long trip. Or they need a reward and an incentive to work towards after achieving something difficult.

    The Nintendo 3DS XL is a great device that aside from games, can take pictures and access the internet for email and movies. Both kids and adults will enjoy playing one of the many 3DS XL games. There are great parental controls to help monitor the child's use and set limits around game play.

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

    The Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS can be purchased on