Nintendo New 3DS XL

Last updated date: March 27, 2019

Review Melt Score
8.2

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We looked at the top 1 Video Game Consoles and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Tom's Guide, PC Magazine, Wired, Digital Trends and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Video Game Console you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 97 expert reviews, the Nintendo Nintendo New 3DS XL placed 8th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note April 9, 2019:
Checkout The Best Video Game Console for a detailed review of all the top video game consoles.

Expert Summarized Score
7.7
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.3
7,524 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The 3DS XL is the fastest, most powerful hardware available for Nintendo’s 2DS and 3DS games.
- BestReviews
Using the same head-tracking technology as the New 3DS, the New 3DS XL follows the direction, distance and angle of your head to keep the 3D smooth and stable.
- CNET
February 13, 2015 | Full review
However, there are some excellent and unique features like the StreetPass system that lets you automatically trade Mii avatar information with people around you, the pedometer functionality that earns you coins for unlockable in-game items, and the system-level ability to take and save handwritten notes in the middle of a game.
- The Verge
October 1, 2012 | Full review
Maybe it's our review-jaded eyes, but the larger, 4.8-inch screen (just shy of the width of the PlayStation Vita, although slightly taller) seems to make the 3D effect less taxing, not to mention more immersive.
- Engadget
July 10, 2012 | Full review
One fancy addition is the camera facial tracking, which reduces some of the problems associated with image blur when viewing the screen from different angles.
- Tech Radar
April 22, 2019 | Full review
The first thing I noticed was the system's new controls, which include extra ZL and ZR shoulder buttons, as well as an eraserlike C-Stick nub for controlling the camera and performing special actions in select games.
- Tom's Guide
February 20, 2015 | Full review
The New 3DS XL vastly improves the 3D thanks to face-tracking technology.
- PC Magazine
February 4, 2015 | Full review
More comfortable and convenient to play in the home, 3DS XL is a big step along that journey.
- Wired
August 15, 2012 | Full review
The New 3DS also adds a second control stick-like interface on the right side of the unit, eliminating the (admittedly limited) need to own a Circle Pad Pro.
- Digital Trends
February 16, 2015 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Some reports that this console arrives with missing cables.
- BestReviews
For all this, though, Nintendo still hasn't quite managed to address one of the biggest user issues with the 3DS: battery life.
- CNET
February 13, 2015 | Full review
It's somewhat understandable that the controls and screen resolution haven't been altered for the 3DS XL, then, but I'm really disappointed not to see a change in the cameras.
- The Verge
October 1, 2012 | Full review
Unfortunately, the likes of Netflix and Hulu weren't available on our review model here in the UK and overall it's still not as good as it could be.
- Engadget
July 10, 2012 | Full review
Those with big thumbs will find themselves grazing the top half of the unit with the tip of their finger, while the nub's general lack of give can prove uncomfortable.
- Tech Radar
April 22, 2019 | Full review
The New 3DS XL is definitely not flawless — its screwed-in microSD Card slot makes transferring games from old models a pain, and its lack of an included charger is a disservice to first-time 3DS owners.
- Tom's Guide
February 20, 2015 | Full review
It's stiffer and less accurate than the analog pad, and isn't comfortable for precision aiming or quick, precise maneuvers like Smash attacks in Super Smash Bros.
- PC Magazine
February 4, 2015 | Full review
Ultimately the only real problem with the 3DS XL is that it's still built on a platform that seems hopelessly backward in today's gaming market.
- Wired
August 15, 2012 | Full review
Transferring content from an old handheld to a new one is a hassle due to Nintendo’s lack of a unified account system.
- Digital Trends
February 16, 2015 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

THE NEXT DIMENSION IN ENTERTAINMENT. The New Nintendo 3DS XL system combines next-generation portable gaming withsuper-stable 3D technology and added control features. Take 3D photos, connectwith friends, and enhance your gaming experiences with added amiibo support. The New Nintendo 3DS XL system plays all Nintendo DS games. Nintendo DS games will not appear in 3D. AC Adapter sold separately. New Nintendo 3DS XL uses the same AC adapter as Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS and 2DS. 3D Mode recommended for Ages 7+.

Overall Product Rankings

1. PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
2. Xbox One X 1TB Console
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 9
3. Nintendo Switch
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Nintendo Super NES Classic
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
5. PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 8
6. Xbox One S 500GB Console
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Nintendo New 2DS XL
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 9
8. Nintendo New 3DS XL
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 9
9. Nintendo 2DS
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Playstation Classic Console
Overall Score: 6.2
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Video Game Consoles

In the market for a new video game console? If you’re buying it for a savvy gamer, let us save you some time right now: Just ask them which one they want. While the console wars are intense between the three major companies (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo), they’ve managed to keep their products fairly distinct so far. Currently, each company’s system has a rabid fanbase that loves their hardware and games for completely different reasons — and none of them are wrong. It’s about entertainment, after all, and there are more ways to capture someone’s imagination than fantastic graphics and sound.

That said, let’s start by explaining graphics capability quickly. All video game consoles display their games on your existing television by hooking up to it via HDMI or AV cable — although the Nintendo Switch can also display games on its own screen. The processing power of a console has a lot to do with how those games look when they’re displayed on your TV, though it can have just as much to do with the individual game you’re playing. The graphics capability of the TV itself also plays a factor. If graphics is your benchmark for quality, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are far and away the best options. But to truly see the difference, you’re going to need to use them with a TV with 4K capability — preferably one that also has HDR (high dynamic range).

Got one? Great. Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are going to be able to take full advantage of all that resolution. In terms of raw power, the Xbox One X might have a slight advantage here with its 6-teraflop AMD processor and 12 gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM. For those who we lost after the word “teraflop,” allow us to translate: Games on this system look great and run smooth. For that matter, so do the ones on the PS4 Pro. Both systems can even “upscale” older games that were made to display in 1080p resolution, essentially filling in pixels to approximate 4K. And when these systems are running on all cylinders, which is to say playing games that were made in native 4K on an HDR screen, the results are beautiful. That said, graphics capability is reaching a bit of an event horizon. If you’re sitting 10 feet away from a 70″ TV, you might not even notice a difference between the quality in 4K display versus 1080p.

Luckily, graphics are just one feature of a video game system, and they don’t necessarily make the games more fun. Hardcore gamers tend to buy systems based on the games that are available to play. While most games are cross-platform (meaning they can be played on multiple consoles), there are a few exclusive titles that can only be played on certain systems. The PS4 Pro boasts tentpole exclusives, like “Spider-Man” and “God of War.” The Xbox has “Forza Motorsport 7” and “Gears of War 4.” The Nintendo Switch has a lock on popular titles, like “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” while its retro cousin the Super NES comes pre-loaded with “Mega Man X,” “Final Fantasy III” and 19 other classic games.

Speaking of Nintendo, both of its primary consoles have a very distinct appeal. The Super NES Classic features the most games bundled with any of the four major systems: 21 ports of titles that hooked gamers back on the original Super NES. For retro gamers, this is a huge value, and the console comes party-ready with two controllers.

For the Nintendo Switch, it’s all about bells and whistles. While the games play very smoothly, graphics aren’t a primary focus here. What Switch gamers love is its versatility and innovation: The system can be played either on a TV or its own portable touchscreen, and the controllers detach from the screen, allowing them to be used in a dizzying number of different configurations. There’s even a fun series of cardboard add-ons called the Nintendo Labo that can turn the Switch into anything from a walking robot to a laser blaster.

The cost of games on these systems varies, from $60 for brand new titles down to $5 or so for some used or indie games. Increasingly, these can be bought in digital format on the console’s online store, so you never have to leave the house — provided your rig has enough storage. (This is a particular highlight for the 1TB PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.) And if you’ve got games from older versions of these systems, like the PS3 or Xbox 360? You can still play many of them on the Xbox One X. While the PS4 Pro isn’t as compatible with older discs, you can buy upgraded versions of its older titles on the PlayStation Store.

Review Melt Fun Fact

People often think of Atari as the pioneer of home video gaming, and in many ways, they were. The company’s PONG arcade game was wildly popular, and Atari parlayed that success into a home-game version in 1975. But Magnavox actually beat Atari to the punch by three years with its Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercially available gaming console. It even included the world’s first light gun — an innovation that was then unheard of. But it was actually a prototype device called the Brown Box that inspired Magnavox. Created by Ralph Baer in 1967, the system treated those lucky few players that saw it to blocky versions of tennis, handball and ping-pong.

Think your kids spend all day gaming? They’ve got a ways to go to beat Carrie Swidecki of the United States, who at least got in some exercise while setting the record for longest video game marathon. In 2017, she spent more than 138 hours playing the rhythm game, Just Dance 2015.

The Video Game Console Buying Guide

  • Most of the systems spotlighted here won’t come with games you can play right out of the box, although there are bundles that do include some popular titles for an additional cost. The exception is the Super NES Classic, which is possibly the most user-friendly console. It comes pre-loaded with 21 games from Nintendo’s golden age, including “Super Punch-Out!!” and “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” While you can’t buy additional games for that self-contained system, those titles should keep any retro fan busy for years.
  • Game prices vary for the rest of the systems, ranging up to $60 or more for new titles. You can buy physical game discs (or game cards, in the case of the Nintendo Switch) or download them digitally through each console’s online store. Bear in mind that storing the games this way takes up more storage space. Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X pack 1 TB of space for new games and save data, while the Switch has 32 GB of internal storage. In all cases, upgrades are available.
  • Exclusive games are a big draw for any console, and for many, it’s the main reason to buy. Popular titles that are only playable on the Xbox One X include “Gears of War 4,” “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Forza Horizon 4,” “Forza Motorsport 7” and “Sea of Thieves.”
  • PS4 Pro exclusives include highlights like “God of War,” “Bloodborne,” “Detroit: Become Human,” “The Last of Us,” “Spider-Man” and “Horizon: Zero Dawn.”
  • The Nintendo Switch’s most popular exclusives include “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Kirby Star Allies,” “Super Mario Odyssey” and various iterations of the Nintendo Labo add-ons.
  • Once again, consider the TV you own before buying the more graphics-intensive systems (PS4 Pro or Xbox One X). If your television doesn’t have 4K capability, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the console’s main feature.
  • Most homes these days have some form of internet package, but it’s worth noting that it will probably figure into your gaming experience. Apart from the Super NES Classic, all modern consoles incorporate online functionality to some degree. In most cases, you’ll have to sign up for a gaming profile and online membership that will allow you to buy anything from movies to games to enhancements for your existing games. Some games, such as multiplayer shooters, are not even playable offline.
  • Game interface is another frequently overlooked part of the experience. If you’ve played extensively on previous versions of any of these consoles, you probably have a favorite controller. PS controllers tend to be slimmer while those for the Xbox have a fuller, heavier feel. Nintendo Switch controllers can take a little getting used to with their multiple configurations, but are surprisingly intuitive, if small. And many gamers still swear by the simple, two-button elegance of the Super NES.
  • The Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are all powerful pieces of hardware, and you can use them to do much more than just play games. On all three, you can download movies, music or apps, and watch your favorite shows through Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. If physical media is still your thing, you can watch Blu-Ray discs on the Xbox One X, although movie-watching on the Switch and PS4 is limited to downloads or streaming.