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Saturday, June 23, 2012

3DS XL coming August 19

Nintendo has announced the 3DS XL will launch in the U.S. on August 19, 2012, with a MSRP of $199.99.

Some brief specs:

top screen - 4.88 inches
bottom screen - 4.18 inches

battery life:

3DS XL - 3.5 to 6 hours

3DS - 3 to 5 hours

3DS XL will come with a 4GB SD card.

Hmmm. We can't say too that a 3DS "refresh" comes as too much of a surprise, can we? This is pretty much in line with Nintendo's business practice with the DS, and Gameboy handheld consoles. But it is a bit, I dunno, disappointing that they didn't add a 2nd analogue nub? This is the exact same rabbit hole/slippery slope that Sony fell into with the PSP. Maybe they are as stubbornly going to stick to their course with the 3DS as Sony did with the PSP, refusing to add a 2nd nub. And unless Nintendo makes a Circle Pad Pro XL, so much for using that accessory with it....

I know that there are very few games that are even Circle Pad Pro compatible. But if Nintendo had built a 2nd analogue nub into this 3DS "hardware refresh", they would be telling developers to port or make new 3DS games that are truly 2nd analogue stick compatible. If you wanted to play those games on an old 3DS, get the Circle Pad Pro. It's not an ideal solution but it's better than this: doing NOTHING.

At this point, I'm most concerned about the top screen line scratch issue. There appear to be only 2 *small* bumps at the top of the top panel that are supposed to keep the top screen from touching the bottom screen border. Small being the key word. I *pray* that Nintendo actually REAL WORLD TESTED the bump height to confirm that it's enough to keep the screens from touching. I don't have that much faith in Nintendo's designers.

I'm surprised the analogue nub & buttons placement looks exactly the same distance from the middle hinge as the smaller 3DS. I'm worried that reaching the analogue nub might be harder with the larger size of the console. The bottom left corner of my regular 3DS jams into my palm while I hold it, but with a larger size console, I don't know how my reach would be, or if during real-world use, it will be an issue at all. It just seems like they should have moved the nub, D pad & face buttons down a little bit, since there is all that extra space there.

Looks like the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom left corner, like the original PSP placement.

The 3 bottom screen buttons look better, we'll have to see.

Ok, I'm going to call out the BIG LIE right here and now: Nintendo has said that the 3DS XL will have "slightly better" battery life. People are going to run with this throwaway statement and assume the battery life will be significantly better. I'm going to just call that out as a LIE. I'm betting the difference will be either minimal or NONE. This is one of those gaming industry lies that are so obvious even the company saying it doesn't really believe it, yet it gets passed along as truth. There, I said it.

When Nintendo announced the DSiXL, I was pretty much baffled. hell, at first I literally thought it was a joke. But I have changed my tune somewhat since then... I can understand why people would want it-- not just really old people either, as I originally surmised, hehe-- but gamers who want a bigger console to grip as well as the larger screens. Some people are huge fans of the DSiXL size.

And one of my issues with the 3DS is the screen size, it should have been larger. It looks so small compared to even my PSPgo screen which is larger! It doesn't help that the 3DS black bezel is so huge around the screen. So the 3DS XL is a big improvement on that front.

I don't love the rounded top panel, but it's not a dealbreaker. Another thing people get wrong is assuming these white background pictures are how the console looks like in real life. These are NOT actual photos.... they are so touched-up that they're more like illustration than an actual real life picture. That includes colour tints, the actual colours will look quite different than what's seen on these illustrations.

So the screen size is the biggest draw for me, I will have to see it on display before I can make up my mind about it. Even with the original resolution, that screen could be gorgeous.

At this point, I kinda want one, but I think I'll wait for a price drop?


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