New 3ds XL first impressions in 2022

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written by owen on 2022-May-03.

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I have never used a Nintendo DS/3DS personally but when one went up for sale I jumped at the chance.  It is a rare device in my circle. I have always thought of portable games as "kiddie", shortened and simplified experiences.  But with the e-shop closing and the rarity of the "New" version I said why not.  If I had a choice I would have bought the super nes or a white version but one I got was fine.  Locally there is not a tonne of choice when it comes to these things - so I grabbed it while I could.

The system was released in Japan on October 11, 2014. I love old tech because its cheaper and you pretty much know exactly what you are getting - unlike when you buy a ps5 and spend 6 months playing Fifa + Ratched and Clank. I purchased this one for roughly 120 USD with 2 games. This whole setup and library of games is brand new to me.

First Impressions

  • This screen resolution is super low.
  • the UI transitions are a bit abrupt
  • This UI buttons are not sleak.
  • the 3d feature is giving me a slight headache.

Interacting on the lower screen and not realizing that things are happening on the top screen is a new experience.  And I have not even played a game yet.  Still just fiddling around with the UI and going through the settings.

I did not get a SD card wth my purchase so I will have to buy one.  I hopped onto the Eshop, tried to download something but no SD card so no go.  I watched the StarFox 64 trailor in 3d which was interesting but I still had the headache.  Hopped out of that to adjust the brightness of the screen then I realised that the 3ds could only suspend one thing at a time which is ok.  Then I hopped into youtube which luckily still works and watched a few 3d videos.  The 3d video is interesting but the internet browser is definitely too slow - or maybe the youtube web page is bloated.  Probably a little bit of both.

Next I went into the theme library which also required an SD card.  After I did some research online I discovered that system came with an SD card which makes not having one my fault.  I had a 4gig SD card and I screwed off the very flimsy back plate, inserted the card, turned on the system, didnt work, no card found, went online, did some reading, then realised that I need to put the card down further into the system because it is actually spring loaded.  The card then worked, downloaded a few free themes but they all seem to clutter the interface so I switch back to the default gray/silver.  A pure black theme might look nice - might be the low resolution but everything looks very muddy compared with the screens we have in 2022.


The circle pad is weird and the Dpad is positioned too low for my liking.  Adding the weight of the XL console I am already experiencing hand cramps.  I can probably get accustomed to the circle pad but Dpad is going to be tricky.


Overall its a fun little device.  The worst part is its low resolution.  The XL is a tiny bit but the bigger screens make up for that.  There is no room in my life for extra toys so my plan is to only play GBA games on it and maybe the odd 3ds game. It will be interesting to play these games on a portable without having to wait until the livng room television is free.

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