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Nintendo 3DS XL – unboxing

Nintendo's super-sized third dimensional gamer is in the building. Time to get it out of that box...

Two weeks after the most important convention in the gaming calendar – that’s E3 in case you were wondering – Nintendo outed the supersized version of its 3D handheld, the 3DS XL. And it’s just arrived at Stuff Towers. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to get it out of that box.

The box itself is positively weighty, which we’re hoping is down to all the paperwork inside and not the console itself. Lengthy gaming sessions on a handheld akin to the weight of a brick will not be much fun for your wrists. Oh, and in cased you missed it, Ninty has upped the extra dimensional screen real-estate by 90 per cent.

Phew. It is indeed the XL’s manual that’s weighing down the box. Hopefully, you won’t be needing that – the 3DS XL has exactly the same control layout as its junior cousin.

Nothing else in the box, we hear you say? Yep, that’s it folks – Nintendo isn’t shipping its new console with an AC adapter. It reckons enough people already own one of the previous models to omit it from the box. Arrogant or clever – you decide?

First thing’s first. For the 3DS XL, Ninty’s ditched its predecessor’s shiny, angular stylings in favour of a much more sophisticated-looking curvy matte plastic outer shell. With its silver-and-black makeover, the 3DS XL looks more like a pint-sized business netbook than a child’s toy – and its premium appearance fits in with the look of the forthcoming Wii U.

It’s fair to say the 3DS isn’t exactly the most svelte gadget on the block – and with a name like the XL, the new console is obviously going to be bigger. But the super-sized variant isn’t any thicker around the waistline than the original 3DS.

The XL’s surprisingly lightweight, too, despite the inflated size and misleading weight of the box – and it certainly feels so much more comfortable in the hands.

Pop the 3DS XL’s lid open and you’re faced with a similar set up to the earlier model – analogue and four-way directional pads, buttons and shoulder triggers are all present and correct. Those who were hoping more screen real estate meant a second analogue stick will be disappointed, though – a pretty odd omission, especially since Nintendo’s having to release a super-sized Circle Pad add-on for the XL. The 3DS XL rocks proper physical select, home and start buttons this time round, too.

And gone is the extendable metal stylus, replaced by a non-expanding plastic screen poker.

Fire the XL up and you’re met with glorious 3D, as you’d expect. It’s difficult to tell at this stage whether the 3D looks any better on the big screen (at the same resolution as the original 3DS) – though the larger screen means you can hold it further away from your eyes, which can only help. Rest assured we’ll be putting Ninty’s new third dimensional gamer through its paces, so keep your eyes peeled for a hands-on and full review very soon.

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Stuff Cool List 2012 issue is out now