I received a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas and I have quickly become enamored with it. I am not surprised at the excellent build quality as that is what I have come to expect from Nintendo. The Streetpass functionality is a bonus for me and I find myself taking my 3DS everywhere in case I run into someone else with one which seems to happen quite often.
I can’t comment on the difference in size compared to the 3DS as I do not own the original 3DS, I can see why someone would want a smaller handheld to carry but the 3D is beautiful on the large screen in games like Ocarina of Time and New Super Mario Bros. 2 and I think the large screen helps with that. Amazingly the 3D adds a sense of depth that I didn’t know I was missing.
The camera is a little lacking but I honestly don’t care as I didn’t want one for photos and I always have my smartphone with me anyway. The Nintendo E-Shop offers retail games for download which is very forward thinking on Nintendo’s part and quite welcome.
The reports of a dedicated gaming handhelds death are greatly exaggerated. I prefer a dedicated handheld for mobile gaming, virtual controls will never beat the feel of d-pad, analog stick or buttons, period. If you don’t have a handheld but are interested in gaming on the go I can’t recommend the Nintendo 3DS XL enough.