3DS XL – Trading in, transferring data and big screen 3D gaming

Taking advantage of Game’s trade in deal, I decided to go for the upgrade yesterday and exchange my regular blue 3DS which I got on launch day for a brand new shiny silver 3DS XL.

Since the announcement of the new big screen version of Nintendo’s latest hand held console I’d been considering whether to go for the upgrade or not, undecided whether the extra investment was worth it and unsure about how the increased size would affect the portability of the console. After all, Streetpassing is one of the highlights of the 3DS’ features for me and if I couldn’t continue to carry it around I my back pocket I would be disappointed.

Having previously sampled the impressive larger 3D screen in store and with the temptation of Game’s offer to purchase the new XL for just £79.99 with a mains charger, when trading in of a boxed original 3DS console, I decided to go for the upgrade. And I am pleased to say it was worth it.

The upgrade didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped it would though. As part of the trade in deal, Game are giving you the option to transfer your data to your new console from your old one, before handing it over. Great idea, but the store in which I decided to do the upgrade didn’t have wi-fi, which, unknown to me previously, meant I couldn’t do the data transfer there and then. Fortunately I am able to bring the original 3DS back to the store within two weeks, so I had to pay full price for the XL initially, with confirmation that I would be credited £100 when I bring in my original 3DS back to the store after doing the data transfer at home.

So I got home, connected both consoles to my wi-fi connection and watched as a multitude of Pikmin moved the data from one console to the other. The whole process took about 20 minutes to do and at the end my original 3DS was re-set to factory settings and the SD card inside became assigned to my new console. Not ideal as I wanted to use the new 4gb card that comes with the 3DS XL of course.

Pikmin moving data

For anyone intending to swap to a new 3DS, XL or not, it’s worth noting here that the next stage of the process involves copying the contents of the original consoles SD card onto a PC and then copying the entire contents of that onto the SD card that comes with the replacement console. And make sure you don’t ‘merge’ the folders; you have to delete the contents of the new SD card first, otherwise your new console won’t recognise your important data when you put card bad in your new handheld. I panicked at first as I noticed that all my game progress save data was missing, but the situation was quickly resolved after another attempt though!

With the transfer complete it was time to try out some games. After double and triple checking that my Streetpass, game save data and e-shop purchases, including all my Ambassador games, were all there. I still wasn’t 100% sure! It is possible to re-download e-shop purchases after doing the data transfer by the way, as an important part of this process is the automatic assigning of your existing e-shop account with your new console.

Playing games on the 3DS XL is very impressive and an absolute pleasure. The size of the screen combined with the slider set right up to maximum means you become immersed in the action like never before. Racing around in Mario Kart 7 and flying about as Kid Icarus in Uprising is an even more engaging, exciting experience on the bigger screen. And the image is just as sharp as it was before too.

The big screen isn’t the only improvement over the original 3DS. The new size of the console feels much more comfortable to hold in large hands than the smaller console does. Pressing the L and R triggers is much easier and the new smooth round bottom corners of the console are also a lot more forgiving on your palms. The square corners of the 3DS meant that extended play sessions got a bit painful after a while as they dug into my hands. Not so with the new, if perhaps a little more plasticky feeling, slim feeling, redesigned XL.

There a few other physical changes with the 3DS XL to note too. The buttons feel a bit more ‘clicky’ to me, the 3D slider ‘clicks’ into place at the bottom position, there’s no light to indicate 3D content anymore, and the ‘Select’, ‘Home’ and ‘Start’ buttons are now actual buttons that you push in too. The stylus storage is now on the left side, making it much easier to access quickly and perhaps the thumb slider on my original 3DS was a bit worn out, but the one on my XL feels a little nicer to use too.


If you have the cash, particularly while Game will give you £100 for your existing 3DS, I recommend the upgrade to a 3DS XL. For me the portability is not sacrificed – it does fit in my back pocket! – and the console only feels a little bit heavier than the original. The big screen gameplay, the better battery life and improved playability due to the overall size and shape are all great improvements over the 3DS. All positives that far outweigh the minor negatives in my opinion.

Have any of you got one and what do you think? Much like when the 3DS was released 18 months ago, I do think you have to see the new console to truly appreciate it. I’m looking forward to some Streetpass action on my new toy at Sunday’s Olympic Streetpass event at St Pancras International station. Hope to see you there, and if you want to try out the XL for yourself, come and say hello!


6 Responses to “3DS XL – Trading in, transferring data and big screen 3D gaming”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this… I’m still on the fence about whether to “trade in” but reading this has encouraged me to at least check it out in person! 🙂


    • Wes says:

      Thanks, yes certainly think you should check one out before you decide what to do. I can’t see you not being impressed though!


      • Marc Love says:

        You’re right… I was impressed! Now I need to put a business case together for the missus! 😉

        One thing I wasn’t impressed with was the complete lack of knowledge of the Game staff! They were clueless about the transfer process, first insisting I can just swap the SD card… it was all rather embarrassing and awkward. It ended with them pretty much just saying they don’t offer a transfer service. Worse-still, this was the new Game store in Westfield, Stratford! I even suggested the workaround mentioned in your article and they said they couldn’t do that…
        It’s no wonder they’re struggling… they don’t know their own products! They even asked if the console I owned was the “original 3DSi” (yes, i at the end)… oh dear…

        Sorry, went on a rant there! Long story short:

        3DS XL = Good
        Game store = Bad

        The end 🙂


  2. Great article, thanks for putting it together.


  3. gluxbox says:

    Thank you SO much for writing this! I was able to give my local game store a head’s up on needing WIFI to do system transfers for when the 3DS XL comes out in the USA!


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