People invest a lot of money into their portable electronics. From phones to mp3 players to video game systems, these miniature devices provide us with countless hours of entertainment while we are on the go throughout our busy daily lives. Having had a few portable systems when they first came out, like a GameBoy, I knew the fear of dropped and lost items, and while armour cases do not help with the latter problem, they can assist with the former.
These covers have to take several things into account, such as the location of the camera, the ports you plug the 3DS into and to make sure that they do not inhibit the use of the L and R buttons. I will say that the 3DS XL Crystal Armor looks nice. The graphic printed on the top of lovable Super Mario characters oozes charm. It is bright, colourful and it is visible when the system is closed or open. There is a bottom portion to the case as well that the top portion is hinged to. While this bottom half is not quite as pretty to look at, it helps hold the packaging together while snaking around those important ports that you need access to.
Of course, if the 3DS is open at the time of the drop, the case may not be able to do much for the safety of the screens (but really, you should not be walking around with it flipped open in the first place, right?). When the 3DS is closed, the armour covers most (but not all) of the surface area. The L and R buttons are still pretty vulnerable should the unit get dropped onto a corner. I am not sure what the solution to that problem would be, but it is one of the few areas the case does not really cover.
While this type of case looks pretty, I actually prefer the Nerf brand of armour PDP sells for 2DS and 3DS. They certainly have a stylized look of their own, but they are thicker, they feel better padded for proper shock absorbency and they feel better in my hands. I have fairly large hands, so even though the 3DS XL does fit better than its predecessors, this new Crystal Armor does not really help my grip on the system. The surface is smooth, so there is no real tactile improvements there, and the profile of the system itself is only marginally larger. This could be a good thing, depending on how large your hands are or how you carry your system about. The smaller sized case might allow for easier storage if you use a folio, for example.
The last thing to note is how well the case stays on. The top half remains snugly on the 3DS without any trouble. The bottom one generally does well, but every now and then the corners can tug off depending on how long I am playing it or if my grip on the device changes a lot during play. I tend to move around a lot and shift my position a great deal when I am playing at home on the sofa, and it seems like when I do that, I have a tendency to tug that bottom portion of the case out of place in the process.
The Crystal Armor brand of 3DS XL cases from PDP do a reasonably good job at protecting one of your more expensive investments. It looks great, but for the way I play and the size of my hands, I have used better options for my regular and XL 3DS units.
– Nick H.