Aesthetically, the 3DS XL is almost inarguably an improvement over its predecessor. The 3DS's angular lines have been replaced by smooth bevels on all sides, and its glossy finish has given way to a matte coating that feels supple in the hands.
The 3DS XL does for the 3DS's form what the DS Lite did for the original, "phat" DS. Nintendo's taken the boxy 3DS and turned it into a curvaceous, contoured machine that makes the original look more like a toy than I'd have thought possible upon the 3DS's introduction. Then it looked sleek. Now, not so much.
And all that's despite the garish red and blue colors, though thankfully there's a more elegant grey option available as well.