Out Soon: Nintendo's Bigger 3DS XL

By Paul Hunter

The big news Nintendo's Direct E3 video stream is the announcement of a brand new super-sized Nintendo 3DS system that will be coming our way on August 19.

Called the Nintendo 3DS XL in North America and Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan, the new version is said to have a screen size that is 90% bigger than the current 3DS system.

Featuring a new, rounder form factor, the 3DS XL updated look is noticeable when compared the older model. The three buttons below the lower touch screen, "Select", "Home" and "Start" all appear larger and more defined, and both the D-pad and face button sides have more rest space for your hands. A side-by-side comparison can be seen below:

Nintendo has said that the top screen measures 4.88 inches and is 90% bigger, while the bottom touch screen is 4.18 inches and is also 90% bigger.

Addressing the battery life of the Nintendo 3DS XL, the company says it will last 3.5 to 6.5 hours when playing 3DS titles (as compared to 3 to 5 hours with the 3DS), and will last 6 to 10 hours for DS games (as compared to 5 to 8 hours for the 3DS).

During the Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime highlighted the Nintendo 3DS XL online features and says the new system will come packed with a 4GB SD card, allowing gamers to immediately start downloading games and videos from the Nintendo eShop.

Nintendo has long been known for releasing their handheld gaming devices in multiple colours, and at launch the company says the Nintendo 3DS XL will be available in blue and red.

To coincide with the release of the Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo will also be releasing New Super Mario Bros. 2, the latest installment in the hit Mario franchise that began on the Nintendo DS, on the same day.

"With the launch of Nintendo 3DS XL on Aug. 19, consumers will be able to enjoy the great lineup of current and upcoming games on an even grander scale. Plus, Nintendo 3DS XL gives owners even more real estate on their screens to enjoy entertainment applications like Nintendo Video and Netflix," said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager.

The Nintendo 3DS XL follows the same evolution we saw with the Nintendo DSi, which had a larger version, called the Nintendo DSi XL, released one year into the handheld system's lifespan.

Wondering how big of a difference a few extra inches of screen real estate can make? From my experience with the Nintendo DSi XL -- a huge difference. Quite frankly, after getting used to the much larger Nintendo DSi XL screens it was unimaginable to go back and play on the Nintendo DSi's smaller screens. I expect the larger Nintendo 3DS XL, with its advanced glasses-free 3D technology, to look even more impressive.

[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]