We know what you've been thinking. We spoke to plenty of you at the time the 3DS launched, who were in love with your DS XLs, yet frustrated with Nintendo for not launching an XL version of the 3DS. For those of us who use reading glasses, the ability to play games without the need for them was something of a sticking point that was preventing many from upgrading to a 3DS - but now, your prayers have been answered, with the reveal of the 3DS XL. With screens around 90% larger than the usual 3DS, the 3DS XL is to the 3DS what the DSi XL was to the DS Lite – bigger, bolder and easier to read, with the added bonus of an improved battery life over the original 3DS design (which, as we found out when we tested it's battery life, wasn't all that great). As is becoming Nintendo handheld tradition, the 3DS XL is launching in a choice of three colours – silver, red and blue, all (sadly) with dull black accents.
Thankfully, the bigger screen doesn't mean we'll be carrying a massively bulky system around with us though, as the rim around the top screen has been reduced somewhat, making the whole system only about 46% larger in total. And while a larger screen usually means larger power consumption, Nintendo have remedied the problem by building in a more heavy duty battery for the XL, giving you an extra couple of hours of playtime for both 3DS and DS games. Finally, still sticking with the theme of bigger is better, the 3DS XL will come bundled with a larger 4GB SD card for storing your downloaded games, photos and other data on.
Seeing as Nintendo admitted making a misstep before when they priced the 3DS too high, they're making a very conscious effort this time round to not run into the same problems again. So that they can keep costs down a bit, they've decided to omit both the charger, and the plastic cradle-y thing from the 3DS XL bundles, as they're imagining that the majority of adopters will already have a plug from either an old Dsi/DSi XL/3DS system that they can use. Although if you're planning to start your Nintendo game journey at the 3DS, you'll need to shell out for an extra charger pack that'll be sold separately in the same stores as the 3DS XL system.
You won't have much longer to wait for a bigger 3DS either, as they're launching across Europe next month, on the 28th of July – just in time for taking on that relaxing holiday you have planned. Launching alongside the monster handheld are two games that'll really make the most of the new larger screens - New Art Academy, where you can learn real-world drawing and painting techniques to create your own virtual masterpieces, and Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!, which lets you bring your very own crazy creatures to life and take them on a little adventure are both hitting stores on the 28th of July too.