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Nintendo unveils 3DS XL with double the screen size

Nintendo is preparing to launch a new version of its popular 3DS handheld console, the company has announced.

The new 3DS, dubbed the 3DS XL - or the 3DS LL in some markets - will boast a larger screen, nearly double the size of its current model. Nintendo has said it is the largest screen to ever be incorporated into one of its handheld devices, with a height of 173mm and a width of 144mm when both screens are flat. Those specs signal it will be more rectangular than the current model, putting it at a similar shape to many of the tablets that are becoming popular gaming devices in their own right.

The 3DS XL will also have a more powerful battery, for up to 6.5 hours of playing time. By comparison, the standard DS can handle only five hours of playing time. As well, it will ship with a 4GB SD memory card.

The device will go on sale in Japan and Europe on 28 July and in the US on 19 August. The company has yet to release European pricing, but it will retail for ¥18,900 (£150) in Japan and $199.99 (£130) in the US.

Including the new 3DS XL model, Nintendo expects to sell 18.5 million units this year, as compared to the 13.53 million managed to move last year.

The Kyoto-based company is also gearing up to release its Wii U, the follow-up to the wildly successful Wii motion-controlled console.