New 3DS has 4.9-inch screen

Nintendo’s launching a new version of its 3DS handheld with a screen almost twice the size of its predecessor.

The 3DS XL will be launched in Japan and Europe on 28 July, appearing in the US on 19 August at a price of $200. It measures 173 millimeters tall and 155mm wide, not far off the size of a small tablet. It comes in three color combinations – silver and black, red and black and blue and black.

The new device’s screens measure 4.9 inches and 4.2 inches across, compared with 3.5 inches and 3.02 inches on the present model. The resolution’s the same, though, so images may be a tad less crisp. One features stereoscopic technology to provide a 3D effect without the need for glasses.

There’s a camera capable of taking 3D photos and videos, as well as Wifi internet access.

The larger size also brings with it a longer battery life – Nintendo claims that it should last more than six hours with 3D games and ten with 2D games.

While the device comes with a 4GB SD card, it lacks an adaptor – Nintendo reckons most customers will own the standard 3DS and therefore have one already.

The company’s also launching two new games designed to make the most of the new larger screens: New Art Academy, a follow-up to Nintendo’s existing DS art game, and Freakyforms Deluxe Your Creations, Alive!: yet another pet game.

Nintendo’s sold more than 17 million 3DSs since the device was launched in spring last year. It didn’t do particularly well at first, although things improved as more 3D games appeared on the market.

Of late, the company’s struggled somewhat as sales of its Wii console have slid, though it’s hoping for a boost from the launch of the Wii U, expected this fall.