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(Pocket-lint) - Nintendo has announced a larger version of its 3D handheld games console to be launched in Europe on 28 July. Pocket-lint brought you the news that the Japanese company was to introduce the 3DS XL during E3, but it is now apparent that the games giant decided to wait until afterwards in order to give its Wii U the attention it deserved.

The Nintendo 3DS XL is 46 per cent larger than the existing 3DS, yet the screens are 90 per cent bigger. The original version features a main autostereoscopic 3D screen of 3.53-inches, whereas the new XL will have a 4.88-inch 3D display.

Its bottom touchscreen measures 4.18-inches, over the 3.02-inch equivalent on the smaller 3DS.

Pocket-lintnintendo 3ds xl launched 90 per cent larger screen and coming 28 july image 5

However, while the screens are 90 per cent larger, the console itself is only 46 per cent bigger, thanks to a thinner bezel. The new handheld comes in at 156 x 83 x 22mm when closed.

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Also increased is the battery capacity. When running 3DS games, the 3DS XL offers battery life of between 3.5 to 6.5 hours (an extra half an hour over the normal 3DS). Normal DS software benefits even more, with battery life quoted at 6 to 10 hours (a marked improvement over the 5 to 8 hours quoted for the 3DS).

Although prices for the Nintendo 3DS XL are yet to be announced, we do know that it will come with a 4GB SD card in the box, and will be available in blue, red or silver. However, an AC adapter will not be included as Nintendo expects a majority of its new owners to be upgrading from an existing Nintendo handheld. This, it hopes, will keep the retail cost "reasonable".

UPDATE The reason Nintendo didn't announce a price for the UK is simple, it has decided to let retailers charge what they want (within reason, obviously).

Eurogamer has posted that Play.com was one of the first to list the new handheld console at £179.99, while others are now following suit.

ShopTo is charging £179.84 on pre-order for a console that it claims comes at a recommeded retail price of £199. But Zavvi disagrees; it claims the RRP is £249.99, and its £209.95 price is therefore cheap by comparison.

Unfortunately for UK gamers, the 3DS XL will be clearly cheaper in the US, costing $199 (£128) over there.

Writing by Rik Henderson.