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Nintendo's 3DS XL comes with less glare, better 3D performance

The 3DS screen came with 12 percent reflectivity, but that's reduced down to 3 percent in the 3DS XL, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo's new 3DS XL, alongside the 3DS.
Nintendo's new 3DS XL, alongside the 3DS.
Screen capture by Don Reisinger/CNET

Nintendo's 3DS XL might be larger than its predecessor, but the gaming handheld also comes with a few improvements that could make using it a tad bit more enjoyable.

In a recent question-and-answer session with Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata, Takashi Murakami, part of Nintendo's research and engineering department, said he had been working on reducing the glare in the 3DS XL "for quite some time." And it appears those efforts proved fruitful.

"Reflectivity on the Nintendo 3DS was about 12 percent," Murakami told Iwata in the interview. "We decreased that to about 3 percent."

Iwata said his company has been worried about anti-reflection since it launched the Game Boy Advance back in 2001. However, while the topic was broached many times, Nintendo decided against treating screens with anti-reflection "because of the cost." But with the 3DS XL, the company was finally able to justify the cost, and treated "three reflective layers" built into the LCD display.

"When it comes to anti-reflection, this device beats all previous Nintendo game systems," Murakami said.

Nintendo announced the 3DS XL last month. It delivers the same glasses-free 3D experience as its predecessor, but has a dramatically increased screen size. The upper display will come in at 4.88 inches, while the lower screen will be 4.18 inches. The 3DS currently has a 3.53-inch upper display and a 3.01-inch lower screen.

Nintendo said in late June that it'll launch the 3DS XL in the U.S. on August 19 for $199.99. At the time, the company mainly touted the device's large displays and not its other improvements.

However, Iwata pushed his interviewees to find more improvements to the 3DS XL in his question-and-answer session. Nintendo's Shoya Tanaka, another member of its research and engineering department, obliged, saying that the top addition might be the device's improved 3D effect.

According to Tanaka, the 3DS' depth slider has more range, thanks to the LCD increasing parallax, or the difference people view in an object's position along two lines of sight.

That increased range could be important. One of the complaints with the Nintendo 3DS is that the 3D effect, for some users, could be a bit more dramatic. With the larger screen, that should happen.

"In that respect, games that people have already played on the 3DS may make a different impression on the 3DS XL," Iwata said. "I played Mario Kart 7 and Kid Icarus: Uprising and was like, 'Whoa!'"