with the Nintendo 3DS XL here at Comic-Con in San Diego, and its big screen really impressed us. The picture is clearer and brighter than the current 3DS (at least in the dark ballroom where we played Super Mario 3D Land), and the 3D is much better. There is still a sweet spot to get your eyes in, but once you're there, the much larger screen makes it easier to focus in, and the 3D just seems more effective as a result.
There aren't any significant differences to the rest of the device. The control stick, buttons, and other controls all feel like the 3DS. The larger unit might be a little unwieldy for small hands, but the stick and buttons are close enough to the edges that pushing them around shouldn't be an issue. On the whole, the device is more rounded off than the previous system. From the top, while closed, it looks more like a clamshell than a rectangle.
The larger size makes it a very sturdy device indeed. Sitting on the table in front of you, it's almost like a small laptop. The Start, Select, Home, and Power buttons have all lost their white touches, so that top screen just dominates the device. Nintendo's making a serious statement here, and it's that bigger should be better.
We're hesitant to get too hyperbolic about the 3DS XL until we're able to really run it through its paces, but yes, on first touch, it's gorgeous. This is not a device designed to fit in your pocket, though it certainly seems like the best way to play Nintendo's growing 3DS library. Below, you can see a gallery of hands-on pictures (including a PSP comparison -- that's the only device we had in the bag at the time).
The 3DS XL arrives on August 19, so if you were planning to buy a 3DS you might want to wait until then.