The Nintendo 3DS has been one of the most hyped products in a while, not only is it Nintendo’s next generation handheld system but it’s also glassesless 3D. The first thing most people will notice about the 3DS is that it physically looks a lot like a regular DS however there a plenty of changes on the system. The top screen is now a wide screen format, a new circle pad is added alongside the traditional D-pad and there is a 3D slider on the right side of the top screen.
The body of the 3DS feels solid, similar to the previous DS. The buttons click down and the d-pad feels like any other DS. The circle pad works really well, it adds a lot better handle on controls. The shoulder buttons also click too so overall the buttons feel good and is an improvement over the regular DS.
The screens on the 3DS have nice look to them, the bottom one is like the previous DS with it’s touch screen. The top screen which is in 3D is widescreen so it looks bigger then the previous DS. The screens are bright and very colorful, the resolution of both screens are both higher then the original DS.
There are three cameras on the 3DS, one front-facing and two rear-facing for the 3D pictures. The cameras are very low in quality and almost always look grainy, but for basic pictures and AR games they are good enough.
The actual interface of the 3DS is a big improvement over the DS the home screen is an expanded version of the DSi’s, players can scroll through the applications and games loaded onto the 3DS. The 3DS comes with a variety of software already loaded a new Mii maker allows you to create a Mii like the Wii, and a new feature called Mii Plaza allows you to use street pass and play a few mini games with your Mii. There are also a few games that come with the 3DS, one is AR Games that allows you to play an augmented reality game using a special card, the other game is FaceRaiders which is a basic shooter that has you shooting at face through the 3Ds camera. Both games are good ways to show of the hardware’s power but they are tech demos so they won’t keep your interest for too long. One thing to point out about the 3Ds software is that not everything is available yet, the virtual console store isn’t accessible yet as is a few other things Nintendo promises will be coming up soon.
The battery life of the 3Ds is probably it’s weakest point, with 3D enabled you’ll probably get about three to five hours, without 3D enabled you’ll get about five hours however this is definitely on the low end of portable devices, although it’s not very big draw back it you will notice the 3DS drain it’s battery much faster then the old DS did.
The 3D is the big draw of the 3DS of course and it does work, seeing games playing in 3D without glasses is definitely an interesting experience. The 3D effect is different for all people, so you’ll have to play around with the 3D slider which controls the depth of the 3D until you find a good spot for you. But when you effect the 3D screen aligned perfectly the effect is really nice.
Overall the 3DS is a good follow up to the DS but it has some issues, mainly it has a relatively short battery life. Also the price of $250 might be too high for many people, especially considering the launch line up isn’t very strong. However it’s a big technical achievement, the first portable system that gives players 3D games without glasses. The 3DS isn’t for everyone at the moment but if you want to experiences glassesless 3D gaming the 3DS is highly recommended.