back to article Nintendo 3DS

“You have to see it for yourself.” As the 3DS' unofficial marketing catchphrase, that's as good as it gets: an enticement at the most personal level. As the opening gambit to a product review, it's far less auspicious. But that's the reality of Nintendo's new wunderkind. Seeing is the only way of believing. Nintendo 3DS …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screen is tiny

    Look at the enormous bezel around the main screen. Look at the pitiful battery life. You just know that in a year or so Nintendo will launch a "lite" or whatever with a larger screen, battery and other improvements. It seems pointless to buy it now especially when it's so expensive and flawed.

  2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great review, Andrew

    The 3DS itself will never appeal to me, but this is a great review. Personal, hands-on experience described in detail, with enough ancillary information to enable/influence buying decisions. The way it should be.

  3. LomaxFairchild

    Proprietary power connector?

    The poor battery life may not be so much of a problem if it uses a standard connector like micro USB to save you having to cart an extra charger around wherever you go.

  4. David Lucke

    Can't say I'm that tempted really

    I'd love to see what this 3D macguffin is really like, but there's nothing very tempting in the release games, and the handset seems a bit limited. I suspect the next version will be more polished, but there will probably be alternatives by then. Will this be another Wii - an innovative and ground breaking technology demonstrator, but soon to be copied and surpassed by the competition?

  5. James Hughes 1


    "Fortunately, the sweet spot is exactly where you need it, well within the bounds of comfortable handheld use."

    Wow, that was fortunate, or, hold on, could they just have designed it that way?

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      surpassed how?

      not in sales for sure. Gameswise? Debatable. I'm with you on "copied" but I think "surpassed" would require some killer apps....

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Longer arms for the over 40's

      "Bounds of Comfort"?

      Saw the thing at a recent Nintendo roadshow and

      a) the images didn't exactly pop out out me

      b) if you're over 40 you'll need longer arms to find the "sweet spot"

      So a device that's been specifically designed for those between 7 and 39 ?

      When will the 3D fad end?? Please!!!

    3. Elmer Phud

      Another Wii?

      So far, the Wii doesn't seem to have been surpassed in as much as the newer techs need a lot of space to be able to use them. The big bonus of the Wii is that you don't usually have to get up off your seat and look like a twat swatting imaginary flies.

      Anyway - spare a thought for those like my daughter who works at Game -- today she will be faced with all sorts of muppets - and is not allowed to say to the 'But I can get it cheaper at Amazon' for the 50th time "Well, fuck off to Amazon then, arsehole, what are you doing here?"

      1. James Hughes 1

        I dunno

        just played with one, and I'm mid 40's and the 3D was surprisingly good. Was only only looking at camera viewfinder, but still was pleasantly surprised.

        Screen is small though compared with the DSiXL.

      2. Lamont Cranston

        A portable gaming device

        aimed at children and younger adults? Good grief, where will this madness end?

      3. Rex Dart


        If your vision stinks, you'll need glasses anyways... I don't see how that's exclusive to the 3DS. And the screen isn't meant to make images "pop out", it gives an impression of depth into the screen.

    4. Rex Dart


      Both, likely, since designs don't always work out.

    5. DrXym Silver badge

      Had a brief go on one

      I went into Gamestop with my kid to have a go. The assistant turned it on and ran some camera app which uses a magic card to make an augmented reality game. The 3D seemed to work but I found it a bit shimmery (possibly the CFL lighting on the ccd) and I could feel my eyes straining as I was watching it.

      I have to admire the assistant who took one look at my 5 year old kid and recommended we not buy the device. I wasn't intending to but it was still admirable to hear someone in Gamestop recommend against buying something compared to the usual selling up that goes on there.

      @James "Wow, that was fortunate, or, hold on, could they just have designed it that way?"

      Yeah it's designed that way but comments suggest that 3D is too strong and has to be slid right down to more subtle levels. It's like a toaster dial that goes up to 10 when no one ever uses it beyond 3. I also expect that many people will disable 3D entirely and any game that uses the gyroscopic features wouldn't be able to use it either since tilting etc. is right out.

    6. Colin Miller


      The power connector is the same as the DSi. There are USB->DSi chargers available.

  6. Wokstation

    I've had a go on one...

    Tried out the augmented reality with the cards - was technically impressive, and amusing, but my eyes very quickly got tired focusing on the screen (while wearing prescription glasses). The screen-size is also ridiculously small, reducing the appreciation of the 3d effect.

    I'm still to be convinced by all the 3D hype, and certainly wouldn't pay what Ninty are asking for something so small, but it's good to see novel tech out there.

  7. Dapprman

    I tried one in HMV

    And while it might be down to the game, I very much felt ... meh. The 3D worked for me but added nothing of any real value. I think it will be all down to the games as to whether the 3DS is really worth is and so an early adopter I most certainly will not be.

  8. AndyMM

    Running down the ZX81

    The ZX81 had a great keyboard (Compared to the ZX80)

  9. The BigYin

    Business application?

    Take a CAD drawing, generate the 3D model (probably on a server) and have the DS overlay that on to what it can see?

    Might stop people making the turbine hall doors 1m narrower than the actual turbines....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The big bonus of the Wii is that you don't usually have to get up off your seat and look like a twat swatting imaginary flies."

    So, the point of a motion controller is to only have the motion vaguely follow your actual movements, and to be able to pretend to play tennis while lying on your sofa and flicking your wrist every once in a while? To be honest, I can think of a much more fun activity which can be described in a similar manner. The fact is, marketing aside, the Wii's motion control is pretty poor in comparison to the more recent releases - I'm not arguing about playability or marketing but the actual tech has been surpassed by a long way.

    As for the 3DS, the resolution of the screen is disappointing and the 3D pretty much useless unless you are in exactly the right conditions and sit stock still while you play it. If like me and get animated when having "fun" with a game, you'll keep losing focus and moving the device slightly, ruining the 3D effect. As much as I enjoy 3D films, it looks to me like Nintendo have rushed out the glassless 3D before it is really good enough - just to be the first.

  11. Captain DaFt
    Thumb Down

    I might try one

    But I doubt I'll get one. I'm one of those people that gets severe headaches within minutes of viewing so called 3D.

  12. Si 1
    Thumb Up

    Wait for the refresh

    I got my 3DS a day early thanks to sending stuff out too soon, so I've had a few days with mine and I think in a year or so we'll be seeing a refreshed model, just like the DS Lite fixed all the problems of the original DS.

    The 3D screen is quite dull, even with 3D off, especially so in daylight. I could easily see a new model with a brighter screen turning up. Maybe my eyes are too close/far apart but the sweetspot for the 3D is quite narrow and sometimes I find my eyes lose focus during a game (Ridge Racer mostly) even though I don't think I've moved the screen. It's almost like the screen is ghosting or each half of the image occasionally goes out of sync. So a bigger, brighter screen with a better viewing angle would certainly be welcome.

    Then there's the ZX-81 Start/Select/Home buttons. Not only are they almost totally flat and therefore not easy to find by feel alone, they are also quite difficult to press and make pausing a game quite a pain. I keep reaching for the power button instead of the pause button because it sticks out and is roughly positioned where the start button usually is. Thankfully so far I've not killed a game halfway through!

    It would be nice if they could move all the LEDs inside the lid. I had it on the bed next to me last night and I had two LEDs constantly on and a third blinking at me all night. Does it need these all the time?

    The games I've got are good fun (SSFIV3D, Ridge Racer 3D, Pilotwings Resort), and the hardware is mostly there, but my main nagging concern is how the 3D can actually be used to make unique games. At the moment, I don't think it can, especially since there's a slider to turn the 3D off. The DS created unique games thanks to having two screens and a touch screen and the Wii was unique with its motion and pointer controls. The 3DS doesn't appear to offer the ability to create unique gameplay experiences with what it has on board, and I think that could limit its long term appeal.

    All that said, I thought the DS was a dud at launch and look how it succeeded. Only time (and the games) will tell.

    1. noboard

      I like it

      There is a brightness setting on the menu screen, so if the screen looks dark just turn it up. I keep it on the lowest setting and very rarely have to turn it up.

      I think it's a great machine, 75% is probably a fair score, I'd go higher, but that's mainly based on the potential of AR gaming and the fact I love the 3D effect.

      As for a new model coming out soon, don't hold your breath. The DS Lite came out when it did because the PSP arrived and next to the original DS, the fashion brigade would go for the PSP every time, so Nintendo re-designed the DS to look nicer. An XL model is likely to come out once the price of the screens drop to a reasonable level.

      Now if you'll excuse me, a volcano has just morphed out of my desk and I have to have words with the dragon steeling my pen.

  13. Carol Orlowski

    Does it have

    a parental lock on the 3D effect, so it can be turned off to prevent it damaging youngsters eyes?

    Everyone I know that has tried a 3DS has been less than impressed, and it no way lives up to the hype.

    1. Colin Miller
      Thumb Up

      yes it does

      as title. I also think it has time locks as well. Haven't explored the options in depth tho.

  14. Toastan Buttar

    A nice effect

    Had a shot of Pilotwings in Game over the weekend. Whilst the depth effect is pleasant, I found you had to keep the console unnaturally still to fully perceive it. On a game like Pilotwings, you automatically 'ride' with the vehicle and that makes the 3D effect break up.

    We've had all sorts of Gameboys over the years from the Pocket, through GBA, GBA SP, DS, DSi. I very much doubt we'll splash out on one of these, though. Think how many cans of beer that'd buy instead. A far better route to headaches and blurry double-vision.

  15. Simon B
    Thumb Up

    all the tactility of a ZX81 keyboard - nice!

    '... the Select, Home and Start buttons are housed in a membrane bar with all the tactility of a ZX81 keyboard.'

    Made me smile! a very well written article and an interestign read. :)

  16. famousringo

    One more battery test, please

    It's nice to know that 3 hours is as low as it gets, even with all guns blazin', but there's been a lot of talk about the battery in this device. It would have been nice to see another test at minimum settings, to see how long a more conservative gamer could spam hadoukens.

  17. J 3
    Paris Hilton

    Bad Photoshop

    Shame on you, Nintendo... (or whomever made those pictures of the thing) The obligatory Apple-inspired shininess added to the pictures is very badly done.

    Anyway, interesting device, gotta take a look at it sometime to see how it performs.

  18. rcdicky

    Thumbs up from me

    Have only tried Rayman 3D so far but the 3d effect for me is amazing

    Have had friends/work colleagues try it too and all (so far) have been impressed

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    To quote Marvin, I'm seen it and it's rubbish

    My son was pestering me to get one of these for him.

    I went to the Game and they were £220 without any games. Then another £35 for one game then another £25 for the second.

    The effective resolution is a measly 400 * 480.

    You are even ore tied in to the 3DS coffin than with an IPhone.

    At least the games on IPhone are just a few quid and it can do other things as well.

    If it had come out 10 years ago, it would have been good.

    For sad people for who IPhones are not sad enough.

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