Nintendo 3DS Handheld Gaming Console Review

New 3D gaming device adds portability without the glasses

by Phil Conner

Nintendo 3DS in Aqua Blue


  • Portability
  • Adjustable 3D Depth
  • Back Compatibility with DS games
  • 2D or 3D Game Playback


  • Thin Launch Lineup
  • Restrictive Positioning for 3D effect
  • Poor Battery Life

Functional Considerations

Key among considerations for the new 3D Nintendo gaming device is that there are no glasses required. Obviously, the introduction of 3-dimensionality is there to create a more immersive experience – allowing 3D gaming portability.

3D Picture Performance

PilotWings Resort on the 3DSThe picture on the 3 dimensional top screen allows for 400 lines of resolution to each eye. To work without glasses the screen uses a paralax filter that shows a slightly different angle to each eye. To see the 3D image your eyes must be in a specific area in front of the screen, as long as you maintain this position the 3D works well with images seeming to pop out of the screen or appear off in the distance.

If you are prone to moving around during intense moments in games then you will experience one of the problems with this method of glasses free 3D, if your eyes aren't correctly aligned the 3D "breaks" and you lose the effect.

Super Street Fighter 4 on the 3DSThere is a slider on the unit allowing you to adjust the 3D effect until it works best for both you and the particular game you are playing, this is a nice features as everyone views 3D a bit differently and being able to customize your experience is a great idea. Overall the 3D performance on the 3DS is excellent provided you keep your eyes in the proper position and adjust the depth slider to where you are comfortable.


Nintendo 3DS angles

3-D Depth Slider – Allows the user to adjust the 3D image rendition strength.

Backwards Compatibility – Play Nintendo DS games on the 3DS

Motion and Gyro Sensor – The 3DS is motion sensitive and this functionality is used in games, in one of the games we tested you turned your entire body to turn a submarine periscope when searching for targets.

Touch Sensitive Bottom Screen – Use either the included stylus or your finger to control items on the bottom screen.

3D Camera – Allows the user to take 3 dimensional pictures via two externally front facing cameras. It's kind a a "why not" feature. While we're there we'll do this too. The problem, the only way that you can send it to someone is if they have a Nintendo 3DS as well.

Street Pass – Connect with other 3DS console owners through wireless to access some interesting social features that tie directly into many games.

Pedometer – The 3DS keeps track of how many steps you take while it's in your pocket and rewards you with "coins" that be used in some of the included games and Street Pass features.

Nintendo 3DS in Cosmo Black

Key Specifications

  • Top Screen Resolution: 800 X 240
  • Bottom Touch Screen Resolution: 320 X 240
  • SD Memory Card Slot
  • Colors: Cosmo Black, Flame Red, Aqua Blue (our favorite)


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