Nintendo 3DS review

The world's first 3D handheld games console is here. Can the 3DS rule the world of handheld gaming?

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  • It's 3D without glasses!
  • Best DS graphics yet
  • Augmented reality shows potential
  • Sleek looks
  • Reduced price is good!


  • 3 hour battery life is poor

The UK release of the Nintendo 3DS on 25 March 2011 saw Europe welcome the latest offering from arguably the most innovative company in the gaming world.

Nintendo is responsible for iconic household names like Super Mario, SNES and Gameboy all of which have made a massive contribution to how we play today.

But the Japanese company has also been busy redefining the modern medium with its most recognised bit of kit - the Wii, dragging everyone from nine year old girls to 79-year-old grandaddys around the TV to wave a white remote in the air.

Nintendo's current handheld line – the Nintendo DS – has had a similar amount of pull on the public, creating a world where everyone's a gamer. You might be Brain Training on the bus or leaping over spike pits at lunch, either way you're a part of a video game boom (at least in terms of awareness) that's never been seen before, and that's largely thanks to Nintendo.

After such success you might forgive Nintendo for resting on its laurels and, indeed, since the UK release of the first DS back in 2004, the progression of the portable has been something of a slow evolution.

Sticking a couple of extra letters on the end of each edition, with devices like the DS Lite, the DSi and the DSi XL Nintendo made the common alterations; making things bigger/smaller/lighter, adding a camera here and a bit more power there.

Nintendo 3ds review

The core of the DS remained the same though; a book-like, dual-screen handheld with the touch functionality that augments the gaming experience with an extra dimension of interactivity that spawned the DS success in the beginning.

But now, with the release of the Nintendo 3DS, Ninty is having a punt at revolutionising video games for a third time and 'extra dimension' is the key phrase again.

The 3DS originally launched for well over £200 - closing in on £300 in many stores. But after poor sales, Nintendo has slashed the price drastically, and the console can now be picked up for a little over £110.

Nintendo 3ds review

At first glance it looks like a shinier, sleeker version of its brothers and it still has the same dual-screen, touch sensitive set up. This time, however, the top screen boasts the ability to beam your gaming experience in full auto-stereoscopic 3D - that's 3D without the need for a pair of 3D specs.

Nintendo 3ds review

Ok, so the likes of Avatar have already reignited the 3D interest for cinema and Sony's pushing 3D gaming on the PS3 – pricey TVs and cumbersome glasses included - but unassisted, palm of your hand 3D is a completely different and massively exciting prospect.

The Nintendo 3DS has the potential to be a massive stride forward from its predecessors and another landmark product that Nintendo can lay claim to. If it works, that is. We've been working on our Nintendo 3DS review for the last week - here's the verdict...

Tech Specs

Product TypeHandheld Game Console
Battery RechargeableYes
Graphics Controller ManufacturerDigital Media Professionals
Graphics Controller ModelPICA200
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory Capacity4 MB
Maximum Battery Run Time8 Hour
Maximum Battery Recharge Time3.50 Hour
Product Family3DS
Dual ScreenYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card
ColourAqua Blue
Maximum Resolution800 x 240
Brand NameNintendo
Processor Speed133 MHz
Screen Size9 cm (3.5")
Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Standard Memory128 MB
Number of Batteries Supported1
Processor ManufacturerARM
Memory Card Size Included2 GB
Memory Card Type IncludedSecure Digital (SD) Card
Graphics Processor Speed200 MHz
Buttons Direction4-way
Buttons TypeAction Button, Directional Keys, Circle Pad, L/R Buttons, Start Button, Select Button, 3D Depth Slider, WLAN Switch, Home Button, Power Button
Total Number of Cameras3
3D Type3D
Height21 mm
Width134 mm
Depth74 mm
Camera Resolution300 Kilopixel
Memory TechnologyRAM
Camera TypeVGA
Colour Depth24-bit
ManufacturerNintendo Co., Ltd
Product Model2200046
Product Name3DS Handheld Game Console
Product Line3DS
Image SensorCMOS
Manufacturer Part Number2200046
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Introducing the Nintendo 3DS system. Experience incredible gameplay featuring real 3D graphics, with no need for special glasses. Nintendo 3DS is a breakthrough in portable entertainment, a truly cutting-edge piece of hardware. It has to be seen to be believed.

Power SourceAC Adapter
Package Contents
  • 3DS Handheld Game Console
  • Nintendo 3DS Charging Cradle
  • Nintendo 3DS AC Adapter
  • Nintendo 3DS Stylus
  • SD Memory Card (2GB)
  • AR Card(s)
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • Operations Manual (Including Warranty)
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)235 g