Nintendo 3DS handheld games console (preview)
Nintendo's latest handheld will launch in Australia on March 31 for $350
- We like the 3D slider, the 3D effect is fun and novel, it's a bit cheaper than we were expecting
- The 3D effect isn't always great and only works when you're viewing the 3DS from the right angle
Nintendo's 3DS is a solid upgrade from the previous model, with more powerful processing and the intriguing novelty of glasses-free 3D gaming. Unless you're a portable gaming tragic we don't see a pressing reason to upgrade from your existing DS, but new buyers should be well served by the 3DS's evolution and expanded games library.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
When we got the chance to play around with the Nintendo 3DS at its Australian launch, we had mixed thoughts about its 3D capabilities. It's the most advanced and most well-rounded product Nintendo's released to date, though, and we're sure it will sell like hotcakes. Delicious hotcakes.
Nintendo 3DS: Design
The Nintendo 3DS is a side-step of sorts from the massive-screened Nintendo DSi XL, but it's a definite upgrade from the slightly earlier DSi. The top screen is the only one that can show 3D — the bottom touchscreen quickly gets smudged with fingerprints, presumably sending your eyes crazy trying to work out 3D — and it's a whopping three and a half inches in size with a widescreen aspect ratio. This may seem small when it's up against a 60in 3D LED TV, but you're able to hold the 3DS right up to your face to see the 3D effects.
Otherwise, the Nintendo 3DS is functionally very similar to its predecessors. The two screen concept is surprisingly easy to grasp and the control layout is similar. There's a nifty new analog control stick — a hat-tip to the Nintendo 64 — which provides a much-needed degree of fine control to 3D games (we mean games with polygonal graphics, not the 3D effect), which we appreciated when playing a demo of Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. There's also a 3D camera setup on the back which takes 640x480-pixel 3D pictures, but you can only view them on the 3DS's screen.
Nintendo 3DS: 3D and 3D games
We played the Nintendo 3DS at arm's length and found the 3D effect added a bit of extra immersion, and the effect got stronger the closer we looked. It's blurry and indistinct unless you're looking at it straight on though, which makes gaming with a couple of friends out of the question. The 3D slider is an excellent touch, allowing players to tailor the effect to their tastes.
After downing a beer or two at the console's Australian launch, we had no problems viewing the 3D at full blast — it didn't make us queasy, and the effect itself was perfectly visible. 3D is a bit of a risky business in the first place, and Nintendo has warned off children under six from playing in 3D, but we think the vast majority of users will find it a pleasant novelty — as long as they're viewing the screen straight-on.
Thirty 3D titles at launch gives Nintendo 3DS purchasers an impressive repertoire to choose from, and we're sure developers will jump aboard the bandwagon quickly. The novelty effect will likely be used to gimmicky effect in some titles, but any number of games is a welcome addition to the already stellar back catalogue of DS and Gameboy Advance games (via Download Play, since the 3DS doesn't have a GBA slot). Augmented reality games are another nice extra.
Nintendo 3DS: Price and conclusion
The Nintendo 3DS will be selling in Australia on March 31 for $349, although it's pegged at $20 cheaper in most stores already. We were expecting Nintendo to sell it for around $400, so the price is fine with us. Sure, you can get it cheaper if you buy it from the US, but you'll be waiting a few days for it to ship and you'll only be able to play games from the US region. To be honest, the high price of games concerns us more than the price of the console.
We think the Nintendo 3DS is a good product — it's an impressively well-rounded gaming device. Our main concern, the 3D effect, can be dialled back or switched off completely. We're keen to get our hands on one and put it through plenty of gruelling 3D gaming tests soon.
In other news, I want hotcakes.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPSenior Service Desk AnalystNSW
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- TPProject Coordinator/Junior Project ManagerVIC
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTIT Information Security AdvisorNSW
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCService ManagerACT
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!!!SA
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- CCSolution DesignerVIC
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- TPSenior Java Developer / DevOps - ContractQLD
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCSOE EngineerACT
- TPSolution Architect - Real-Time Tracking SystemVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW