Nintendo 3DS Gaming Console Review

When first taking a 3DS in your hands, the impression is similar to holding a classic DS, although slightly heavier. However, if the immediate handling does not differ from that of other portable Nintendo handhelds, players can marvel upon discovering the size and quality of the top screen, meant for displaying the famous auto-stereoscopic 3D.

System Software

The system software of the Nintendo 3DS is based on a set of preinstalled applications. New applications can be downloadable and old ones can be updated with regular system updates that can be made at any time as long as the player has access to an Internet connection. The preinstalled applications are:

  • Health & Safety Information
  • Nintendo 3DS/DS Game Card launcher
  • Nintendo 3DS Camera
  • Nintendo 3DS Sound
  • Mii Maker
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza
  • Nintendo eShop
  • AR Games
  • Face Raiders
  • Swapnote
  • Nintendo Video
  • Activity Log
  • Download Play
  • System Settings
  • Save Data Transfer Tool
  • Netflix
  • Nintendo Zone

Console Specs

Dimensions (closed): 5.3 inches x 2.9 inches x 0.8 inches
Weight about 230 grams
Top Screen 3.52-inch widescreen
Higher screen resolution 800 × 240 pixels
Lower Screen 3.02 inch touch screen
Lower Screen Resolution 320 × 240 pixels
Interface and Accessories
Ports a cartridge port capable of receiving DS games, DSi, 3DS and an SD slot
Controls and buttons touch screen, directional pad, analog stick, motion detector, 3D slider to calibrate the 3D display
Cameras 3DS incorporates three cameras: one inside, two outside, each with a resolution of 640×480 or 0.3 megapixels
Audio stereo speakers, audio jack for headphones
Autonomy and connectivity
Wireless connection 2.4 GHz / 802.11 Wi-Fi
Memory: basic, supports a 2GB SD card
Battery Lithium with an autonomy estimated between 3h and 5h, depending on the game or the 3D calibration

3D Screen (available on the top screen only)

The intensity of the 3D display can be adjusted with a dedicated button, placed on the right edge of the upper part of the console. While using the slider, player will find that 3D appears very naturally and provides striking a sense of depth. Indeed, it does feel like we are looking through a window into another world. However, the effect wears off quickly with the slightest movement of the head, and when playing in unstable conditions (bus, subway, car, etc.), the player will have to regularly adjust the level of 3D, or even turn it off completely to obtain a traditional display.

The Lower Screen

The lower screen on the other hand meanwhile quite similar to that of the DS Lite, even if the resolution is significantly higher. From this screen, we discover the Select, Home and Start buttons, from left to right. The Home key can also accessed at any time to reach the console’s interface and even surf the net to read guides and walkthroughs during paused games. For the rest, the key layout is similar to that of any other DS, the A, B, X and Y buttons being placed to the right of the touch screen, right above the button start, while the D-pad, always comfortable, occupies the lower left part corner of the handheld.

The stick

Only second to the introduction of the 3D display in terms of innovation, is the introduction of the directional stick, located above the D-pad. While at first players may feel a little nervous in regards to using it, most will realize within seconds that the famous stick is just as pleasant to use as it is frighteningly accurate. The resistance to movements that it provides is ideal, and most will end up neglecting the d-pad in favor of the analog stick.

Motion recognition

Like the iPhone, a feature that has become essential to the 3DS is the motion detection. Indeed, thanks to the gyroscope, it is possible to recognize the player’s movements and adapt them to the game as commands. For example, in Steel Diver you can rotate the periscope of your submarine by tilting the screen and in Super Monkey Ball, you can tip the game in every direction by tilting the console. Functionality to remain interesting although, unfortunately, constantly moving the screen will affect the 3D perception. It is therefore preferable to play games operated via the motion recognition in the traditional 2D mode.


To conclude, featuring a design extremely similar to that of the DS Lite, the console emphasizes the ease of use rather than the aesthetic. With two screens of excellent quality and a pleasant handle of the keys, the console gives an impression of reliability, with a strong and pleasant plastic touch. The only regret is an improper coordination between the 3D display and the motion recognition system.