Pros: 3D effect, new games, compatible with regular Nintendo DS games
Cons: Price, underpowered web browser, not everyone can see 3D, battery life
The Nintendo 3DS is the latest portable Nintendo video game system and is the sucessor to the wildly popular Nintendo DS. Overall at this point in time though I think most buyers would be better off sticking with the regular Nintendo DS instead of purchasing the latest one.
The Nintendo 3DS costs $250. Compared with similar products a 32GB iPod touch costs $299, the 8GB iPod touch costs $229, the PSP (original) costs around $150 these days rough estimate, DS Lite costs $99, DSi costs $150 and the DSi XL costs $170. For home consoles the Wii costs $150, the XBox 360 costs $199 for the entry model and the PS3 costs $299. The upcoming PS Vita will lauch at the same price as the 3DS for $250. In comparison I paid $120 for a DSi last year brand new on sale, putting the 3DS at more than double the cost of my DSi purchase.
Bottom line is the 3DS is ovepriced no matter which way you look at it. Nintendo said they intentionally overpriced the console based on the reaction to it when it was first shown at E3. You can purchase an entry level Xbox 360 home console for less than the cost of the 3DS and you can purchase an 8GB iPod touch for less than the cost of it. You can also purchase a Wii system for less than the cost of the 3DS. The 3DS has less functions than the iPod touch and does not do things as well as the touch does. Anyways on to talk about the actual system instead of comparing it to other products on the market.
The Nintendo 3DS is a portable console similar to the Nintendo DS, but it is not another iteration of the regular DS, it is a whole new console with an entire new games library, games that cannot be played on the regular DS. The system has 2 screens, the top screen is a bigger, widescreen top screen and the touch screen is about the same size as the DS's touch screen. The top screen is bigger and wider than the touch screen. So you have one tiny screen and one big screen. It also has an analog circle nub/pad, a D-pad and the other standard butons such as L + R and ABXY. The 3DS is compatible with regular DS games, which is one of its main selling points and uses. If you purchase one and haven't previously owned a DS then you will definitely be getting a lot of use out of the 3DS due to backwards compatibility.
The biggest selling point of this system is the glasses-free 3D effect. The 3D effect can be turned off and you can play the games in regular 2D. There is a slider so you can control the intensity of the 3D. In my opinion the 3D effect does not work very well. You have to be in the system's sweet spot in order to see 3D. You also have to adjust the slider so you can see it. When you are playing a handheld system it is normal for your hands to move around while playing it, this is a problem since you lose the 3D effect as soon as your hands start moving around. Personally I have not been able to see the 3D effect yet. Other people can see it but I cannot. The only thing I can see is blurry images and the screen stretching back and forth when I move the slider. When I look at the screen with the 3D slider on I can feel eye strain and a headache coming on in as little as 60 seconds. There is a percentage of the population who cannot see 3D so I would make sure you can see it before buying this system, otherwise the purchase is a waste and you are stuck with a $250 system that you can only use halfway and with the main feature unavailable to you.
As recommended by the packaging children ages 6 and under should not play with the 3D effect on at all. This is because there is a possibility it can damage their eyes because their eyes are still developing. There are parental controls in the systems menu's that allow you to lock out the 3D so it never gets turned on due to this. However most kids under 6 will probably be very tempted to use the 3D so if you have young kids in the house this is a consideration that must be made.
The 3DS has some other features. The system has a web browser but the web browser barely works with most modern websites, redering it pretty much useless. This is not what I expect of a device made in 2011, I expect the web browser to actually work. Other mobile devices can run a web browser just fine but do not expect to be doing much web browsing at all on the 3DS. The browser also cannot handle any video's at all and you cannot watch youtube videos on it.
Streetpass is another much touted feature of the 3DS that is largely useless. What it does is when you carry the 3DS around it attempts to exchange information with other 3DS users that you pass in your travels, who are also carrying a 3DS. The information exchange varies but you can set up certain games to exchange information. In order to use this mode you must come physically within about 30 feet of another 3DS. Again, you can turn off this mode if you so desire. Its very diffcult to get any hits on streetpass because no one around here carries their 3DS around making this mode effectively useless. I don't know anyone who would constantly want to carry this system around either especially keeping it turned on, so the chances of contacting someone via streetpass is very slim. The only time it would be useful is if you are going to an anime convention or a convention like Comic Con, where everyone uses streetpass. Perhaps if you live in a big city with a large gaming population you might get some hits.
The system pretty much requires wifi internet access, you will need wifi to update the system and to use the web browser feature. There is also a downloadable game shop right on the 3DS. The shop features gameboy classic games, a few games redone in 3D and entirely new games. It is a lot like the Wii shop and the DSi shop. If you want to use this shop you will have to have wifi internet access. There are public wifi hotspots but from my experience the 3DS does not connect to them well, I haven't found one in my area that it would connect to, and I tried a lot of them, so if you don't have a wifi connection in your home that is compatible with the 3DS then you probably won't be able to use it on wifi at all.
The battery life of the 3DS is alot less than previous Nintendo DS iterations. The DSi has at least an 8 hour battery life but the 3DS has a battery life of only 4-6 hours. The DS Lite has a 12-15 hour battery life. This is really short battery life for a system that costs as much as it does.
Now we come to the games, which is the main reason we are all considering buying a 3DS. It is a gaming system, so naturally you will be purchasing some games for it. The games are purchased at retail stores and come on cartridges similar to regular DS games. The 3DS is backwards compatible with most Nintendo DS games. The games it isn't compatible with are the ones that require use of the GBA slot such as the Guitar hero games (which uses a special controller that goes in the GBA slot). It also won't be compatible with pokemon transfers from GBA games in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver since there is no GBA slot on the system. Aside from this it should be compatible with the rest of the Nintendo DS library. The Nintendo DS library is very large and has games for almost everyone with a wide representation of game genre's. Nintendo DS games range in price anywhere from $5-$40 depending on the title purchased. Many games can be purchased used for very cheap prices with no noticible different in purchasing a used game vs a new game. Most games will be around $20-30 if purchased in a retail store but prices go down a lot if you purchase online and purchase used.
3DS games cost a little more at $40 each, and it is harder to get discounts on them since they all pretty much retail for $40 each. You won't see $5-10 games for quite some time Most of the games at this point are remakes or ports of games that are already out in some form. I don't think 3DS games are worth $40 each but that is just my opinion. Another thing is a lot of the games on the 3DS release list are the same titles that are available on the DS, they just cost more money!!! I am talking about games like Purr Pals and Imagine fashion designer and other 3rd party games. Why not just buy the DS version for a cheaper price? Is the added 3D effect really gonna be worth a significant price increase for these games? Legend of Zelda ocarina of time is out for the 3DS which is probably the best game out for the 3DS at this point but that is just a remake of the N64 title. I believe you can also get this game through the Wii downloadable service on the Wii console. Another decent game is Pilotwings Resort but Pilotwings is a rather short game for the price. This won't be an issue if you have never owned a DS system, but if you already own a DS system then you are probably better off waiting until the 3DS comes into its own game-wise before you buy it.
The game's graphics are improved over the 2D graphics of the regular DS. The regular DS can do 3D graphics about as well as the original Playstation can but there aren't that many games that use graphics in this way for the regular DS. Most of the regular DS games are in 2D or what I like to call pseudo 2D which is 2D with slight 3D graphics. With the 3DS the games do look more modern and compete with graphics similar to the PS2 and Gamecube however the graphics aren't up to the standard of PS3 and Xbox 360 yet.
Like the original DS the 3DS games can be played online, depending on the game. Not all games have online play built into them. You can play original DS games online just fine on the 3DS as well. There aren't a lot of 3DS games that have online play at this moment.