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In-Depth: Nintendo's 3DS Specs And Features
In-Depth: Nintendo's 3DS Specs And Features
September 29, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

September 29, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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    14 comments
More: Console/PC



Alongside its announcement today of a Japanese release date and pricing for its new 3DS handheld, Nintendo also rounded up detailed specs about the device and its functionality.

While prior editions of the DS have shipped only with an AC adapter for charging, the 3DS will come with a "recharging cradle" as well. It also includes a 2GB SD memory card and, for games with augmented reality features, six AR cards -- physical cards the 3DS can visually "read" and translate to in-game items.

As the company has previously outlined, the device itself allows for 3D on its upper screen only, and the effect can be adjusted with a depth slider or turned off entirely. The built-in stereo camera has two external lenses, allowing users to take 3D pictures and view them on the device "on the spot."

The hardware incorporates a new circle pad for analog directional control, and an internal gyro sensor that has applications in game controls as well. The included stylus, for the touch controls, is "telescoping" and is 4 inches long when fully extended.

The 3DS weighs about 8 ounces, and is 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long and 0.8 inches thick when closed.

The top LCD screen, the one that enables 3D without glasses, is 3.53 inches wide with an 800 x 240-pixel resolution -- 400 pixels allocated for each eye, Nintendo says. The system's two speakers are positioned to either side of the top screen.

The touch screen is slightly smaller at 3.02 inches with 320 x 240-pixel resolution. As for the camera, it has a resolution of 640 x 480, or 0.3 megapixel resolution. The company didn't reveal details on the internal lithium iron battery or its life, noting them as "TBA".

The 3DS has two new online features that work while it is in "sleep" mode -- with "SpotPass", it can automatically detect Nintendo Zone access points and "certain wireless access points" and use them to automatically retrieve information, game data, promotional downloads and other items without the need for input from the user. "StreetPass" can communicate with other users' hardware while asleep, and Nintendo says it can transmit data for multiple games at the same time.

The device's home menu, web browser and notification functionality can be used without turning off gameplay, Nintendo notes. Pre-installed software that ships with the device includes the camera interface, "3DS Sound", the download service for game purchases, Mii Studio and a "Mii Plaza" feature that works with StreetPass.

The 3DS also features parental controls that adults can use to block kids from playing games not rated for their age or from freely using the web browser.

As for wireless ability itself, it's 2.4 GHz band, and can connect to local wireless points or LAN points. Nintendo says it will support IEEE 802.11 with WPA/WPA2 security. Wireless communications can be turned off at any time, even during gameplay.

Nintendo says users can transfer DSiWare they've previously downloaded to the 3DS. However, the company specifies that the number of permissible transfers is limited, and some software can't be transferred at all. The 3DS can run DS and Nintendo DSi software; its game cards are the same physical size, and are limited, at least at launch, to 2GB capacity.


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Comments


Ian Fisch
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There's no way the top screen can be 800x240.

Chris Melby
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LOL! I'm laughing at you. :)

Merc Hoffner
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It uses asymmetric pixels with a 2:1 aspect ratio (quite uncommon). Moreover, to avoid jarring chromatic ringing as you pass horizontally through the 'sweet spot' and to make manufacturing easier, the RGB subpixel elements must be arranged vertically instead of the more typical horizontally. This gives the 3DS's top screen the rather odd property of having sub-pixels arranged in a 2:3 configuration instead of the more typical 3:1. This means for anyone interested in using sub-pixel raster techniques for improving visibility of fine features (such as sub-pixel features of minute text in a web browser), the 3DS accommodates you with a much less asymmetric sub-pixel arrangement than ordinary screens.

Chris Melby
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Now my brain hurts!

Merc Hoffner
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Wicked. Now the remaining screen questions are if Nintendo is using an absorptive or more novel back-reflecting parallax barrier (the latter would theoretically double the power efficiency of the backlight); if the barrier is printed then is it uniform or tuned to offer an optimised sweet spot; how many alternating sweetspots are there and how wide are the cross talk zones; is the front facing camera precisely aligned to the screen and if so how low level have eye tracking considerations been made in hardware and software to allow for sweet spot tracking and correction and perspective correction?

David Brady
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It is. It's a 400x240 resolution display for each eye.

Paopao Saul
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I think its possibly 800x240 for each eye, interlaced, with a 800x640 total pixel count.

Benjamin Marchand
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And still a 20-years old external design ...

Merc Hoffner
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???



Do you mean Game and Watch? That's 28 years ago anyway!

A W
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So the design is the problem?

Benjamin Marchand
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No no no don't make me wrong :)

Nintendo is pushing high up their stakes on this.



But this external design ... come on :/

A W
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I can't wait till this thing hits the market... It sounds like its going to be a mini console for the experienced player (I hate the hardcore term). Maybe if Nintendo splits the gaming styles found on the 3DS against the gaming style found on the DS line, they can still sell the DS line for a little while longer while they push the 3DS for the older crowd. Thats way the 300.00 price tag won't seem so steep for the gamer that just wants that bargain bin gamer console. Once production cost come down, they will be able to replace the DS much like how Apple ends up replacing the older lines after a while of circulation on the newer model.

R G
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Will this 3DS also have the internet capability? I haven't bought a handheld since the first DS, but I did like how the DSi had internet, and a smooth interface at that.



The $300 price tag is steep though...Think I'll be waiting this one out.

David Hughes
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What I'm actually really interested in would be the processors in the case. Just how accurate are the leaked specs from a few days ago? Or, are we going to have to wait post-launch to find out?


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