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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
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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