[Nintendo 3DS] Hardware Review

Jul 10, 2012
Orlando FL

Price: 169.99 -199.99 (XL Model) Released 8/19/2012

Intro and History: Nintendo began experimenting with 3D technology in the 1980s. The Famicom 3D System, an accessory consisting of liquid crystal shutter glasses, was Nintendo's first product that enabled stereoscopic 3D effects. Although very few titles were released, Nintendo helped design one – called Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally – which was co-developed by Nintendo and HAL Labratory and released in 1988. The Famicom 3D System failed to garner market interest and was never released outside of Japan.

Despite the limited success, Nintendo would press ahead with 3D development into the 1990s. Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy handheld device and popular Metroid video game, developed a new 3D device for Nintendo called the Virtual Boy. It was a portable table-top system consisting of goggles and a controller that used a spinning disc to achieve full stereoscopic monochrome 3D. Released in 1995, Nintendo sold less than a million units of the Virtual Boy spawning only 22 compatible game titles, and was widely considered to be a commercial failure. Shigeru Miyamoto, known for his work on popular game franchises such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda, commented in a 2011 interview that he felt conflicted about Yokoi's decision to use wire-frame models for 3D and suggested that the product may not have been marketed correctly. The failure of the Virtual Boy left many at Nintendo doubting the viability of 3D gaming. Despite this, Nintendo continued to investigate the incorporation of 3D technology into other products.

The Nintendo GameCube, released in 2001, was another 3D-capable system. With an LCD attachment, it could display true stereoscopic 3D, though only the launch title Luigi's Mansion was ever designed to utilize it. Due to the expensive nature surrounding the technology at the time, the GameCube's 3D functionality was never marketed to the public. Nintendo later experimented with a 3D LCD during development of the Game Boy Advance SP, but the idea was shelved after it failed to achieve satisfactory results. Another attempt was made in preparation for a virtual navigation guide to be used on the Nintendo DS at Shigureden, an interactive museum in Japan. Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi encouraged additional 3D research in an effort to use the technology in the exhibition. Although the project fell short, Nintendo was able to collect valuable research on liquid crystal which would later aid in the development of the Nintendo 3DS.


Height: 2.9 inches (73mm)

Width: 5.3 inches (134mm)

Depth: 0.8 inches (20mm)

Weight: 8 ounces (226g)

Whats in the Box

Nintendo 3DS console

Nintendo 3DS AC adapter

Nintendo 3DS charger unit

Nintendo 3DS stylus

2GB SD memory card

Six alternate reality paper cards (used with camera)

Quick Start Guide




Upper screen: Wide-screen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses. Capable of displaying approximately 16.77 million colors. 3.53 inches display (3.02 inches wide, 1.81 inches high) with 800 x 240 pixel resolution. 400 pixels are allocated to each eye to enable 3D viewing.

Lower screen: LCD with a touch screen capable of displaying 16.77 million colors. 3.02 inches (2.42 inches wide, 1.81 inches high) with 320 x 240 pixel resolution.

One inner camera and two outer cameras. Resolutions are 640 x 480 for each camera. Lens are single focus and uses the CMOS capture element. The active pixel count is approximately 300,000 pixels.

Wireless: 2.4 GHz. Enabling local wireless communication among multiple Nintendo 3DS systems for game play and StreetPass. Enabling access to the Internet through wireless LAN access points (supports IEEE802.11 b/g with the WPA/WPA2 security feature).

Motion sensor and Gyro sensor.

Game Card slot, SD Card slot, Audio jack (stereo output).

Battery lasts about 3-5 hours when playing Nintendo 3DS software, and 5-8 hours when playing Nintendo DS software.

3.5mm stereo headphone​

Controls: The 3DS has 6 buttons that are used for game play along with a Circle Pad and tradition D pad as found on every Nintendo Portable console since the Gameboy in 1989. Once you open the 3ds you have your y,x,b,and a. On the top you have and L and R buttons as well. Located under the bottom screen you have the select, start and home buttons. The Home button is used to suspend software and get back to the main load up screen. You also have your 3d slider button located on the top half of the console which is used to adjust the 3d aspect on the top screen.

Software and Applications: Once you load up your 3ds you see a main menu similar to the Wii. If you own a Wii you'll feel very familar with this setup some of the apps you'll see are, Health and warning notification, Mii maker, Activity log, Settings, AR games, Download play and eshop. You'll also see you download apps here as well I currently have Netflix, Swapnote, Nintendo Video, and 2 Demo games. On the top part of the bottom screen you have you a couple of things you can access and adjust. This is from left to right:

Screen brightness adjustments, Menu adjustments, Game Notes, Friends list, Notifications (Which can include swapnote updates, Nintendo Direct updates ect), and Internet Browser.

A Few Noteable Games

Super Mario 3d land
Mario Kart 7
Kid Incarus: Uprising
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Zelda OOT 3D
Star Fox 64 3D
New Super Mario Bros 2
Resident Evil Revelations
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Pushmo (eshop)
Mutant Mudds (eshop)
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword (eshop)

The Nintendo 3ds launched Nintendo's own eShop. Currently there are a total of 83 titles for purchase from the following previous consoles at the moment Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance (Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program exclusive for the time being), Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Game Gear. As of 8/19/2012 you are able to download retail games on the eshop now.

Experience: Ive owned my 3ds for about a year now when i purchased it I bought 2 games with it Super Mario Land 3d and Mario Kart 7. I like the small pocket size of the original model width wise its about the size of a Galaxy S3 so it can be put in your pocket and is easy to carry around. Battery life last about 4 hours in my experience typically i just keep it plugged if i know im getting into a long gaming session (like Paper Mario: Sticker Star). I like the fact that it is backwards compatible with DS games I know ive missed alot of game son that system i would like to play. The Internet browser is OK if you need to use it, it does work i dont like the dual screen browsing. the Circle pad is awesome i love it works well in games like Mario Kart 7 and Resident Evil. Graphic are good on par with the Wii with some better lighting in some games its not a powerhouse in this department when you compare it to the PS vita. The 3d feature is cool to have however i RARELY use it you really need to whole it steady to appreciate it maybe easier with an XL model but the original it can become a headache that's not worth it. Up to this point in my experience the only game to TRULY use the 3d feature is Super Mario 3d land in the puzzle rooms. The 3d camera feature is cool but pictures are not the best quality. The AR card games are fun and cool you really look "special" playing them if someone is watching you LOL. I have to say overall while it has some short coming it has alot of cool features and apps also the games released and other titles coming soon this console has something for everyone. The eShop is awesome Im hoping for more SNES releases and maybe some N64 titles in the future. There are some great bundle deals online and at local gaming stores great time to pick up if you've been interested

Score 8.5 / 10 Good quality hasnt given me any problems best portable console from Nintendo to date
+ Great Content

+ Pocket Size

+ Alot of cool features

- Battery life not as good as previous portable consoles from Nintendo

- 3D feature not really used in most games

- friend codes

Last edited:


Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
Nice job, D! I like the slick pics! I'm not a handhelds guy, but I liked the little "For more info..." tidbit. I know a lot more about it than I did before. Didn't even know half of those things about it haha.
Jul 10, 2012
Orlando FL
[QUOTE="Sir_Scud, post: 5974251]Nice job, D! I like the slick pics! I'm not a handhelds guy, but I liked the little "For more info..." tidbit. I know a lot more about it than I did before. Didn't even know half of those things about it haha.[/QUOTE]

Thanks Bro it was so much info I had to power thru it cause I was getting burnt out with all the info and typing. Hopefully my new reviews just come out easy in terms of me typing them up. I'm hoping to have Nintendo land done this week. I'm expecting the Wii U to be as hard gotta give props to anyone like lethal that's done a hardware review in the past
Last edited:


Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
Yeah, I don't think I would have the patience to do a hardware review. After my Dark Souls review, my longest review, I'll probably scale back a bit with typing. I was just thinking that a vid or two wouldn't be a bad idea in the future. Since it's about the hardware itself, vids always can help explain something or some feature in better detail than too many paragraphs. So are you going to do Wii U as well?
Jul 10, 2012
Orlando FL
I will be doing on in the next coming days I wanted to spend a lot of time with it before I did one been over a month just so much info gonna take a while lol also got to work on a header for it and choose which pictures I'm going to use with the review as well


Staff member
Nov 14, 2007
Nice job with the review bro! I will "like" this thread as soon as I am able.

Hardware reviews are not easy, and certainly take a bit of time to write up. Good job!