[E3 2010] This is the Nintendo 3DS!

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Today, Nintendo pulled the curtain back on its latest entry in the portable gaming market: the Nintendo 3DS. And, well…this is it!

At first glance, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from the current DSi design. It has the dual-screen display, the camera, the touch screen, and the clam-shell structure. But look closer and you’ll discover that the 3DS is actually far more technically advanced than the existing DS hardware.

The larger top screen displays what, from early screenshots and demos, appear to be PS2/GameCube quality graphics, all in an advanced 3D effect requiring no glasses of any kind, with a slider tab provided for users to adjust or even turn off the 3D effect if so desired. The 3DS is also equipped with a new analog stick called a “Slide Pad,” one inner camera and two outer cameras capable of taking pictures in full 3D (the resolution is only 0.3 Mega pixels though), motion and gyro sensors, backwards compatibility with all DS family game cartridges, a telescoping stylus, an SD memory card slot and an automatic WiFi connection enabling constant Internet access and communication with other 3DSs even when it is in sleep mode (like the Wii).

As for the 3D effect, there’s no way of gauging how it works without playing the device in person, so any thoughts on my part without hands-on impressions would be purely speculative. However, reports from the show seem to be universally positive, and early indications point to incredibly impressive hardware performance. One negative thing I have read about, though, is that the 3D effect has what’s being termed a “sweet spot,” meaning the 3DS has to be held at just the right angle and just the right distance from your face for the effect to shine, otherwise the image can become blurry and distracting. That could prove troublesome, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

What hasn’t been announced yet is a price, or a release date, or estimated battery life, or even the full technical specifications outlining just how much power the system can push — even the appearance of the device isn’t 100% final yet. While we wait for those details to emerge, go ahead and browse through the basic hardware specs that have been confirmed at this time.

3DS Hardware Specs:

Size (when closed): Approximately 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long, 0.8 inches tall.

Weight: Approximately 8 ounces.

Look: Final design is TBA.

Top Screen: 3.53-inch widescreen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses; with 800×240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing).

Touch Screen: 3.02-inch LCD with 320×240 pixel resolution with a touch screen.

Cameras: One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640×480 (0.3 Mega) pixel resolution.

Pre-Installed Software: TBA

Nintendo 3DS Game Card: 2 GB Max. at launch.

Wireless Communication: Can communicate in the 2.4 GHz band. Multiple Nintendo 3DS systems can connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others. Will support IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2). Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode.

Game Controls: Touch screen, embedded microphone, A/B/X/Y face buttons, + Control Pad, L/R buttons, Start and Select buttons, “Slide Pad” that allows 360-degree analog input, one inner camera, two outer cameras, motion sensor and a gyro sensor.

Other Input Controls: 3D Depth Slider to adjust level of 3D effect (can be scaled back or turned off completely depending on the preference of the user), Home button to call system function, Wireless switch to turn off wireless communications (even during game play), Power button. The telescoping stylus is approximately 4 inches when fully extended.

Input/Output: A port that accepts both Nintendo 3DS game cards and game cards for the Nintendo DS™ family of systems, an SD memory card slot, an AC adapter connector, a charging cradle terminal and a stereo headphone output jack.

Sound: Stereo speakers positioned to the left and right of the top screen.

Battery: Lithium ion battery details TBA.

Languages: TBA

Parental Controls: Parental controls similar to the Nintendo DSi system will be included.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!