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Many people is mistook the 3DS for just another console in the DS series, much like the DSi which was just the same console with a few extra features. However, this is wrong! The 3DS is actually a completely new console, the only similarity being the touch screen design and of course the shared name. This is where the 3DS really makes itself worth those extra pounds.. it is way above any other handheld nintendo release we have had.
The graphics on the DS series have so far been very shoddy, and unless you are playing a cartoon like game, it can make the game itself unplayable. However the 3DS has really excelled above this and characters now have distinctive features and are no longer oddly shaped stick men. The graphics for the 3DS are not at all far from the last generation home consoles such as the XBOX original, and a major improvement. The 3D features is of course what really sets this console aside from anything we have seen before and it works brilliantly. For the first time you can experience 3D without the need for glasses, and all right in the palm of your hand. You can adjust the depth of the 3D during gameplay through the use of a simple slider, and even turn it off altogether if you wish. I have found myself turning it off sometimes, mostly during fast moving games where it can become a bit too much for your eyes to handle. Aside from that though, the addition of 3D is a great thing to have and works wonderfully, bringing new depth to your games, and it is something I would very much like to see coming to life in more consoles in the future. Please note though, that the use of 3D is not recommended to young children as their eyes are still developing. Through the use of parental settings though, you can ensure that your children do not have the option to use it.
Now you may think that, given a lot of children will be using the console, if they can't use the 3D you should just stick to the regular DS. Well, no, you shouldn't, because the 3DS has so much more to offer besides its 3D capabilities. Not only are the graphics head and shoulders above anything else we have seen from a nintendo handheld, but the overall gaming experience has been vastly improved by the addition of a new analogue control and motion sensing. The new circular analogue control is smooth and easy to use, and adds much more to your games as your characters are no longer reduced to walking in four different directions but literally have 360 degrees of movement allowed to them. The motion sensor adds yet another dimension to your gaming and while it hasn't been used in many games so far, the 3DS responds instantly to your movements and I look forward to seeing it used to its full potential in the future.
The 3DS also has many additional features to keep you busy and even more on the way, so at the moment it looks as if Nintendo are going to be putting a lot of effort into keeping the console current so you don't have to worry about keeping up with the latest technological advances. Like the DSi, the 3DS features three cameras (two of which combine to create the 3D effect) and allows you to take 3D picture of you and your friends or objects around you. The camera works very well and the quality is good, though not great, but this doesn't really matter because after all the 3DS is a games console, not a camera, and the camera is likely to only be used for entertainment purposes rather than capturing brilliant photos, as at the moment you can't actually upload them, although this may change when the internet browser is introduced. There are again, like with the DSi, lots of effects you can use with the camera to create a range of fun photos. When you open your nintendo 3DS you will find it comes with an already built in game which utilises the use of the 3D camera to turn your living room into a game world, and shows off the full potential of the 3D camera very well.
Nintendo have also announced intentions to bring an internet browser to the 3DS, though when and how well it will work no one really knows. When it does happen though, if Nintendo put the same effort into ensuring its quality as they have done the rest of the console, it should be a great addition. They have also announced that they have made a partnership with Netflix to bring movies to the 3DS through instant streaming. While these won't be in 3D they have announced that they will be bringing 3D movie trailers to the 3DS. Both of these features are expected to be released in the summer.
The 3DS also features the brand new "StreetPass", which allows you to share information such as Miis, high scores and custom characters with other 3DS owners when you pass them in the street. You can control the information that is exchanged. While this is a nice feature, I can't help but render it pointless, especially at the moment because 3DS owners are hard to come by and in the 3 months I have owned the console, I have not had a single StreetPass encounter! Perhaps when the price of the 3DS is reduced or more games come out and the 3DS becomes more popular, this feature will be one to show off, but as of yet, it is more one to hide in shame.
The overall design of the 3DS is very good. While at the moment only two colours have been released there have been many others shown off at game conferences which have been speculated to be future releases. This includes a purple version, which is one I would definitely like to see! I personally opted for the aqua blue version of the console and have been very pleased with my purchase, and can confirm that the console looks much nicer in real life than in pictures! The finish is glossy metallic, and is very difficult to scratch. The inside of the console is a mixture of glossy black and more of the metallic aqua blue. The metallic finish allows all the different colours to really shine out and it switches between being a vibrant blue and a more sophisticated turquoise depending on which way the light hits it. At first I wasn't sure about the colour choices for the initial release but after seeing the consoles up close I can say that nintendo made a good decision!
The actual size of the 3DS is 5.3" x 2.9" x 0.8", and fits easily into the palm of your hand. The battery is quick to charge and, while the battery life isn't great when the console is played in 3D, is enough to last you a long journey although it may be wise to stick to 2D in order ot conserve battery life on long trips.
In all, the nintendo 3ds has all the makings of an excellent console, but of course as it has only just come out there are very few games available for it, and so it is yet to reach its peak. However, these are early days. There are more games coming soon but why nintendo didn't wait to release their latest pokemon game or at least release it on the 3DS really confuses me, as it is one of the most popular series on the console. The 3DS is actually compatible with other DS games but they don't play as well, as the screen for the 3DS is bigger and so the game doesn't fit. Personally I would wait until more games have been released before making a purchase unless there are already games that interest you, or have at least been announced. Of course there is the exception of if you are going away over the summer and want some in flight entertainment, then purchasing a 3DS may be an excellent idea indeed!