It’s been 24 hours (give or take) since we first got our hands on the 3DS and with a whole day’s worth of experience under my belt, I thought I’d give you the benefit of this experience and give you some info on some nuances of 3DS ownership that are not always addressed in similar guides.
Physical body of the 3DS:
- In pictures, I thought that the little lip on the upper half of the system was a bit unsightly, but it does work well with the physical unit and should not be a cause for concern. The 3D slider is recessed enough under said lip so that it shouldn’t be moved up/down when the system is slid into pockets or cases.
- The top screen feels even a tad larger than I imagined as is certainly not too small to show off the awesomeness of 3D.
- The circle pad is superb. I thought people were exaggerating just how well it works in pre-release reviews, but it really does blow the PSP analog nub out of the water and provide a very smooth and handy control method.
- The volume slider is much better than either the DS lite slider or the DSi/DSiXL buttons for accurate and convenient volume control.
- I bought an old official DSi case for my 3DS and it does just barely fit in, so if you’re looking for cheaper carrying cases for the 3DS, a DSi one should usually do just fine.
- The 3D screen’s “sweet spot” for 3D is unfortunately smaller than I expected, you really have to hold it at the exact right angle to your face to not interfere with the 3D. Distance from your face is less important than the angle, though, and you can enjoy it fairly close and fairly far from your face without issue.
- The screens, in either 3D or 2D modes, look about the same as the DS lite as far as brightness is concerned.
- The extra pixels in the top screen are apparent in-so-far as aliasing is concerned, as most 3D models, while still not entirely smooth, look less aliased than those on either the DS or the Wii.
- Fingerprints and dust, while not having an effect on the 3D effect of the top screen, seem drawn to the top half of the system and are particularly noticeable around the speakers, so you’ll want to keep that area clean.
- DO NOT PLAY IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT! I was trying to play the 3DS on the bus in both 2D and 3D modes and whenever the sun was shining directly on the screen I could see next to nothing. The 3DS is by far the worst portable system to play in direct sunlight.
- The speakers on the 3DS are quieter than the sometimes overbearingly loud ones on the DSiXL, which can be both a good and a bad thing depending upon the circumstances. If you’re playing in a loud room and you want to use the speakers, you may not be able to hear too much.
- Headphone volume is not an issue on the 3DS. At max it should be more than loud enough for everyone.
- One of the greatest concerns with the 3DS, and for very good reason! The battery life is short enough on medium-screen brightness and 3D settings that it is very possible for the 3DS to crap out on you in the middle of gameplay. This happened to me last night even though I had charged the 3DS fully in the afternoon and I was not impressed.
- Looking into battery alternatives, the Nyko PowerPak+ with its own charge base promises to “double” the battery life of the 3DS for $29.99. I have not seen any of these anywhere yet and would like to know how many mAh there is in their battery replacement before I consider buying it. If it is actually 2600 mAh (double that of the OEM 3DS battery), then it would be worth a look, but thus far I am skeptical.
- The battery replacement solution that I’m going to try first is a 2000 mAh battery for the 3DS off of eBay. Once I get my paws on it, I’ll report back as to whether it performs better than the official battery and if so, by how much.
- The charge cradle that comes with the 3DS is excellent, though, and does make it much easier to just pop in your 3DS for a quick charge when it’s not being actively used.
- Honestly, if you don’t want to pick up one of the less-than-stellar launch titles for the 3DS, the built-in software will keep you busy for a good while as it really is quite great and expansive.
- Face Raiders, while creepy as hell, is a great deal of fun as you’re twisting around trying to shoot the faces flying at you from all directions. There is a very impressive bonus round that makes the room you are in look like it’s underwater complete with the undersides of waves if you look up and appropriate light reflections on the ground when you look down.
- The AR Games are quite fun, and once you’ve unlocked them all you get the option of spending play coins that you’ve earned from the Activity Log app on enhanced versions of the games and little 3D toys you can use to impress your friends.
- I played around with the 3D camera for much longer than I was expecting to. In the “Graffiti” mode you have the option of adding 3D contours and images on top of one angle of the 3D images you have taken and it turns out to be a great way to explore the “depth” (in both senses) of the abilities of the 3D screen and cameras.
- When you hit the power button for more than a second, you are given the option of going into Sleep Mode (the same as just closing the lid) or Powering Off every time. To power off more quickly, hold the power button, then give it a second press to turn right off.
- Even though a Sleep Mode option is given, once you hit the Power button the game you were playing is closed and will not resume when you reopen the system.
- Unlike the DSi a quick tap of the power button does nothing, you have to use the Home button to go back to the system menu.
- The Start/Select/Home buttons are not touch or pressure sensitive. They require a firm depression to work, and this can be awkward at times depending upon how you are holding the system.
Any questions about the 3DS? We’re more than happy to answer them for you, so just have at it in the comments and we’ll update this post with more info as we go!