The Nintendo 3DS is Nintendo's latest gaming handheld, and the first ever to offer glasses-free 3D gaming out of the box. If Nintendo's record is anything to go by, expect the 3DS to revolutionise gaming once more. Other features of the 3DS include an SD card slot, wireless web connectivity, front and rear facing cameras and the ability to take 3D photos.
The 3D really works. The moment you witness the glasses-free 3D effect for the first time is a genuine eye-opener. Should the effect prove too much a stain on the eyes, Nintendo has made the 3D effect adjustable as if it were a volume control. Not that you'll want to go back to 2D.
Those planning to take their 3DS out and about will be pleased to know it is a solid bit of kit that we're sure, if we were brave enough, we could drop it onto a hard floor and see it survive without too much damage.
Great games sell consoles, but the bundled software is more than enough to show off the potential of the 3DS. Cameras now let you play augmented reality games and snap photos of yourself and others to use in games Face Raiders lets you do just that.
AR Games are aided via a bundled pack of cards. Place one on a table, point the 3DS camera at it, and watch it transform into a selection of fun mini-games that have you shooting targets, fighting big boss dragons, fishing and lots more, then stare in amazement as you move the 3DS around virtual objects as if they were real.
An innovative feature called StreetPass enables the 3DS to scan nearby 3DS consoles in the vicinity of other 3DS owners. Activating this function lets you collect Mii avatars, coins to purchase new titles and play games that involve grabbing bits of puzzles from other 3DS owners.
Flipped open the 3DS is a beauty, but its exterior lacks the clean curves of the DS Lite giving the 3DS a more functional than desirable look and feel. Awkward stylus placement on the rear means you'll have to reach around the back of the 3DS to whip it out.
The bottom line
On early evidence the Nintendo 3DS looks like living up to the hype, fulfilling its promise of glasses-free 3D gaming that really works, offering the kind of visual experience yet to be seen on a handheld. But what will surprise many is just how impressive the sometimes jaw-dropping augmented reality skills and motion sensor controls really are. There's huge potential.
An already interesting launch line-up and hopefully more great titles down the line, such as Super Mario Bros 3DS should ensure that 3DS owners shouldn't be left disappointed.