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Nintendo 3DS: Futuristic Handheld, Retro Battery

3DS Menus, User Interface

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It’s obvious that Nintendo put a lot of effort into redesigning the user interface on the 3DS. In many ways the menu reminds of the Wii UI, which makes a lot of sense once you factor in the input method for both consoles (using a Wii Remote is supposed to mimic touching a screen, after all).

The menu has the same kind of tile design as the Wii; the default layout is a single line of tiles that you scroll through (by touch or by D-Pad/Circle Pad), but you can expand the view and have all your tiles show up on the screen at once. The top border of the touchscreen has shortcuts for various apps (Web Browser, Notifications, Friend List, and Game Notes) as well as the screen brightness selector. There are five different brightness settings, and Nintendo also includes a power saving mode that adjusts brightness based on battery power. The top border of the top screen displays battery life, date/time, your pedometer/footstep count, and your Internet connection status.

Navigating the 3DS UI is a breeze; Nintendo makes everything very straightforward here, and we never got the feeling that something was hidden or difficult to unearth. Need to add a wireless connection? You’re four clicks away from that screen. Want to jot down a note on how to defeat the boss in Face Raiders? Two clicks.

Our only issue with the 3DS: Multitaksing. In this regard, the console seems like a wolf in sheep’s wool. The menu and interface is laid out so multitasking seems like a given, but if you want to pause a game to take a picture…you can’t. As soon as you click on another application, the 3DS requires you to close your game or other app in order to launch the new one. That said, we are cutting Nintendo some slack because we’re aware of the stress that true multitasking can put on hardware. Even with all that new processing and graphics muscle, having four or five different applications open at once is probably going to make the 3DS keel over.

  • Ok
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  • tapher
    I am Yoshi's Great Partner!
    Reply
  • MULTITAKSING!
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  • septembrium
    Anyone know what the specs are on the QR Code reader features of the Nintendo 3DS? It's pretty hard to find information about it. Can't wait to get my hand on it by the way!
    Reply
  • dconnors
    septembriumAnyone know what the specs are on the QR Code reader features of the Nintendo 3DS? It's pretty hard to find information about it. Can't wait to get my hand on it by the way!
    Are you looking for something specific? To read QR codes you use the camera on the back of the 3DS, but beyond that Nintendo has been pretty tight-lipped on things.

    -Devin
    Reply
  • shqtth
    Not an untested technology. Most of the samsung LCD displsys had this 3d technology at the Vancouver 2010 (winder olympics).

    I seen it when I visited the Ontario Pavilion. It was quite cool. And it works !
    Reply
  • Nexus52085
    Nice review. Thanks, Toms. I really don't think I'll be able to get one on day one, even though I'd really like to. That being said, I played this thing at the demo station in Grand Central, and it is a whole lot of fun.
    Reply
  • arlandi
    Speaking as a father of 2 girls:
    The short battery life issue may be a good thing for children playing this gadget. since sometimes they can be glued to their games for a very long time. short battery life will force them to take a break and do other things (like study, do their homework, etc).
    Speaking as a gamer:
    i hope this thing will autosave whenever battery power is drained...
    Reply
  • dconnors
    arlandiSpeaking as a father of 2 girls:The short battery life issue may be a good thing for children playing this gadget. since sometimes they can be glued to their games for a very long time. short battery life will force them to take a break and do other things (like study, do their homework, etc).Speaking as a gamer:i hope this thing will autosave whenever battery power is drained...
    Auto-saving is usually a game-side feature. There are two battery indicator lights that flash red once the battery is close to drained, so you should get plenty of warning so you can plug the 3DS in.

    -Devin
    Reply
  • I was really impress with this write up. My oldest was starting to get all starry-eyed about this. But I think that we can wait for the next generation and see if the battery life improves. Here in Southern Cali... 2.5 hours is a typical car ride (stoopid traffic)... and the DS lite can easily get us there and back.

    Thanks for the article!
    Reply