When Nintendo, the undisputed king of handheld gaming, reveals a brand new portable console, the world sits up and listens. At today’s E3 expo in Los Angeles, the company revealed the Nintendo 3DS to an expectant world, unveiling a sleek (it weighs only eight ounces) new machine with cameras, gyroscopes, and fancy 3D visuals.
As you can see from the images (above and below this text), the 3DS wil stick to the two screen formula used so far by the Nintendo DS family, but for the first time will combine different sized screens.
The top screen is where the 3D magic takes place. According to the tech sheet that Nintendo sent us, this widescreen LCD panel is 3.53 inches corner to corner and runs in 800×240 resolution, with “400 pixels allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing.” The lower screen will be far more familiar to current Nintendo DS owners, producing a 320×240 resolution, and measuring just over 3 inches across.
There’ll be three cameras on the 3DS – one inside the console and two on the outside – and these each boast a 0.3 megapixel (so 640 x 480) resolution. Elsewhere, the handheld 802.11 Wi-Fi, and supports WPA/WPA2 security.
In terms of controls, there’s plenty here that featured in previous DS models. The lower screen is still a touchscreen, there’s an embedded microphone, the same old four face buttons, a D-pad, two shoulder buttons, and Start and Select buttons.
But what is new is the “slide pad”, an analogue nubbin for 360-degree input that already looks far chunkier and more comfortable than the Sony PSP’s undersized nub. There’s also an in-built motion sensor and gyro sensor, and a “3D depth slider,” which allows you to adjust the 3D effect.
The console’s various ports include a 3DS game card slot (worry not, it can take your old DS games), an AC adapter connection, an SD card slot, and a stereo jack for your headphones. A lithium ion battery completes this most desirable of new toys.
There’s no price or release date for the 3DS yet, but Nintendo has already stated it will arrive before March 2011 – my money is on a release in time for Christmas.