The Nintendo 3DS Hardware FAQ

By Spencer . September 29, 2010 . 1:26am

imageAlong with the February 26 release date, Nintendo posted a spec sheet on the Nintendo 3DS hardware. Here’s what you get for 25,000 yen ($300):


– Nintendo 3DS hardware

– Nintendo 3DS charging stand

– AC adaptor for use with Nintendo 3DS

– Nintendo 3DS stylus

– 2GB SD memory card

– Six AR (augmented reality) cards for use with the 3DS’ camera

– Quick start guide

– Instruction book

– Warranty



– You can see 3D images without glasses on the top screen. The 3D effect can be adjusted by a slider on the side.

– A sterographic camera that takes 3D pictures. The two external 0.3 megapixel cameras automatically turn photos into 3D.

– New input interfaces: slide pad, motion sensors, and a gyro sensor.

– Spotpass mode: The 3DS automatically connects to Wi-Fi spots and Nintendo Zones to download game data, demos, and videos.

– StreetPass Mode – Similar to Dragon Quest IX the Nintendo 3DS exchanges data with other 3DS users. This feature works for multiple titles.

– DS functions work within games. You can visit the home menu, notification lists, and internet browser while playing a game.

– Built-in software: Like the Nintendo DSi, the Nintendo 3DS comes preloaded with apps. You can use the Nintendo 3DS Camera, 3DS Sound, Mii Studio, Streetpass mode Mii Plaza, AR Games, and a Memory Notebook.

– Introductory videos and rankings can be downloaded from the internet.

– Software purchased on a Nintendo DSi and/or Nintendo DSi XL can be transferred to and from a Nintendo 3DS. There is a limit of how many times you can transfer software, but Nintendo has not announced a number.

– Backwards compatible with Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games.

– Parental controls can be set for the web browser and what software can be run.



– Size: 5.27 in. length, 2.91 in width, 0.82in depth

– Weight: 8.11 oz.

– Top screen is 3.53 in, widescreen and displays stereoscopic images without the need for glasses. 800×240 (400 pixels per eye) resolution.

– Bottom screen is 3.02 in and has a touch panel. 320×240 pixels resolution.

– Wireless LAN supports WPA/WPA2 security keys. A 2.4Ghz transmitter is included for crosspass mode.

– Input: D-pad, A/B/X/Y/L/R/start/select buttons, analog slide pad (360 degrees of rotation), touch screen, internal microphone, camera, motion sensor, gyro sensor.

– Other inputs: 3D Volume (a slider that adjusts the 3D effect), home button, wireless switch, power button.

– Connection: Game card slot, SD memory card slot, ac adapter, charging station, headphone jack.

– Sound: stereo speakers on the top screen.

– Stylus: maximum length is 10 centimeters.

– Battery – Lithium ion battery. (note: battery life was not announced.)

– Game card: Nintendo 3DS game cards, which are the same size as DS game cards. These can hold a maximum amount of 2GB of data at launch.


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  • SerasVictoria

    Ouch.. more expensive than a low end PS3. Thats not good Nintendo.

    • NeoTechni

      Lets see how many DS owners who said PSP was/is too expensive, will put their money where their mouths were and boycott this.

      I’m betting not that much. It’ll show us a ton of hypocrites.

      • malek86

        They’ll probably handwave it with “but the 3DS clearly offers so much more and so many better games than the PSP”.Which is kind of true, though how much it justifies the high price is obviously subjective.

        • NeoTechni

          It’s not kind of true or remotely true though. PSP has hundreds of games. You can find more awesome games on it than 3DS has games total.

          • malek86

            Of course I’m only comparing the different launch periods. The PSP didn’t have that many games at the beginning, and nobody really knew for sure whether they would get third party support or not. On the other hand, the 3DS looks like it’s already gained enough support to last a lifetime. And the success of the DS only serves to reinforce the idea that they’ll be getting pretty much all the good games.Well, once again, it’s subjective. In the last two years, I’ve used my PSP more than my DS, so things might change. But for now, let’s just say I could understand if someone wouldn’t have paid $250 for a PSP but was willing to do so for a 3DS. Myself, I waited until it was €129 (basically half-price) before buying a PSP.

    • More expensive in Japan, where the yen is really high at the moment. I’m guessing that’s part of the reason the price is what it is. The conversion rate has been killing them. Plus, portables are the primary form of playing games there, so people will easily pony up for this.

      250 or 220 for the U.S. if you’d ask me to hazard a guess.

      • malek86

        I’m guessing 250 with a free game (nothing big, mind you).

        • It’d be really smart if they packed a Nintendogs demo or something into it.

          • malek86

            That would be a slap in the face. “Oh, hey guys, our new 3DS can download game demos from the net, but we’re packing one for you in the box so we can increase the price!”. Unless the Nintendogs demo were only available to buyers, which would be even more of a slap in the face.Full game or nothing.

          • I don’t know…I mean, the casual audience probably wouldn’t care, you know? They probably wouldn’t even be aware of the online features and stuff, so maybe a demo that’s specifically customized to get you acquainted with the online and Tag Mode and all the other features would make sense.

            For us…I’m hoping the thing comes pre-loaded with demos or at least some cool inbuilt software that tides people over for a bit before they decide what games they want to buy.

          • I think it would be neat if they threw in a full version of one of the movies they had trailers for at E3. (How to Train a Dragon, Legend of the Guardians, or Tangled)

          • Lots of those new smartphones do that now so this wouldn’t be a bad idea.

      • thebanditking

        Agreed it will sell out at launch easily, but much like PSP what happens when the hard core have it and its readily available?

    • Aoshi00

      PS3 was $600 at launch, then $400, then $300, PSP was $250 at first.. hate to say it, people are cheap. If people were expecting it to be $200, what’s $50 more really, that’s like 10 lunches for me. Just skip eating 2 weeks.

      Sure, there’ll be an improved 3DS Lite that’s better and cheaper 2 years down the road, just like all hardwares are, but the way I see it, $50 is the premium you play for getting to play it 2 yrs before everybody, whether it’s worth it or not depends on your personal choice. This thing will sell millions at either $200 or $250, that’s why Nintendo set it at $250. For those who want to buy it at $200, wait a year or two, simple as that.

      • And they will be using less and less high quality material, i brought my ps3 for 600$ when it was released, i was kinda mad when the price went down so much, but woah, ive seen no many ps3 broken down, and mine is still in perfect state, and runs every ps2 game with no problemos

        • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

          The cost to make the PS3 goes down as the tech it’s built on becomes outdated. That’s why they can sell it for cheaper, not because they use cheaper materials.

          • lol, that’s what they make you think, i wonder why so many ps3s had that light of death or w/e, or how many emulators can barely run some ps2 games, if they are just like mine

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            No, really, it’s what I believe. If you keep an eye on computers, you’ll notice that the same $1000 will net you a better computer the current year than yesteryear. That’s because that’s the nature of tech; yesteryear’s high-end PCs are today’s mid-range PCs.

            Unlike with computers, Sony makes more exponentially more profit annually (even if the sales don’t increase, which they do) just by selling the same hardware at a fixed price (because the PS3 is just a highly optimized gaming computer).

            They cut out PS2 BC in post-launch models to recover profit faster, since they were selling PS3s at a loss and the PS2 chip was part of that problem. Also, I don’ know where you’re getting your info, but the PS3 has a 10% failure rate, which is normal for, if not better than, most electronics.

          • So you are saying that just because this is the nature of stuff, other ps3s will suddenly work worst, get more hot, get bricked with firmware updates and stop having a good backward compatibilities? I get this info just by watching friends, sony’s official forum, lots of videos about fixing this light i talked about, and so on.
            If you remember when the ps3 was released, they said they used more money to make them than to sell them, and they were expecting to get that back with the games, of course stuff to make the ps3 gets cheaper with time, but not that cheap, is fairly obvious they are not using the same materials they used when the ps3 was first released.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Look, not everyone who owns a PS3 goes to the forums. For every poster out there, there are many times more lurkers and people who don’t even check forums. Those people don’t go there, because they don’t have problems. I could say everyone I know who owns a PS3 hasn’t had any problems, but that doesn’t mean much. That’s personal experience, not researched statistics.

            Yes, they are not using the same materials, because the slim runs quieter, cools faster, and is more energy efficient than the old model, due the switch to a 45nm process. The hardware is essentially the same, but now they are able to build the same thing better and for less.

            I don’t know how this turned into an argument when all I did was cite what I thought was common knowledge.

          • thebanditking

            Sure the quality of the materials is substituted as time goes on but the primary reason for price drops is because the internals are cheaper to manufacture. Though I do feel the launch consoles that are truly “Made in Japan” are of a higher quality then their “made in China” counterparts, but nothing noticeable to the average Joe.

        • Aoshi00

          I felt the same as you, I thought I kind of wasted money getting the PS3 so soon, $600 compared to $400 or 300 is a lot. I kept mine in good shape, but the fan’s noise kicks it up real quick, so that was distracting for me even when watching blu-rays.. so I haven’t been using it for a while and got a Slim when they had a deal during Thanksgiving.. PS2 games look really good upscaled though.

      • thebanditking

        “Just skip eating 2 weeks.”
        Awesome, now thats a real gamer for you. Way to go Aoshi!

        • Aoshi00

          lol, nah I wouldn’t be literally skipping lunches, I would just prepare a sandwich or something instead of eating out for 2 weeks. Just putting things in perspective. If people really love this 3DS, what’s $50 more, we spend that everywhere if people think about it. Sometimes I buy junk food like dominos pizza, that’s like $15 right there.. so skipping some luxury would enable people to buy a 3DS.

          • thebanditking

            Krazy Ken says: “People will work more hours to afford one!” guess crazy Iwata agrees, lol. I knew you were joking about the not eating part, I just thought it was funny.

  • NeoTechni

    Damn it’s awesome. Why couldn’t it have used USB?

    • glemtvapen

      Because USB is the easiest path to piracy.

      • Advent_Andaryu

        I’d say SD card slot is much easier to pirate than USB.

  • Aside from price issues, which were excessively discussed before, here’s what bothers me:d-pad position: It’s placed way too low. Take your old DS and simulate playing on a d-pad positioned this low. Your hands will hurt. I wish you could switch the analoge & d-pad around (ejectable parts)battery life: Why no statement? no region lock information (judging by the DSi… uh oh)screen sizes not matching, I hoped the would go for two 16:9 screens in the final design. This is also something that can not be fixed with hardware revisions without causing a mess for developers.

    • Region lock (or US release date) is my number one question right now.

    • This isn’t official by any means, but parental controls vary by region…. and this was one of the reasons why Nintendo said the DSi would be region locked.

  • The inclusion of that SD card baffles me, I thought it was rumored to have GB’s worth of on board memory…I wonder if game saves will need to be saved to it…

    • Kibbitz

      I would approve of having the ability to back up my saves myself instead of having it stored on the game itself. Still, they could just be implementing it in a similar fashion as with the DSi, as external storage for media and 3DSware.

    • thebanditking

      they are still using carts for the games so I would say its safe to assume you will still be saving to the game cart.

  • eliel

    its pricey but i’d buy at this price (better come with a game)….or i’ll w8 for a bundle….

  • thebanditking

    Moving away from the price, I think the analog nub on the blue one should be blue. White rubber (even if cleaned) gets brown over time and thats just nasty looking, lol.

    • Aoshi00

      The worst is the gray plastic turning yellowish, I just digged out my gamecube recently to play some GBA games w/ the GB player, the gray part has turned yellow just like the SNES :(…

  • superdry

    No information regarding if the 3DS is region locked like the DSi?

    Buntar0 – It does look uncomfortable holding the d-pad on the 3DS. It’s like your hand is barely gonna grasp the sucker. Maybe Spencer or any of the other Siliconera writers/editors can chime in regarding the d-pad.

    • I played with the 3DS and it didn’t feel uncomfortable, but then again I didn’t try it with Super Street Fighter IV so I can’t say how well it works.

  • Guest

    Yes but is it region free?

  • xxx128

    I believe nintendo would have done better with a more ergonomic approach for this. The design looks awfully unattractive. And the HW specs arent anything exciting either. Definitly going to skip this one.

    • Avojavo

      I say we should reserve judgment until the games come out. A good developer makes the best use of limited hardware, so reading too deeply into its specs is a little misleading.

      As for the form factor… Hey, I waited around a year after the DS Lite came out before I bought one. If its design is really that unappealing, they’ll release an improved shell in a year or two.

    • thebanditking

      “I believe nintendo would have done better with a more ergonomic approach for this. The design looks awfully unattractive.” Just like the original DS, the 3DS Lite will easily remedy all the design flaws this has, also what is up with that soap dish charging block? Who green lit that!?

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