I'm just going to come out and say this, the 3ds is the best handheld system...ever. For those of you that are still waiting, I've decided to entice you with my thoughts on the device. I've been skeptical over the last year (see previous blog posts), but after finally taking the plunge and spending the last two weeks with one I do not regret this purchase for even a second. This handheld is so much more than its unfortunate name suggests. The "3D" part of 3DS represents a small fraction of what it really is.
I can't speak for non-Nintendo titles thus far, but I haven't really had problems viewing the 3d like other countless players suggest. I've actually left the 3d slider in the on position for most of my time with the machine and only turned it off to give my eyes a break in moments of great fatigue. While I feel some people way overhype the 3d effect, it is a really nice and subtle touch that makes the experience stand out from any gaming experience I've ever had.
**NOTE: My eyesight is 20/20 and I have noticed that the 3d is harder to play with for people with bad eyesight.**
Also I have not encountered weak battery life as many suggest. I'm actually am getting about 5 hours out of it with the 3d effect turned on and brightness all the way up. I'm sure after I've played the sucker for a while that battery will eventually wear down but I really am surprised people are complaining about this so much. The screen is beyond vibrant, the graphics are on par or better than Wii graphics, the sound is crystal clear and surpisingly loud for a handheld unit, and there's glasses less 3d to boot. The 3DS battery is helping push much more power than all previous Nintendo handhelds combined at this point and that in itself is quite impressive.
I do love a lot of things about this system, but the actual design does have its hits and misses. One miss is the glossy paint job. I don't know why they went back to this, but get ready for a very smudgy system. Plus if one happens to have clamy hands it gets a little slippery and greasy feeling, not too pleasent. Also back from the DS lite era is the anolog volume control. This means expect to adjust the volume many a time after taking your DS out of your pocket. Something they got right on the other hand is the circle pad. At first it'll get caught on an edge a few times during intense games of Mario Kart, but quickly after sorts itself out and becomes a joy to play with. A couple curious changes would be the placement of the pen holder and headphone jack. Contrary to every handheld device ever made Nintendo decided to put the headphones at the bottom of the unit so that your wires point in to your body instead of out and away. The movement of the pen holder to where the headphone jack should have been is even weirder. No longer can I quickly slide the pen in and out at will during a session. I am now forced to smudge my bottom screen because it's easier just to use my fingers instead of reaching around the unit over and over. Overall it's a pretty standard DS design, nothing too crazy different from previous models. It's got a little bit of every DS model in it, including the size and internet connectivity of the DSi. Hate it or love it as you please.
If you particularly don't care for the DS or Nintendo in general the 3DS probably won't change your mind. But with downloadable gems of the past, DS backwards compatibility, and new experiences along the lines of full console releases at $40 a pop, it's really hard not to recommend the 3DS to Nintendo fans or even fans of years past. Zelda, Mario Kart, and Mario Land alone are worth it, not to mention virtual console games, Star Fox, Sonic, Cave Story, Pushmo, and upcomming games like Kid Icarus, Luigis Mansion, Paper Mario. Great system, glad I took the plunge. :)