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(Pocket-lint) - While the 3DS isn't out yet, it's just on the horizon, so should you get ready to upgrade, hold off 'till it arrives or just ignore it and get the Nintendo DSi XL instead? We take a look.


When it comes to size there isn't much in it between the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo DSi. The 3DS measures 134 x 73 x 20mm while the DSi 137 x 74.9 x 18.9mm. At 226 grams the 3DS is 12grams heavier (DSi is 214g). That said, all that could change. Nintendo are currently stressing that the 3DS design isn't final.


The DSi comes in a range of colours including white, black, blue and red. The 3DS has been spotted at E3 in Los Angeles in a more glossy and flamboyant range. Ones we've seen include orange, red, turquoise, and black. If the sample scheme stays, then Nintendo is obviously planning on a more colourful launch.

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The 3DS has more. While the DSi brings with it a single 640 x 480 resolution camera on the outside, the 3DS allows you to shoot in 3D as well as just watch it. So it has an extra 640 x 480 resolution camera on the outside to go with the first as well as a further VGA camera on the inside.


For the 3DS this is where the fun starts. It sports a 3.53-inch 3D-enabled screen that doesn't require you to wear glasses. Nintendo hasn't actually confirmed the technology behind the new screen, although it has said that it sports a 800 x 240 pixel resolution display (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing). Up close and personal we believe it is a lenticular lens that is used to create 3D effects on the screens of the 3DS.

To the side of the 3D-enabled screen is a slider switch that allows you to change the strength of the 3D image to suit your eyes. It's a welcomed effect and also means that if you want you can turn the 3D offering off completely.

In comparison the DSi comes with a smaller 3.25 inch screen that isn't 3D enabled (obviously otherwise this article would have been written a long time ago).

Both models feature a second touchscreen display on the bottom half of the console. The resistive screen can be used with either your finger or the included stylus.

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The DSi has, as has been the case up until now with all DS models, a D-pad, four y, x, a, b buttons as well as start and select.

The 3DS adds to this tally with a new analogue joystick that is akin to those found on Sony's PSP. The introduction allows for greater control for gamers and will no doubt be added into future games as developers create them.

Furthermore, Nintendo has added a home button that, when pressed, will whip you back to the home screen.

Motion sensing

New to the 3DS and not present on the DSi is a motion sensor and gryoscope for physical, three-dimensional gaming. Although we've yet to see any implementation of this, that means gamers will be able to physically move the console just like they can the Wii Remote to control action on screen. Theoretically, and this isn't confirmed, we presume that means you could use it as a Wii remote too.

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Both devices contain wireless connectivity to play others in the room or around the world. However with the 3DS, Nintendo has made it possible so that you can leave the Wi-Fi connection on when not in use so that it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode.


The Nintendo 3DS offers connections and sockets for the Nintendo 3DS/DS game card slot, SD memory cards, AC adapter, charging cradle terminal and stereo headphone jack. The DSi comes with a DS Card slot, SD memory card slot, AC adapter connection point, and stereo headphone/mic connection point. Note for older Game Boy Advance users: you are now clearly in the past.

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There are no differences here between the two that have been so far announced at E3 2010. Both will come with an internet browser built in and both will presumably offer the standard interface software that lets you manage your wireless settings and photos.


The 3DS will be able to run all current games on the market for the Nintendo DS, however it's not the case the other way around. New features like motion gaming and the 3D elements mean the DSi - like the DS before it when the DSi got a camera -  won't support all titles going forward.

When games do come out they will be 3DS only and you cannot upgrade DSi games to work in 3D. They have to be made that way first.

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The Nintendo DSi currently costs £119 in the UK on Amazon. The 3DS, as far as you're concerned, is vapourware with no price, not even a guide price attached to it at the moment.

If you take into account that the current DSi was launched at around £149.99 - and that's been the case for the last couple of launches - Nintendo's market is kids not adults, then we would expect, that even though it's got the 3D elements, it'll be around the same price.

When can I get it?

The DSi is on sale in virtually all corners of the globe. As for the 3DS, Nintendo might have shown off the hardware working, but they haven't pointed to a date for launch. We believe this is not because of the hardware but because there are no games available for it yet. With that in mind we would expect the 3DS to be available in time for Christmas (or the Holidays as our Americans like to call it). That said, Nintendo were rather coy about turning it on at all.


There are so many upgrades here that, if you are a die-hard Nintendo fan, it's probably worth the upgrade. The 3D screen, the wireless connectivity improvements and the analogue joystick are worth the move up. If you're just using your DSi for Brain Training or the odd bout of Pokemon you'll survive for the time being. Otherwise, plenty to get excited about.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 16 June 2010.