The Nintendo 3DS at its Australian launch party.
With Nintendo’s Australian 3DS launch only a few days away on March 31, we thought we had give you a quick refresher on it, and the device that is going to be its main rival for the next tiny while — the Sony Next Generation Portable, or NGP. That’s the official name for the next-gen handheld console from Sony that everyone was calling the PlayStation Portable 2.
Read our preview of the Nintendo 3DS.
The Nintendo 3DS is an evolution of the Nintendo DSi, DS Lite, original DS — despite a bit of extra processing grunt it’s still a dual-screen handheld gaming console, with a touchscreen down the bottom and a set of thumb-friendly controls. The huge difference is the top 3.5in LCD screen, which achieves an autostereoscopic 3D effect — you do not need any 3D glasses to see it, and you can control the intensity with a side-mounted slider. To be honest, the only other huge difference is the addition of an analog joystick.
Check out the unveiling of the Sony NGP.
The Sony NGP is a huge step up from the original PlayStation Portable and its revisions. It’s got plenty of processing power, and graphics performance that is purported to be on par with the Sony PlayStation 3. Its 5in, 960x544pixel touchscreen display uses OLED — like the screen of Samsung’s Galaxy S II smartphone, though we are hoping it’s even closer to the Sony XEL-1 — so we are anticipating excellent clarity, contrast and viewing angles. Battery life for such a powerful machine is a worry, though.
The NGP definitely excites us more when it comes to hardware. We did like the 3D effect from the Nintendo 3DS, but we anticipate it’ll largely be a gimmick that doesn’t add a great deal of playability to games. The NGP’s superior power should grant for more versatility in game design, as well as the advantage of nicer graphics — yes, we are shallow, but we think nice graphics do improve an already-good game.
The Nintendo 3DS has front- and rear-facing cameras, though they can only take 640x480pixel pics — which makes them tiny more than a gimmick. The cameras’ potential for augmented reality gaming is interesting, though. It uses the same game cartridge as earlier DS models so there is a big back catalog to play through. Download Play will also be available for Game Boy and Game Boy Classic games, as well as DSiWare games in the future, via the Nintendo 3DS’s integrated wireless networking.
The NGP is the undisputed leader in features — it can do augmented reality as well, it has two touch control surfaces, and two analog joysticks — with one critical exception. It will not be able to use the PSP’s old UMD format, leaving dedicated Sony fanboys out in the lurch — instead, Sony is opting for a new flash memory-based format. Don’t let this get you down, though — the NGP will have Bluetooth, 3G and Wi-Fi which should make it as versatile as a smartphone when it comes to getting hold of games off the Net.
We’re going to speak about games offerings in a separate article, so this comparison is just down to hardware and included features. The Sony NGP is clearly superior, as long as you discount the 3DS’s 3D screen. It’s more powerful, has a bigger screen and a more accomplished control interface. We would not be surprised if it was twice the price of the $349 Nintendo 3DS, though.
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Submited at Thursday, March 24th, 2011 at 7:00 pm on PSP by Cinthia
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