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Nintendo 3DS may be hampered by 3-5 hour battery life

updated 11:00 am EST, Sat January 8, 2011

Nintendo 3DS capped at 5 hour battery

Nintendo's 3DS may be hampered by demanding battery life when running its own native games, the official spec sheet has uncovered. Gamers should expect just three to five hours when running the native, 3D-capable games of the platform. Battery life only extends to a peak five to eight hours for legacy DS games.

The shortened play time could be a wound to the 3DS' early success as it may disappoint those used to longer use not just on older Nintendo systems but also competing platforms such as the iPod touch. Demanding games such as Infinity Blade or Rage HD can significantly shorten the battery life of Apple's devices, but these in newer generations can typically last for as long or longer when running most games.

Much of the 3DS' success is expected to ride on how its features stack up against iOS devices as well as the price. Nintendo saw its first significant declines in DS handheld sales last year in what has widely been credited to a partial switch away to the iPhone and iPod touch for mobile gaming, especially among adults. Apple has pushed iOS gaming hard, and unlike Nintendo has upgraded its devices every year rather than wait five or six years for significant upgrades.

The 3DS will cost the equivalent of $299 after taxes in Japan and could cost as much as $249 when it ships to the US in March, putting it in the same class as an 8GB iPod touch. [via Joystiq]

by MacNN Staff



  1. simon42

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Poor battery life

    As poor as that of the "competing" iPod. Let's see how much it doesn't affect it...

  1. James Katt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    DS is DEAD. Long life the iPad!

    Nintendo certainly shot its own legs off by not paying attention to the details.

    A Nintendo 3DS that lasts only 3-5 hours is UNFORGIVABLE A MISTAKE.

    All one has to do is compare it to the 10-12 hours one can get from the iPad or even the similar 3-5 hours from the iPhone and realize that the Nintendo is done for. Kaput.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Differences in Battery Technology

    Starting to show up. Apple rules again.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Usually less

    Except for Apple during reviews, most estimates yield less hours in real world test. So this POS will be 3 hours at best. lol

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's why Apple needs to take some of that

    huge war chest and invest it into state of the art battery technology. Current mobile devices practically demand long-life from batteries. Apple devices should be able to use the best battery technology money can buy. Even 10% longer battery life than rivals will go a long way. I don't think the extra cost of funding research for a company whose main business is in mobile devices is too much to ask.

  1. Sholop

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Look Again

    If you look at the full website link it lists 3 hours all the way to 8 hours (non 3DS). If you look at Apple's website the iPod lists up to 7 hours for video. If you test the iPod with Rage it is almost 4 hours. So assuming normal simple games would be the equivalent of the 7 hours video comparison then:

    3DS = 3-8 hours battery life
    iPod = 4 -7 hours battery life

    Not as different as you may think, and the iPod doesn't even do 3D.

  1. xmattingly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Realistically Speaking

    Uh, an iPod Touch can only give you a few hours of solid gaming time with ANY type of game... big whoop?

  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More MacNN FUD

    The Touch's battery life isn't that great either when playing video games. Throw in multiplayer over wifi and it's even worse. I've gotten only about a couple of hours out of my 4th gen Touch playing Infinity Blade, and that's with airplane mode enabled.

    Look, the 3DS was designed to play games, the Touch was not. Thx for the FUD, MacNN.

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