So, it was an innocuous tweet:
Who’s thinking about getting a 3DS XL, then? Out tomorrow in the UK. And I like it a lot more than the original model. ttp://is.gd/bWmlKF
But it got me thinking: why would I?
Let’s do a quick breakdown here. A 3DS XL is around £180-£200. For this, according to Wikipedia, you get an ARM CPU clocked at around 233MHz, 128MB of FCRAM, 2GB of storage (SD expandable), and two screens, one with a 400x240 4.88” display in autostereoscopic 3D, and another 4.2” display that’s a 320x240 single input resistive touch screen. Typical battery life for heavy use? 3-4 hours tops.
My current phone, a nigh-2 years old iPhone 4, has a Cortex-A4 CPU clocked somewhere between 866MHz and 1GHz, 512MB of eDRAM, 16GB of storage, and a 960x640 3.5” capacitative multi-touch display. Heavy usage makes the battery drain in around 5 hours.
Yes, my phone is worth more. Here is the rub, however:
This is the Ainol Novo 7 Elf II 7” Android tablet. It has a dual core 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage expandable by MicroSD cards, and a 1024x600 7” multi-touch screen. It is also… £88. It has a 7 hour battery life under heavy load.
Don’t like unbranded? £20 less than the 3DS XL is the 8GB version of Google’s lovely new Nexus 7 tablet. That’s a quad core Tegra 3 CPU running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 1280x800 IPS LCD 7” multi-touch display. 8 hours of battery life, too. Oh, and £15 of store credit, and a free film.
All of the three non-Nintendo devices share some great features; fast CPUs, great displays, multifunctional apps, multi-touch displays, and cheap software. And for those who want to say “but it misses that Nintendo magic”:
Baldur’s Gate will be on all 3 by the end of the year. There are many free iOS and Android games just as lovely and quirky. There are games by Square Enix, EA, Activision, and many other big studios.
It’s no wonder handheld sales have dropped so far so fast; they just aren’t trying to keep up, at all.
This time next Monday, I’ll be sat in this chair, staring intently at the screen. I’ll be watching probably 3 liveblogs at the same time, tabbing between browser pages to ensure I don’t miss anything. And the day after, and probably the day after that. Why? Because it’s E3 again, and that matters.