Comparison of Nintendo portable consoles

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The following is a comparison of Nintendo handheld game consoles.

Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS lines[edit]

Nintendo DS[edit]

Main article: Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS (ニンテンドーDS Nintendō DS?) is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device was the first Nintendo game console to launch outside of Japan when it went on sale in North America on November 21, 2004. The DS, short for "dual screen",[1] introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: an LCD screen working in tandem with a touchscreen, a built-in microphone, and support for wireless connectivity.[2] Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they can interact online using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

Prior to its release, the Nintendo DS was marketed as a "third pillar" in Nintendo's console lineup, meant to complement the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. However, backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance titles and strong sales ultimately established the new handheld console as the successor to the Game Boy series. On March 2, 2006, Nintendo launched the Nintendo DS Lite, a slimmer and lighter redesign of the original Nintendo DS with brighter screens. On November 1, 2008, Nintendo released the Nintendo DSi, another redesign with several hardware improvements and new features. As of December 31, 2013, all Nintendo DS models combined have sold 153.98 million units,[3] making it the best selling handheld game console to date.

Nintendo 3DS[edit]

Main article: Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS (ニンテンドー3DS Nintendō Surī Dī Esu?, abbreviated to 3DS) is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is an autostereoscopic device capable of projecting stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or additional accessories.[4] Nintendo announced the device in March 2010 and officially unveiled it at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010.[5][6] The console succeeds the Nintendo DS, featuring backward compatibility with older Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi video games,[4] and competes with the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld console.[7]

The Nintendo 3DS was first released on February 26, 2011.[8][9] Less than six months later on July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a significant price reduction from US$249 to US$169 amid disappointing sales.[10] The company offered ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten free Game Boy Advance games from the Nintendo eShop to consumers who bought the system at the original launch price.[11]

A partially redesigned version of the console, the Nintendo 3DS XL, was released on July 28, 2012. It features screens that are 90% larger than the original Nintendo 3DS.[12]


Product line Nintendo 3DS Nintendo DS
Name New Nintendo 3DS XL New Nintendo 3DS Nintendo 2DS Nintendo 3DS XL Nintendo 3DS Nintendo DSi XL Nintendo DSi Nintendo DS Lite Nintendo DS
Logo New Nintendo 3DS logo.png New Nintendo 3DS logo.png Logo-nintendo2ds.png Nintendo 3DS XL logo.png Nintendo 3DS (logo).svg Nintendo DSi XL logo.svg Nintendo DSi logo.svg Nintendo DS Lite logo.svg Nintendo DS Logo.svg
Console New Nintendo 3DS XL Nintendo 2DS Nintendo 3DS XL Nintendo 3DS Nintendo DSi XL An opened clamshell dual-screen handheld device. A camera is embedded in the internal hinge. Nintendo DS Lite An original Nintendo DS
In production Current Discontinued
Generation Eighth generation Seventh generation
Release date
            • NA 12 October 2013
            • JP 28 July 2012
            • EU 28 July 2012
            • NA 19 August 2012
            • AUS 23 August 2012
            • JP 26 February 2011
            • EU 25 March 2011
            • NA 27 March 2011
            • AUS 31 March 2011
            • JP 21 November 2009
            • EU 5 March 2010
            • NA 28 March 2010
            • AUS 15 April 2010
            • JP 1 November 2008
            • AUS 2 April 2009
            • EU 3 April 2009
            • NA 5 April 2009
            • JP 2 March 2006
            • AUS 1 June 2006
            • NA 11 June 2006
            • EU 23 June 2006
            • AUS 24 February 2005
            • EU 11 March 2005
            Launch price ¥


            Current price Same as the launch price. Same as the launch price. Same as the launch price. Same as the launch price. Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued
            Units shipped Worldwide: 42.74 million (as of December 31, 2013)[3] Worldwide: 153.98 million (as of December 31, 2013)[3]
            Best-selling game Pokémon X and Y, 12 million units (as of July 7, 2012) New Super Mario Bros., 30.38 million units (as of July 7, 2012)
            3D enabled Yes (adjustable depth) No Yes (adjustable depth) No
            Display Autostereoscopic (3D) Autostereoscopic (3D) 3.52 in (90 mm) Autostereoscopic (3D) 4.88 in (124 mm)[17] Autostereoscopic (3D) 3.53 in (90 mm)[17] 4.2 in (107 mm) 3.25 in (83 mm) 3.12 in (79 mm) 3.0 in (76 mm)
            Upper: 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 WQVGA per eye) 256 × 192 px (both screens)[13]
            Lower: 320 × 240 QVGA
            approximately 16.77 million colors[17] 262,144 colors[18]
            5 brightness levels 4 brightness levels Backlight On/Off toggle
            Processor Dual-core ARM11 133 MHz ARM9 and 33 MHz ARM7 67 MHz ARM946E-S and 33 MHz ARM7TDMI
            Graphics Digital Media Professionals PICA200[19] Nintendo proprietary
            Memory 128 MB FCRAM[20] 16 MB PSRAM 4 MB SRAM
            (expandable via Game Boy Advance slot)
            Camera One front-facing and two outward-facing 0.3 MP (VGA) sensors[17] Front-facing and outward-facing 0.3 MP sensors None
            Storage 4 GB SD Card included[21]
            (expandable up to 128 GB via SD/SDHC/SDXC cards)
            2 GB SD Card included[22]
            (expandable up to 128 GB via SD/SDHC/SDXC cards)
            Expandable up to 32 GB via SD/SDHC card slot None
            Physical media Nintendo 3DS Game Card (1-8 GB)

            Nintendo DS Game Card (8-512 MB)

            Nintendo DS Game Card (8-512 MB) Nintendo DS Game Card (8-512 MB)
            Game Boy Advance Game Cartridge (2-32 MB)
            Input controls
            • D-pad
            • A/B/X/Y, L/R, and START/SELECT buttons
            • Touchscreen
            • Microphone
            • Camera
            • D-pad
            • A/B/X/Y, L/R, and START/SELECT buttons
            • Touchscreen
            • Microphone[13]
            Battery  ???? mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 3.5–5.5 hours (determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi and sound volume)[23]
            1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 3.5–6.5 hours (determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and 3D effect)[24][25]
            1300 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 3–5 hours (determined by screen brightness, Wi-Fi, sound volume, and 3D effect)[17]
            1050 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 13–17 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
            • 4–5 hours (on the brightest)[26]
            840 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 9–14 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
            • 3–4 hours (on the brightest)[26]
            1000 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 15–19 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
            • 5–8 hours (on the brightest)[27]
            850 mAh lithium-ion battery
            • 6–10 hours
              (determined by screen brightness, wireless, and sound volume)[13]
            5–9 hours for DS compatibility mode 6–10 hours for DS compatibility mode 5–8 hours for DS compatibility mode
            • Integrated 802.11b/g
              (only compatible with WEP or unencrypted networks while playing regular Nintendo DS games)[28]
            • Integrated 802.11 (legacy mode)
              (only compatible with WEP or unencrypted networks)[29]
            Stylus 96 mm (3.8 in) long[30] 96 mm (3.8 in) long Extendable up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long[17] 96 mm (3.8 in) long × 4.9 mm (0.19 in) wide 92 mm (3.6 in) long × 4.9 mm (0.19 in) wide 87.5 mm (3.44 in) long × 4.9 mm (0.19 in) wide 75 mm (3.0 in) long × 4 mm (0.16 in) wide
            Weight 260 grams (9.2 oz) 336 grams (11.9 oz)[25] 235 grams (8.3 oz)[31] 314 grams (11.1 oz) 214 grams (7.5 oz) 218 grams (7.7 oz) 275 grams (9.7 oz)

            160 mm (6.3 in) W
            93.5 mm (3.68 in) D 21.5 mm (0.85 in) H

            144 mm (5.7 in) W
            127 mm (5.0 in) D 20.3 mm (0.80 in) H

            156 mm (6.1 in) W
            93 mm (3.7 in) D
            22 mm (0.87 in) H [25]

            134 mm (5.3 in) W
            74 mm (2.9 in) D
            22 mm (0.87 in) H [17]

            161 mm (6.3 in) W
            91.4 mm (3.60 in) D
            21.2 mm (0.83 in) H

            137 mm (5.4 in) W
            74.9 mm (2.95 in) D
            18.9 mm (0.74 in) H

            133 mm (5.2 in) W
            73.9 mm (2.91 in) D
            21.5 mm (0.85 in) H

            148.7 mm (5.85 in) W
            84.7 mm (3.33 in) D
            28.9 mm (1.14 in) H[13]

            Colors and styles List of Nintendo 3DS colors and styles List of Nintendo DS colors and styles
            Online services Nintendo Network Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
            Preloaded applications
            • Nintendo DS/DSi Game Card launcher
            • Brain Age Reading
            • Brain Age Math
            • DS Download Play
            • Nintendo DSi Browser
            • Nintendo DSi Camera
            • Nintendo DSi Shop
            • Nintendo DSi Sound
            • PictoChat[13]
            • Flipnote Studio
            • System Settings
            Regional lockout Yes Yes No
            List of games List of Nintendo 3DS games List of Nintendo DS games
            Backward compatibility

            Nintendo Game Cards

            Nintendo DS/DSi Game Card

            Downloadable only

            N/A Game Boy Advance Game Pak
            (single-player only)

            Game Boy and Game Boy Advance lines[edit]

            Main article: Game Boy line

            The Game Boy (ゲームボーイ Gēmu Bōi ?) line is a line[32] of battery-powered handheld game consoles sold by Nintendo. It is one of the world's best-selling game system lines, with a combined 200+ million units sold worldwide.[3][33] The Game Boy line games (including Game Boy Advance software for Ambassadors) has made a return via the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

            Game Boy[edit]

            Main article: Game Boy

            The first is the 8-bit Game Boy (ゲームボーイ Gēmu Bōi?), developed since 1986 and released in Japan and in North America in 1989 (1989), and in Europe in 1990 (1990). It was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.[34]

            In 1996, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket: a smaller, lighter unit. The Pocket has a smaller link port, which requires an adapter to link with the older Game Boy. The Game Boy Light was released in 1998[35] and was only available in Japan. The Game Boy Light is only slightly bigger than the Game Boy Pocket and features an Electroluminescent backlight for low-light conditions. Both the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Light require fewer batteries (2 AAA batteries and 2 AA batteries, respectively) than the original Game Boy (4 AA batteries).

            Game Boy Color[edit]

            Main article: Game Boy Color

            The Game Boy Color (ゲームボーイカラー Gēmu Bōi Karā"?) is the 8-bit[36] successor to the Game Boy, and was released in 1998 in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than the Game Boy Pocket. It requires 2 AA batteries. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide.[3][37]

            Game Boy Advance[edit]

            Main article: Game Boy Advance

            The Game Boy Advance (ゲームボーイアドバンス Gēmu Bōi Adobansu?, often shortened to GBA) is the 32-bit successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan, North America, Australia and Europe in 2001; and in the People's Republic of China in 2004 (excluding Hong Kong). The Game Boy Advance SP (ゲームボーイアドバンスSP Gēmu Bōi Adobansu Essu Pī?), released in 2003,[38] is an upgraded version of the Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in Game Boy Advance SP stands for Special.[39] The SP was marketed at US$99.99 at launch. In September 2004, Nintendo lowered the price to US$79.99. The SP is accompanied by the Nintendo DS (released in 2004) and the Game Boy Micro (released in 2005). The Game Boy Micro (ゲームボーイミクロ Gēmu Bōi Mikuro?), first released in 2005, as another version of the Game Boy Advance, is the last console of the Game Boy line. It is smaller and provides 5 backlight levels.


            Comparison of the Game Boy game systems
            Product line Game Boy Advance Game Boy Color Game Boy
            Name Game Boy Micro Game Boy Advance SP Game Boy Advance Game Boy Color Game Boy Light Game Boy Pocket Game Boy
            Logo Gameboy micro logo.svg Game Boy Advance SP logo.gif Gameboy advance logo.svg Game Boy Color logo.png Nintendo Game Boy Light Logo.png Nintendo Game Boy Pocket Logo.png Nintendo Game Boy Logo.gif
            Console Game-Boy-Micro.png Game-Boy-Advance-SP-Mk1-Blue.png Game-Boy-Advance-1stGen.png Nintendo-Game-Boy-Color-FL.jpg Game-Boy-Light-FL.jpg Game-Boy-Pocket-FL.jpg Game-Boy-FL.jpg
            In production Discontinued
            Generation Sixth generation Fifth generation Fourth generation
            Release date
            • AUS 3 November 2005
            • PAL 28 March 2003
            • JP 21 March 2001
            • NA 11 June 2001
            • PAL 22 June 2001
            • JP 21 October 1998
            • NA 18 November 1998
            • PAL 23 November 1998
            • AUS 27 November 1998
            • NA 3 September 1996
            • EU 28 September 1990
            Launch price ¥12,000[40]








            ¥6,800 ¥6,800




            Units shipped Worldwide: 81.51 million (as of December 31, 2013).[3] Worldwide: 118.69 million (as of December 31, 2013)[3][48]
            Best-selling game

            Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, 13 million combined (as of November 25, 2004)[49]

            Pokémon Gold and Silver,
            23 million combined[50]

            Tetris, 30.26 million (pack-in/separately)
            Pokémon Red and Blue, 23.64 million approximately (as of January 18, 2009).[51]

            Display 2 in (51 mm) 2.9 in (74 mm) 2.36 in (60 mm) 2.56 in (65 mm)
            240 × 160 px[52][53] 160 × 144 px[54][55][56]
            511 simultaneous colors in character mode
            32,768 simultaneous colors in bitmap mode[52]
            10, 32 or 56 simultaneous colors
            (from a 32,768 color palette)[56]
            4 shades of "gray"[54]

            (light to very dark olive green (2-bit))[55]

            5 brightness levels Frontlight On/Off toggle (AGS-001)
            Backlight Bright/Normal toggle (AGS-101)
            No backlight No backlight Frontlight On/Off toggle No backlight No backlight
            Audio 6 channels
            (two 8-bit "Direct Sound" PCM channels, plus the 4 channels from Game Boy)
            4 channels
            (2 square wave channels, 1 PCM 4-bit wave sample channel, 1 noise channel and 1 audio input from the cartridge)[54][56]
            Single mono speaker[54][57]
            Stereo headphone jack
            Stereo headphone jack
            (for headphones specifically designed for the GBA SP)
            Stereo headphone jack
            Processor 16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI
            4 or 8 MHz 8-bit Z80 coprocessor for Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulation, and as a tone generator in Game Boy Advance games
            4 or 8 MHz 8-bit Zilog Z80 4.19 MHz 8-bit custom Sharp LR35902
            Memory 256 kB WRAM (outside the CPU)
            32 kB + 96 kB VRAM (internal to the CPU)
            32 kB RAM
            16 kB VRAM
            8 kB S-RAM[58] (can be extended up to 32 kB)[55]
            8 kB VRAM[54]
            Physical media Game Boy Advance Game Cartridge (2-32 MB) Game Boy Advance Game Cartridge (2-32 MB)

            Game Boy Color Game Cartridge
            Game Boy Game Cartridge
            (32 kB - 1 MB)

            Game Boy Color Game Cartridge

            Game Boy Game Cartridge
            (32 kB - 1 MB)

            Game Boy Game Cartridge (32 kB - 1 MB)[54]
            Input controls
            • D-pad
            • A/B, L/R, and START/SELECT buttons
            • D-pad
            • A/B and START/SELECT buttons
            Batteries 460 mAh lithium-ion battery 700 mAh lithium-ion battery[59]
            • 18 hours (AGS-001 light off)
            • 10 hours (AGS-001 light on)[41][42]
            2 AA batteries
            • 15 hours

            (dependent on the Game Pak being played and volume setting)[60]

            2 AA batteries 2 AA batteries
            • 20 hours (light off)
            • 12 hours (light on)[43]
            2 AAA batteries 4 AA batteries
            Connectivity Fourth generation link port Third generation link port Second generation link port First generation link port
            N/A Infrared port N/A
            Weight 80 grams (2.8 oz) 142 grams (5.0 oz) 140 grams (4.9 oz) 138 grams (4.9 oz)[61] 190 grams (6.7 oz)[43] 150 grams (5.3 oz)[44] Unknown

            101 mm (4.0 in) W
            50 mm (2.0 in) D
            17.2 mm (0.68 in) H

            84 mm (3.3 in) W
            82 mm (3.2 in) D
            24 mm (0.94 in) H

            144 mm (5.7 in) W
            82 mm (3.2 in) D
            24.5 mm (0.96 in) H

            75 mm (3.0 in) W
            133 mm (5.2 in) D
            27 mm (1.1 in) H

            80 mm (3.1 in) W
            135 mm (5.3 in) D
            29 mm (1.1 in) H[43]

            77.6 mm (3.06 in) W
            127.6 mm (5.02 in) D
            25.3 mm (1.00 in) H[44]

            90 mm (3.5 in) W
            148 mm (5.8 in) D
            32 mm (1.3 in) H

            Colors and styles List of Game Boy colors and styles
            Regional lockout No
            List of games List of Game Boy Advance games List of Game Boy Color games List of games for the original Game Boy
            Backward compatibility N/A[62] Game Boy
            Game Boy Color[52]
            Game Boy N/A

            Game & Watch[edit]

            Donkey Kong 2 (Multi Screen), 1983. The Nintendo DS has a similar form.
            Main article: Game & Watch

            Game & Watch or G&W is a line of handheld electronic games produced by Nintendo from 1980 to 1991. Created by game designer Gunpei Yokoi, each Game & Watch features a single game to be played on an LCD screen in addition to a clock and an alarm. 43.4 million copies of the 59 games were sold worldwide. It was the earliest Nintendo product to garner major success.[63] The device was known as Tricotronic in Germany.


            There were 59 different Game & Watch games produced for sale and one that was only available as a contest prize, making 60 in all.[64] The prize game was given to winners of Nintendo's F-1 Grand Prix tournament, a yellow-cased version of Super Mario Bros. that came in a plastic box modeled after the Disk-kun character Nintendo used to advertise their Famicom Disk System.[65] As only 10,000 units were produced and it was never available for retail sale, the yellow version is considered rare.[64]

            Mario the Juggler, released in 1991, was the last game created in the Game & Watch series.[66]

            Software compatibility[edit]

            Software compatibility[67]
            Software Hardware
            Nintendo 3DS[a]
            Nintendo 3DS XL[a]
            Nintendo 2DS
            Nintendo DSi
            Nintendo DSi XL
            Nintendo DS
            Nintendo DS Lite
            Game Boy Micro Game Boy Advance
            Game Boy Advance SP
            Game Boy Color Game Boy
            Game Boy Pocket
            Game Boy Light
            3DS Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
            DSi (DSi-exclusive)
            and DSiWare
            Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
            DS Green tickY[b] Green tickY[b] Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
            GBA Some via Virtual Console [c] Red XN Green tickY
            (single-player only)
            Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN
            GBC Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
            GB Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY

            ^ a Only 3DS software can be played in 3D. DS and DSiWare software will be displayed in 2D.
            ^ b Playthrough and features in some DS games that require use of accessories in the GBA slot cannot be completed on the system that lack GBA slot.
            ^ c GBC and GB games available only via the eShop are playable on the Nintendo 3DS system. There are also ten GBA games available exclusively for Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors. Physical cartridges remain incompatible.

            Size comparison[edit]

            See also[edit]


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