Earlier today Nintendo invited us round for a bit of a natter, and a hands-on with its upcoming new console, the Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS is a follow up to the hugely successful DS and DSi handhelds, the major difference being that the 3DS lets gamers enjoy their precious vidyagames in glorious 3D, without the need to wear any stupid-looking specs.

Tell me more about that

Happy to! Nintendo says it works thanks to the layered top screen, which features a parallax barrier over the standard display. That layer is covered in tiny slits so that each eye receives a slightly different image. The result is a stereoscopic display without any glasses.

And how does that feel?

We won’t beat around the bush, it feels blimmin’ marvelous. Wearing specs to get your 3D kicks has disadvantages -- not only do the stereoscopic lenses make you look like a bit of a tool, they have a tendency to make the image look washed out, and they rob whatever you’re watching of some of its brightness. That’s not the case with the 3DS’s display, which is extremely colourful and vivid with a resolution of 800x240 pixels. You effectively see that as 400x240, since those pixels are split between each eye. It’s looking nice and sharp too.

The 3D image has astonishing depth, and the games and footage we saw stayed in focus the whole time. It’s very impressive stuff, and if the 3D element isn’t quite right for you, you can tone the effect down, or turn it off completely using a slider on the console’s right side.

I must know more!

We’d recommend checking out our Nintendo 3DS in-depth preview article for the full report, but before doing so why not hype yourself up by clicking through this photo gallery? We have some very sexy close-ups, honest.

As for availability, Nintendo is keeping schtum regarding pricing, and all we know is that it'll be available sometime before March next year. Fingers crossed for a holiday release then.

What are your thoughts on the 3DS? Are you convinced by the technology? Is it enough to prise you away from your hard-earned cash? Sound off in the comments, or on our Facebook wall, or write a message on a brick and throw it through our office window.

Nintendo wasn't too keen on us taking any shots of the 3DS switched on. That's ok though, because the 3D effect doesn't translate to photographs
On the left is the new Slide Pad, an analogue stick that offers better control than the traditional D-pad, which is now relegated to the number two spot
The 3D slider allows players to tone down the 3D effect or turn it off completely
The Start and Select buttons have moved to below the screen, and a new Home button is present. We suspect this will mimic the Wii's 'Home' button functionality -- acting as a shortcut back to the 3DS's homescreen
3.5mm socket for headphones beneath the lower screen
The 3DS features built-in wireless connectivity
Over on the left there's a slot for an SD card
Closed, the 3DS's two front-cameras are visible. These will let you take 3D photos using the console...
...though sadly they only have a 0.3 megapixel resolution
Round the back the charging cable is evident, as well as the game slot itself. The 3DS is backwards compatible, so DS and DSi games will work fine
The A, B, X and Y buttons remain unchanged
From the side view you can see how thick the 3DS is. It's just over 2cm tall, and we reckon it'll fit quite nicely in your pocket
With a squashy human hand grasping the 3DS you can get an impression of the size of the console
Comparing the lower and upper screens, you can see that the top screen, which harbours the 3D magic, is set slightly deeper than the bottom screen. We'd wager that's due to the layered display

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