Despite everything the 3DS has to offer, its $250 price tag (and pricey games) leaves many consumers shifting nervously in their seats, though popular opinion predicts the recently announced PSP2 will trump Nintendo's handheld in terms of cost.
Retail pricing isn't the 3DS' only hurdle either. With all the new features and tech, it comes as no surprise that the 3DS is also a major power-hog, which Nintendo hasn't exactly denied. In the latest issue of Iwata Asks, 3DS systems designer Ryuji Umezu explained at length why the new device eats so much power. He attributed this to the 3D display, which not only requires the DS to render every image twice but also calls for greater brightness.
"In order to make it look just as bright as usual, you have to increase the brightness of the backlight, which increases the power used by even more," Umezu said.
So what can the player do to counter the ridiculous power consumption? Umezu suggested turning off the wireless functionality when it's not in use (of course), then mentioned the device's "power save mode." This employs an "active backlight" technology that "controls the brightness of the backlight according to the brightness of the screen being displayed."
When the screen as a whole is dark," Umezu went on to say, "the backlight itself gets darker, which saves power."
How effective is "power save mode," exactly? Without it, the 3DS' battery might last around three hours, assuming the backlight is set to the brightest level; using the energy-efficient option extends that time by as much as 10 to 20 percent -- half an hour, give or take.
"With the backlight set to the brightest level and the power save mode turned off, battery duration was about three hours. But if you use the power save mode under the same conditions, it gets about 10–20 percent longer."