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Nintendo DS Fact Sheet Breakdown

by Daniel Bloodworth - September 20, 2004, 10:43 pm EDT
Total comments: 3 Source: Nintendo

Nintendo's fact sheet reveals a few more tidbits that we look over and break down.

In addition to the price and release date bomb they dropped on our heads this morning, Nintendo also released a more complete fact sheet on the hardware. A few notes caught our eye, and we wanted to be sure to point out some bits you may have missed.

Top Screen: A backlit, 3-inch, semitransparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256 x 192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch, capable of displaying 260,000 colors

For comparison, the GBA screen resolution is 240 x 160. So the DS screens are going to have a similar pixel resolution at a slightly larger size, but the difference comes in with the huge increase in the color palette: 260,000 from the GBA's 32,768.

Wireless Communication: IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo’s proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet, depending on circumstances; multiple users can play multiplayer games using just one DS Game Card

Again, Nintendo reiterates the wireless range and multiplayer functions, but they're still not revealing anything about their proprietary wireless technology. What does stand out here is the first use of the term "Game Card" in reference to DS media. Not that many people ever used Nintendo's "Game Pak" moniker, but it does suggest that the media is more similar to a card for your digital camera than a traditional cartridge. Nintendo also gladly repeats that the DS can handle single-card multiplayer. Let's hope that the increased specs allow it to be used more often than it was on GBA.

Controls: Touch screen, embedded microphone for voice recognition, A/B/X/Y face buttons, plus control pad, L/R shoulder buttons, Start and Select buttons

This is essentially retreaded water from E3, but it does confirm that there is an internal microphone embedded, even if external mics are released later.

Input/Output: Ports for both Nintendo DS Game Cards and Game Boy® Advance Game Paks, terminals for stereo headphones and microphone

All the input and output terminals are listed here, and there's no GBA link port to be found. The press release completely nails the coffin with this phrase: "compatible with single-player modes". So backwards compatibility clearly isn't the biggest goal with the DS, but it does allow Nintendo to toss new gadgets in the slot and play around a bit with connecting software, not to mention touting the hundreds of titles already on the shelf at launch. After the DS is on the market though, are you really going to regret not being able to use cables?

Also, that "mystery slot" next to the headphone jack is certainly the external microphone port listed here, as photos clearly show an image of a headset with microphone attached.

Other features: Embedded PictoChat software that allows up to 16 users to chat at once, embedded real-time clock, date, time and alarm, touch-screen calibration

At E3, we made sure to tell Nintendo to include PictoChat with the system, and whether they took our advice or were planning it all along, we're glad they embedded it in the system. PictoChat may very well be the feature that allows the DS to distinguish itself from every other Nintendo handheld, taking the isolation out of portable gaming. The new alarm clock feature furthers its role as a handy travel companion as well.

Battery: Lithium ion battery delivering six to 10 hours of play on a four-hour charge, depending on use; power-saving sleep mode; AC adapter

Finally the DS battery life is revealed. Six to ten hours is a bit less than the GBA SP (which lists a solid ten hours with the light on), but is still impressive for backlights on two screens and should be adequate for most trips. Also note that the DS takes about an hour longer to charge than the GBA SP. The real test for comparison will come when the PSP nears completion, and Sony's battery conditions can be confirmed.

Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian

Excellent news for importers around the globe. While this doesn't entirely confirm that the DS will be region free, it points strongly in that direction.

Color: Silver and black [one scheme: see current images]

Nintendo is launching with a single color scheme, most likely to ensure faster production times. Early adopters may be a bit annoyed with this, but if there's anything we know about Nintendo, we can be sure that a flood of colors and designs will come within the next year.


WolfpackEESeptember 21, 2004

Will an SP with the wireless adapter be able to play with a DS on a GBA wireless capable game (such as the new Pokemon games)?

jarobSeptember 21, 2004

Any word if it uses the ARM920T or ARM922T?

BlkPaladinSeptember 21, 2004

I'm going to have to say a no to the Pokemon thing. Because even though its a wireless adapter it uses the cable port thus Nintendo's version of "firewire" proctol they used for the Advances cable. Simply put the game will probally not be able to talk to the DS's wireless ability.

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