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Nintendo Portables (Games) Power Games

Nintendo 3DS Battery Is Quick To Die and Slow To Charge 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the 3-d-may-have-been-a-reference-to-extra-batteries dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Opposable Thumbs blog: "The battery in the Nintendo 3DS is as bad as we had feared, and it's a major impediment to enjoying the system. ... With the screen at a reasonable brightness, 3D and wireless turned off when the game allowed it, and no sound, we were about to get to a little over 4.5 hours of playtime. If you like a brighter screen, keep 3D turned on, or if you have that speaker going, that time is only going to go down. ... Using the cradle whenever the system isn't being played is a habit you're going to want to pick up, especially with a charging time of around three and a half hours."
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Nintendo 3DS Battery Is Quick To Die and Slow To Charge

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  • Pick 2 for handhelds: Slim, slow, long lasting, powerful, large.

    • by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:10PM (#35563072)

      Pick 2 for handhelds: Slim, slow, long lasting, powerful, large.

      Slim and large, please.

    • by fredmosby (545378)

      Pick 2 for handhelds: Slim, slow, long lasting, powerful, large.

      Unless you're talking about an iPad.

    • Although I think you missed the point of the "Pick 2" gag, much like the DS(1), the 3DS has already foregone "powerful". It's an ARM11 CPU, little RAM, and a GPU that's basically OpenGL ES 1.1 (iPhone 1 era) with a couple extra fixed-function features. The only thing not out of date is the 3D screen, but that's something that can be turned off.

      With the 3D screen turned off it should by all means be small and long lasting, but this is not the case. Instead it's just small; small, short lasting, slow, and not

    • long lasting, powerful, large.

      But I regularly receive emails suggesting I can have all three of these things!

    • My Dell Streak 5" is reasonably slim, powerful and fast and gives me over 8 hours a day of functional usage. No, that's not idle time.

  • Whoa... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Blues_39 (2003458) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:11PM (#35563078)
    Game Gear flashback incoming.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      At least the Game Gear had an optional TV tuner.

    • Re:Whoa... (Score:5, Funny)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:29PM (#35563348)

      Not to mention the Lynx, the PSP... When will these companies ever learn that lean and cheap outsells powerful and expensive? They make the same mistakes over and over again, and Nintendo eats their lunch.

      I'm confident that Nintendo will steamroll over whoever makes this "3DS" thing.

      • Their only competitor has demonstrated a machine that's supposed to be as powerful as a PS3, the system that could heat your entire house. I think it's safe to assume Nintendo will still have the upper hand.

    • The Game Gear had bitchin' games and wasn't region-locked or remote-brickable. The 3DS can only wish it was a Game Gear.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Game Gear flashback incoming.

      So, Nintendo is making a Shaq-fu for the 3DS?

      Hey, one can dream, right?

    • At least the game gear used regular AA batteries. Get a bunch of rechargeables and you had limitless play time.
  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:15PM (#35563152)
    4.5 hours is still about 4 times what I get on my laptop, and twice what I get on my PSP.
    Not to mention I'm a loser and have access to electrical outlets almost 24/7
    • by dkf (304284)

      4.5 hours is still about 4 times what I get on my laptop

      Come on, be sensible! Either your battery's hosed and should be replaced, or you need to stop using that laptop with high-performance-computing class loads. Whichever it is, you're doing something wrong...

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by llZENll (545605) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:16PM (#35563156)

    You know kids are spoiled when they have a mobile gaming system that is 3D and think that 4.5 hours of battery is short! It's also a testament to Nintendo's games and system when 4.5 hours can be over before you know it. That is a long time. Seriously, if 4.5 hours of battery is the biggest complaint they have about this system I have no idea why this is front page news, the battery looks like you can just pop in a new one so what is the big deal?

    • Nintendo handhelds have traditionally been great on battery life. Even the newer DS gets over 10 hours.

      So I don't think it's so much as complaining (ok, it is) but that people are used to Nintendo gear lasting through a long car ride / flight.

    • by chispito (1870390)

      You know kids are spoiled

      I think you know kids are spoiled when their parents buy them a $250 handhelds.

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        As a parent currently on the 'you cheap bastard' end of the what to get the kids for there birthday discussion, I salute you, sir.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Eh, just make them draw their own video games and have their friend play the bad guys. I know that worked really well when I was a kid. Sigh, kids today have no idea how good they've got it. I remember wasting hours of Vanguard and all sorts of primitive by today's standards games.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Inflation adjusted it's not much more expensive than the original Gameboy ($180 in 2011 dollars) and that sold 120M units.
      • That's what stuff costs these days. When parents are spending $100/mo on phones with fart apps, I can hardly blame kids.

    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SethThresher (1958152) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:51PM (#35563572)
      On top of that, this assumes that you have someone who would regularly sit down and play this 3DS, uninterrupted, for over 4 and a half hours. FOUR AND A HALF HOURS. For an adult like most of us here, at that point you're probably shirking some responsibility, not to mention eating, etc. For a teenager, when was the last time any teen had that much uninterrupted time free of homework, school, chores, sports, clubs, and all that crazy stuff? For a child, just for starters kids are advised to have, at a maximum, no more than 2 hours of screentime a day. And really, how many attentive and effective parents would allow their kid to veg out for that long? Sure, we have the irresponsible, the lazy, etc, but that's not what this is meant for. Yes, 4.5 hours is a heck of a lot shorter than the 12+ I get from my DS Lite with the brightness turned down and the WiFi off, but I'm not going to sit there and use it in one sitting. You will have outliers and extenuating circumstances, long car rides/flights included, but if you know you're going to be in a situation like that, you can probably plan for better than one form of entertainment for that long.

      Yes, Nintendo can try and engineer a fix for someone who wants to play gameboy for 6 hours straight, but should they? 4.5 is perfectly usable for normal use. Just get in the habit of plugging it in to charge when you're done playing.
      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        I think the problem is not playing for so long without interruption but playing for so long before you get to the next usable outlet. For instance, a family could decide to go on vacation and little Billy in the backseat is going to get bored fast unless his 3DS is in working condition. A ten hour drive is not unreasonable. Yes, there are breaks during the travel and yes, there will probably be outlets during those breaks and the family might even be allowed to use them but Billy's father is probably not go
        • by afidel (530433)
          Dude, inverter. Ours is always available during car trips for powering or recharging all sorts of electronic gizmo's. If you're going camping the whole idea is to leave society behind (though I will admit I'll be watching the basketball game Friday from the cabin on my phone).
      • I don't think the desire (at least not on everyone's part) is to play the system for more than 4.5 hours at a stretch. I think people would like a portable that can be charged up and brought out at various points over a period of days without worrying that it will need a recharge. This is exactly what the DS, the Ipad, and the kindle deliver. Once charged, these devices are ready to go for a bit of fun spread out over a period of days.

        A 3ds, is likely not going to be great on a camping trip (yes, i'd hop
      • Longer battery life extends the time before you need to find a wall socket. Even if you don't play for longer than 30 minutes, a shorter battery life will mean less flexibility and more instances of it running out when you really wanted it.

        For a child, just for starters kids are advised to have, at a maximum, no more than 2 hours of screentime a day.

        OMG. You must either be over 40 or be very delusional.

    • 4.5 hours is what I'd call sad ... note that the metric is just a useful one based on time-to-die from a full charge while playing under certain settings. Realistic use is going to be play for an hour or few, suspend, play some more, suspend, etc. This eats up that juice with a lot of non-play-time. Unless you're diligent about plugging it in every time you turn it off (unreasonable for what should be a portable unit), every time you turn this on it'll be dead or dying.

      This is essentially the insult on t

      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        This is essentially the insult on top of the "barely upgraded graphics" and "3D gives you a headache and only works if the device and your head are absolutely stationary" injury. (If you don't believe these are true, go try one ... Best Buy has demo units. 3D is definitely cool and I'd rather they just used polarized glasses.)

        They also had demo units at PAX East. Somewhat strangely, the demo was a 3D Augmented Reality game. You had to aim the 3DS cameras to hit targets displayed in 3D. For example, the AR would generate a hole in the table with a target at the bottom. You'd have to move the 3DS over the hole to be able to aim at the target.

        Ultimately, all this moving of the 3DS meant that it was incredibly easy to lose the 3D effect. Especially because the 3DS was tethered to the table, so I at least couldn't hold it up to eye-l

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Possibly because four and a half hours is the best case scenario. That's playing without sound, without Wi-Fi, and without 3D.

      Actually, the article's really confusing on the "without 3D" bit since it says they played without 3D "when the game allowed it" - but I think that's an editing mistake, and the "when the game allowed it" refers only to Wi-Fi being off, but I'm not sure.

      In any case, if you turn on sound and turn on 3D - you know, like most people will probably do, given that the 3D is kind of the poi

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      It's not 3D with 4.5 hours of battery. And 4.5 hours doesn't last for a cross country flight let along for a significant portion of that trip to Australia. And it looks like you need to unscrew a few screws to change the battery something that is not really practical on a plane (too easy to lose the tiny screws, too much fun getting the screw driver though security).

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      It may not be frequently, but I've averaged over one flight a year of 12+ hours. Being able to use it for that period is a plus. Having it not last long enough is frustrating, especially since almost all its predecessors were able to hit that time. And carrying multiple batteries to swap in when you are leaving for an extended trip is an extra weight and expense.
    • That is a long time. Seriously, if 4.5 hours of battery is the biggest complaint they have about this system I have no idea why this is front page news, the battery looks like you can just pop in a new one so what is the big deal?

      Seriously! This game system does 3D with no glasses! No glasses!

      It's a little magic box that will let a kid play for

      1.) Half of a work day

      2.) Two-Thirds of the non-school waking hours of the average kid

      3.) A 300 mile road trip

      C'mon, I know the 2D game systems that it replaces have longer battery life, but I grew up with the Original Game-Boy using 4 ni-cad AA's for a B&W experience and thought 6 hours was amazing.

      I'm sure the 9th generation of a device that does this will have better battery life -

    • by Simon80 (874052)
      The GBC used to get 28 hours on a pair of alkaline Duracell batteries for me back in 1999. It's a lot less convenient to have to worry about recharging after every use instead of rarely.
    • by Millennium (2451)

      You know kids are spoiled when they have a mobile gaming system that is 3D and think that 4.5 hours of battery is short!

      They're not spoiled, they're just concerned that this is style-over-substance. Battery life is arguably the most important feature a portable system can have, because if the thing won't turn on when you want to play, nothing else matters: you've got an expensive brick. Popping in a new battery is not an acceptable substitute, because it means paying even more money for something the system should have had built in.

  • by prakslash (681585) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:19PM (#35563208)
    To be sure, it isn't the battery that is "bad".
    It is the same Li-ion rechargeable battery used in prior systems.
    It even has more capacity: 1300 mAh. This is about 50% more than the 850 mAh battery used in DSi and 30% more than the 1000mAh batteries used in DsiXL and DSLite.

    The problem, as the Republicans in the US often say, is spending. With the brighter screens necessary for 3D, wi-fi and better video and sound support, the thing will suck juice like a mutha.
    The other option for Nintendo would have been to tack on a laptop style battery which wouldn't work for a portable game system.
    • by tgibbs (83782)

      Not to mention that a 3D system has to do twice as much perspective calculation to render the image, as it has to generate two full images, one for each eye, for each frame.

    • by springbox (853816)
      You mean something like this [nyko.com]? It looks more reasonable than most of the extended laptop batteries that I've seen.
    • by Millennium (2451)

      The other option for Nintendo would have been to tack on a laptop style battery which wouldn't work for a portable game system.

      No, the other option was for Nintendo to accept that the technology for a 3D gaming handheld wasn't ready yet, and either scale back the system to something suitable for a handheld or, better yet, let the DS continue to ride its market dominance and hope that the 3D technology improved to something with reasonable power consumption in the meantime.

  • by jijacob (943393) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:21PM (#35563246) Homepage
    To be honest, that seems like a reasonable life considering what it is doing. For those that feel it is a deal-breaker, I'm sure there are options to extend the battery.
    • To be honest, that seems like a reasonable life considering what it is doing.

      The capabilities of the 3DS are damn cool. In that much, we agree.

      But it's also a portable gaming system. Portability, and independence from being tethered to a charger, are very important criteria for such a device. 4.5 hours is plenty for a single play session: but the idea of a portable gaming system is that you can bring it with you - places where it may not be possible (or at least not convenient) to plug in and charge for a while.

      Let's say I'm taking this thing to an anime convention...

      (Frank Drebi

  • The DS Lite would get between 8 and 10 hours of battery life. It was pretty great. Roughly half is a pretty big step down comparatively, even if it's still decent, especially considering the unit's size, power, and capability.

  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbesNO@SPAMxmsnet.nl> on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:38PM (#35563462)

    It's my observation that short charging times lead to early battery replacement. I'd rather the charger take it a bit slower and avoid overheating or overcharging the battery.

    • by cyberfin (1454265)
      I have to agree. Plus, I'm guessing nintendo does NOT want the 3DS to be plagued with complaints of bad battery lifespan
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I have to agree. Plus, I'm guessing nintendo does NOT want the 3DS to be plagued with complaints of bad battery lifespan

        Less that, more "battery fires" that have plagued many devices in the past. Especially Apple, but that could be due to sheer numbers.

    • by sjames (1099)

      LiIon is rated to charge at 1C. Charge it at 1A (0.77C) to be gentle with it and it should charge a bit under 1.5 hours. I have seen standard roughly AAA sized cells with protective electronics built in for $4, they should use 3 of those and make it all a non-issue.

  • by bhcompy (1877290)
    Doesn't really bother me, but I'm not getting one anyways. My son might. Either way, more juice than my PSP(which I don't mind) or my laptop.
  • Besides keeping the cost and and size down by not fitting in a larger battery, this could also be a strategic choice to help reduce potential claims of eye strain/injury due to extended play sessions. They've already warned that children shouldn't really use the 3D feature on it, and even adults probably shouldn't use it more than a couple of hours at a time, as our eyes aren't really meant to look at "faked" 3D for extended periods of time.

    I actually got a chance to try it out at Best Buy yesterday,
  • If you're near an outlet, perhaps the solution is to simply play while tethered to a charger?

    Won't help on international flights in cattle class with no seat power, but the old long car ride just means a connection to the cigarette lighter (or 12V power point these days since fewer cars are coming with real lighters).

    Then it's 2-4 hours while away from a convenient plug, which is probably adequate.

    And heck, you know the third party accessories are going to address this issue in their own ways, too.

  • I got caught up in the last couple Nintendo systems. I bought the first gameboy advance, with no backlighting, then the SP came out. I bought the Original DS, which was bulky as shit, then the Lite came out. Never again. I'll wait for the 3DS with better battery life.
    • by Carrot007 (37198)

      > I bought the Original DS, which was bulky as shit

      Have you like sat a lite on top of an original? There is really not much difference you know!

  • You know, it's very handy to know that if you're in the middle of typing a Slashdot comment and the power goes out, your message will be terminated with a dash ("-") character and posted for you... In some cases the Slashdot emergency autoposter will even insert other helpful information like "+++ ATH NO CARRIER".

    Nintendo's decided to revive one of their own slogans for the 3DS launch:

    "Now you're playing with power! Portable pow-

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