# Why the 3DS resolution and screen size is a big failure for 3D

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1. ### OP alucard77 GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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So I have been thinking about the 3DS screen and how good it would be for watching movies and playing games in 3D. I have come to the conclusion that the 3DS will be a failure in giving you a good 3D experience. This is due to the resolution, which effects the screen size.

If you want to skip the math and science on how this conclusion was derived then please just skip to the Recap section or read the Bold Areas.

So lets get down to some simple math and science here.

Part 1- The screen Size:
Distance:
- When I play my PSP or NDS, I usually hold it about 10 inches from my face.
- When I watch TV, my TV is roughly 12 feet from my face.

Size:
- The 3DS size is 3.5 inches.

What I want to solve for:
- What size TV would I need to buy if I I had a 12 foot viewing distance to equal a 3.5 inch screen with a 10 inch viewing distance

The formula:
1- 3.5(3DS Screen Size)/10(Viewing Distance in inches)=x(TV screen size to be solved)/144(Viewing Distance in inches)
2- 10x=504
3- x = 504/10

So a 50 inch TV with a 12 foot viewing distance is eqivalent to a 3.5 inch screen with a 10 inch viewing distance.

The biggest complaint against 3D TVs at the moment is the fact that they don't give you the same encompassing feeling you get when you go to the theater to watch a 3D Movie. This is because of screen size. I have been to Best Buy and watched a 50" 3D TV, and I do have to say, I was far from blown away.

Having said that, I was looking up the specs for the prototype model for the 3DS. The thing that annoyed me the most was the fact that the upper area of the 3DS was not all a screen. It had a huge bezel around it, that reduced the screen size. The demension of the the upper part of the screen was 5.1 inches wide. Having said that would have been awesome if Nintendo could have done a 4.9 inch screen with little to no bezel showing.

Why would this be important? Well, that is simple. The 3D effect would greatly be increased. Using the same math I used above, we could easily solve for a TV size 12 feet away from you, with a 4.9 inch screen:

1- 4.9/10=x/144
2- 10x=705.6
3- x=70.56

So if the 3DS had a 4.9 inch screen, it would be equivalent to a 70 inch TV with a 12 foot viewing distance. The 3D would be so much more encompassing on a 70 inch screen vs. a 50 inch screen.

Part 2- The reason why resolution effects the screen size
So, I got to thinking why Nintendo wouldn't do this. So I looked up the resolution of the 3DS. I was surprised to see the the resolution is extremely sub par for this system. The resolution is 400x240. Please don't argue that it is 800x240 since it is 400x240 per eye. If you had no 3D effects turned on, the resolution is 400x240.

For this portion, I am going to use the following chart, which shows recommend viewing distance based on TV size:

1- The standard 480P resolution is 704x480.
2- The recommended viewing distance for a 480P TV that is 50 inches is 17.5 feet.

Since the 3DS is equivalent to a 50 inch TV 12 feet from your face, the 3DS is seriously pushing your treshold for viewing at its extremely low resolution. Nintendo must assume that people play the DS with at least a 2' viewing distance, which may be the case, however for me, I play with a 10" viewing distance, so that is what I am using as my example.

Now having said this, we need to find out what kind of resolution the 3DS would need to push if it had a 4.9 inch screen. Since we have already stated that the 3DS with a 4.9 inch screen is equivalent to a 70 inch TV at a 12 foot viewing distance, all we would need to do is look at the chart to see what resolution is needed for a 70" TV at a 12 foot viewing distance. According to this chart, the 3DS with a 4.9 inch screen would need to push 720P resolution in order to give you a confortable viewing experience.

Even taking into account Nintendo's own calculations, the 720P resolution is 1280x720. If I was to half this, it would be 640x360. So the minimum resolution Nintendo would need to push according to their own calculations would be somewhere around 640x360. This would definately be 1.5 more pixels then they are currently offering. This would give us a nice screen size with a "good" resolution.

HUGE CORRECTION - I AM WRONG ABOUT THE RESOLUTION BEING THE PROBLEM

Sorry All, I am wrong about the above assumption. Thanks go out to Wolfmanz51 for showing me the error of my ways.

The most important part that I missed here, and what this chart really does not do is mention the Pixel Per Inch. To best understand PPI, you first need to know the resolution. In this case the resolution is 400x240. This is a total resolution, which is 96000. Now all these pixels are going to be squeezed into a 3.5 inch screen. If you were to see how many pixels would go for each inch you would need to do an advanced calculation. Lucky for us, this site exists which do these calculations for us.

In this case the 3DS has a PPI of 133.28. To put this in comparison, a 50" 1080i/p TV only has a PPI of 43.71. So the 3DS will have nearly 3x as many pixels per inch then a 1080i/p TV.

So therefore there is no reason why Nintendo can't give us a larger screen, considering a 4.9" screen would yield a PPI of 95.2 which is still very impressive.

Recap:
The reason that 3D on the 3DS will be a failure is that in order to have a good 3D viewing experience, you would need to have a large screen. The 3DS screen as it currently stands is only equivalent to a 50" screen at a 12 foot viewing distance. The ideal situation is for Nintendo to give us a 4.9 screen which would be equivalent to a 70" inch TV with a 12 foot viewing distance.

 Before my correction, I originally thought, the reason Nintendo cannot give us a 4.9 screen is because it chose to use way to low of a resolution. You need to have at least 720p to have confortable viewing on a 4.9" screen for movies and games. Movies now a days should be watched in HD. At the minimum, the 3DS should support 720P, which it does not. If it did, not only could we enjoy the proper movie quality, but also get an engaging 3D experience that would do a better job of engulfing our field of vision.

Now, I realize, there is no real reason why Nintendo didn't go with a larger screen. The picture should look as good, and you would be able to get engrossed in your 3D as this size screen would be equivalent to a 70" screen with 3x the PPI of a 1080i/p TV.

So I personally think the 3D will have a oh cool effect at first, but will fail to satisfy in the long run. Kinda like the Wiimote controls.

 I still think that the 3DS needs a larger screen to accomplish appropriate 3D effects that engross the audience. Therefore I still think the 3DS will lose its 3D novelty rather quickly. I think the large screen would definitely help this though.

What do you guys think?

2. ### Alex666 GBAtemp Regular Member Level 1

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thats why they build in the slider for adjusting the 3D-ness so it will be great nonetheless ^^

3. ### KingVamp Haaah-hahahaha! Member Level 14

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Their nothing wrong with the Wiimote controls and it a portable (which is trying to be at a reasonable price) what do you expect, full HD with 3D and a big screen ?

I think the 3D will do well for this portable when it in your hand.

4. ### Chrono_Tata GBAtemp Advanced Fan Member Level 1

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It's a handheld game console not a home theatre.

5. ### OP alucard77 GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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Well, my point is this:

1- Give us 720P, and you get better looking games off the bat, 3D or not 3D
2- With 720P, you can also get a proper 3D experience because they can also give us a bigger screen

6. ### KingVamp Haaah-hahahaha! Member Level 14

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Did you not see the pic and videos of the 3DS' games ?

Do not want to say this , but I think you just want to hate on Nintendo, do yea? :/

7. ### Veho The man who cried "Ni". Former Staff Level 19

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So, you're saying a handheld console is a failure because it doesn't have a 720 resolution screen? (The "p" has no bearing on the resolution.)

And also, movies in 720p look better than games in full HD. Resolution is less important than the number of polygons, texture and lighting, anti aliasing, etc. etc.

8. ### Nikolay GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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He didn't say the 3DS will fail, he said the 3D in the 3DS will fail.

9. ### OP alucard77 GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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I agree with you about the gaming aspect not being so reliant on Resolution.

This post is more to do with the total 3D effect which is based on Screen Size. The screen size is limited by the resolution, and therefore the 3d effect is limited.

So I am not saying the 3DS is going to be a failure. I am saying that the 3D component is going to be a let down after the oh wow factor wears off. The 3DS is going to have some awesome games, but I don't think the 3D element is going to make them awesome.

10. ### Panzer Tacticer veteran human Member Level 2

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You think too much alucard77, but that was a very solid post.

I think mostly along the same lines as you. I felt the shooter games for the DS failed mainly as they screen size is unrealistically small considering the normal demands of that type of game.

I think the XL was a great idea, bigger being better. I have no idea why the 3DS needs to remain microscopically small in size. It's not unit cost that's for damn sure. Anyone that knows anything knows it's just some small sum of plastic and some electronics assembled by a machine. The thing would be totally awesome if it was incrementally larger than the XL is. I'd love a 6" screened 3DS. But a 3.5 screen is simply not worth the tech.

I also think watching movies on a DS is dumb.

11. ### Midna Banned Banned Level 6

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Because it makes their systems cheaper. That's the simplest answer I can give. They make up their sales in that regard with creativity and fantastic 1st party games.

12. ### omgpwn666 Guy gamer and proud! Member Level 5

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Damn, you took some time to think that through, didn't you? Haha
I intend to play the 3DS without 3D in the first place, so it's fine. But I'm sure Nintendo takes every situation into consideration, the best thing to do is wait and see if you like it.

13. ### Arm73 GBAtemp Addict Member Level 5

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I will put your post ( and all the calculations and deductions ) in my own time capsule and quote it to you in a few months when you actually get the chance to see for yourself and hold a 3DS in your hands and get blown away by it's quality.
I'm sure once you see it in action ( the real thing ) it will look amazing, regardless of the somehow poor* resolution.
It's nice to calculate and try to predict what it'll be like, but unfortunately all we can do is wait and see !

14. ### OP alucard77 GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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I bet when I first pick up the 3DS, I will be like, this thing is SWEET! Same as when I first played Wii bowling. But after like 1 month, I bet most games will be played with 3D off. That is my point, for 3D to continously be good and not just have a oh wow factor, it needs 720P and a bigger screen.

15. ### BlueStar GBAtemp Psycho! Member Level 5

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It's a handheld system. Making a handheld system stupidly over powered, over priced and power hungry and thus tempting devs to make nothing but scaled down home console games for it is the mistake other companies make, not Nintendo.

16. ### Range-TE GBAtemp Advanced Fan Member Level 5

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HD on a handheld would be fun, but i don't think without it it would be a fail.
i don't think ninty's going HD on a hand held before they go HD on a Home Console

17. ### Overlord Nadrian Banned Banned Level 2

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As BlueStar said, handhelds powerful enough to produce HD quality video output are (going to be) extremely expensive and will only get games that actually belong to their console counterparts. And the games won't control as good, because there aren't enough buttons on a handheld. Or at least not enough input methods.

18. ### Rydian Resident Furvert™ Member Level 19

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You forgot some of the math.

The PSP's resolution is 480x272.
That's 272, far away from 720.

If the 3DS's resolution was double that of the PSP's (to 960x544, which is still under 720) the number of pixels would be quadrupled, since doubling the length of the sides of a rectangle quadruples it's area. So at four times the display power of the PSP it still would not reach 720. I like my handhelds to have more than a few minutes of battery life and to not cost \$500, thank you very much.

I'm not aware of a single handheld (something that can fit in a normal pocket) capable of displaying HD without any attachments, because it's just disproportionately expensive, both price-wise, power-wise, and battery-wise, to the little benefit you get on such a small screen.

19. ### Jamstruth Secondary Feline Anthropomorph Member Level 5

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720p on a handheld is WAAAAYYY too much. Pixels would need to be used as standard def anyway. The resolution is already higher than any other handheld out there, isn't that enough?

20. ### OP alucard77 GBAtemp Fan Member Level 4

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You do realize that the 3DS resolution is 400x240? How is this the highest resolution out there.

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