Nintendo 3DS battery to last as little as three hours

Those keen to grab a Nintendo 3DS after last week's look at the upcoming handheld should first consider how far you'll be venturing from a power point, after Nintendo revealed some lacklustre battery life numbers.

While it was no secret that Nintendo's next handheld wouldn't be setting any records for battery life, a new specifications page on the company's website notes that the 3DS will last just three hours when playing games designed for the new device, while gamers should expect between five and eight hours when playing Nintendo DS games. To make matters worse, both figures are calculated with screen brightness at its lowest setting.

By comparison, the Nintendo DSi can deliver between 9 and 14 hours of playtime on the lowest brightness setting, while the DS Lite can last up to 19 hours on the same setting.

In September last year, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata was quite forthcoming in saying the 3DS would require more frequent trips to the charger than its predecessor. At the time, he added that each 3DS would ship with a charging cradle to address the issue.

''Perhaps we may need to dispatch to our consumers a message, something like, 'Please place your Nintendo 3DS on the cradle as soon as you return home with it','' he said.

The poor battery life comes despite the handheld packing the largest battery yet in a Nintendo DS device and is likely a result of the extra grunt needed to power much-hyped autostereoscopy technology, which will produce 3D effects without the need for special glasses.

The 3DS is due to launch in Europe, Australia and the United States in March, and will cost 25,000 Yen (US$301) in Japan, with no pricing yet available for other markets. Nintendo is expected to announce a European release date for the handheld at a January 19 press event.

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