The biggest upgrade to Nintendo's handheld range since the change from the GBA to the NDS way back in 2005. The 3DS was launched in 2010/2011, and promised 3D without glasses, motion sensing capabilities, augmented reality, data transfer while in sleep mode, and pretty much everything that NDS fanboys already loved (such as Mario Kart, Kid Icarus and Legend Of Zelda remakes) and everyone else shrugged off with a mere "meh". When it finally came, it was bundled with all that plus a few more handy little features that turn it into a true Nintendo product - one that aims at casuals, chicks, children and crotchety old buggers (as well as the aforementioned fanboys).
My first experience beyond E3 and reading many hundreds of mixed reviews about the system was a few weeks before it was released in Australia. Sceptical as anything, I soon discovered that it was the polar opposite to my expectations: the 3D doesn't jump out at you, but rather adds depth to the image. Mind, I was only interested in the tech specs of it. Was it bigger? Brighter? Better? Turns out that the only thing that's bigger is the storage space. And about time too. It also has more memory and a wireless switch you can toggle. Not only that, but the controls have doubled, as if Nintendo want us all to develop RSI from rapid thumb movements. "Hey, you bought the thing, so you must have already bought our older handhelds and if you don't have RSI then you probably should. Stupid bloody fanboys."
But that being said, overall I'm quite happy with my shiny new toy. Right now, it's mainly serving as an upgrade to my old DS (and I mean WAY old - I haven't upgraded since January 2006) but I'm sure once I earn back the $350 I paid for the thing I'll start buying some more games (stupid Australian prices). I do like a lot of the features it has. I love the 3D photos (which can't be displayed on any other technology to my knowledge. Bugger.) but I don't love the battery life. I also don't love that (as of writing) it has practically no Wi-Fi functionality except a system upgrade (waiting for which I'm getting very impatient). And the 3D, of course. The 3D is pretty cool.
Nintendo have delivered... almost to expectations. It's satisfactory, and it's a bit of fun (though the pre-loaded software gets quite boring quite quick). I'd say it's a worthwhile investment, especially if the technology is copied (badly) by Microsoft and Sony. Just like the Wiimote was shamefacedly copied by the Playstation Move and poorly "superseded" by Kinect. (Yep... I'm a fucking fanboy.)