Impressions: Netflix on 3DS

4 mins read
After a three month wait, Netflix is finally available on the 3DS, allowing North Americans to enjoy television programs and movies on the handheld for the first time. Is it worth downloading? Based on what I’ve seen so far: yes.

Getting started with Netflix is rather simple. All current subscribers need to do is visit a URL and activate the 3DS via a short code. This can even be done on your 3DS through the browser if need be. There do not appear to be many issues running videos on Nintendo’s latest handheld. When the streaming is stable, it seems to match the speed of the Wii’s Netflix channel, which is to say it gets the job done admirably. Subtitles are easy to toggle on and off, for films that require them. Box art displays fairly quickly, as do any search results. The actual video quality is obviously a tad worse than the home consoles, but the quality isn’t radically different.

The service is well-built overall, but there are a few niggles. Certain shows seem to demand headphones to be heard a decent volume and when the app gets stuck, you’ll need to hard-reset the 3DS. The 3D effect on the menu is rather throwaway, though that isn’t so much an issue as it is a distraction from the fact that Netflix will remain 2D only (for the foreseeable future).
Considering the controversy surrounding the 3DS’ battery life, many wonder how well the battery holds up. After a full charge, it can stream videos in 2D for approximately 3:10 on the lowest brightness setting – a solid figure. Since there are currently no plans for the provider to expand into 3D territory, any proposed issues regarding battery life for 3D streaming are, for now, irrelevant.
Netflix for 3DS isn’t something you’ll want to use around the house unless you lack a computer or another modern gaming console. Instead, this app is the sort of thing to take to Starbucks with you on a lazy afternoon when you don’t feel like carrying your laptop or iPad. While the 3DS can be taken around the house, consoles offer the prospect of a bigger screen, PC the ability to multitask, and iPad yields a larger (yet still portable) screen with lengthier battery life.
The Netflix app itself is free from the eShop, but you will need a subscription before you can use the service. Unlimited streaming starts at US$7.99 per month and streaming with DVDs goes for US$15.98. If do not currently have a subscription, note that you’ll require a credit card or PayPal to get your free trial. At the moment, Netflix is only available in the United States and Canada, with both catalogues differing.
Netflix for 3DS today is a quality tool for those who do not own any other apparatus to access the service. It lacks 3D but it will likely continue to surpass what we’re seeing from Nintendo Video. Both certainly make one clamour for an app that plays videos right off the SD card, since usage time could be elevated further. It may not the ideal device for streaming, but it exudes excellence, especially considering its predetermined limitations.

-Clark A

This is the bio under which all legacy articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

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