What Is the Difference Between Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DSi?

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The Nintendo 3DS and DSi are both handheld game consoles that play Nintendo games, but they have many significant differences. These include 3D capability, a gyroscope and an accelerometer for the 3DS. The 3DS can play vintage Game Boy and Game Boy Advance game titles through Wi-Fi. The 3DS also allows players to make Miis, Nintendo's version of avatars, and to play mp3 files from an SD card.

The Nintendo DSi was released in the United States in April 2009, and the 3DS was released in March 2011. The DSi was an upgrade to the previously-released Nintendo DS Lite, whereas the 3DS featured revolutionary new hardware that allowed the user to view a 3D screen without special glasses. The 3DS has a separate game library.

According to About.com, while both the DSi and 3DS can download DSiWare, original games developed by Nintendo for the DSi, only the 3DS is backward compatible with Nintendo DS games. The 3DS is also backward compatible with all DSi games. The 3DS includes Mii maker and Mii Plaza, which allow users to make avatars using the built-in cameras, as well as augmented reality games that take advantage of the cameras and Internet browser. While both handheld units can take photographs, only the 3DS can take them in 3D.