I’m fortunate enough to own a Nintendo 3DS, GCW Zero, and a Samsung Galaxy S3 Android smart phone. At one time or another I’ve used all three to emulate classic game consoles and play games. How do they compare to each other?
The 3DS has the biggest screen. It also has two screen, this is important for playing DS games.
The GCW Zero is the easiest to pocket. The 3DS is just a bit too big for a pocket, it does well in a backpack. The S3 by itself fits easily into a pocket, the Game Klip and PS3 controller not so much.
The S3 with a PS3 controller has the best controls of the bunch.
The GCW Zero has the best battery life, about eight hours for me. The 3DS around four and the S3 2-3. It’s difficult to judge the S3 since its hard to use it for nothing else than playing a game for 3+ hours.
NES, Gameboy, and Gameboy Color games: All three devices play these games equally well.
Super Nintendo and Genesis Games: GCW Zero and S3 can emulate these darn near perfectly. The GCW Zero has trouble with SuperFX games such as Star Fox. The 3DS has trouble running graphically intense games at full speed. It works well for RPGs or other games where fast responses are not needed.
Nintendo 64 and Playstation Games: The S3 is the only one that can emulate these. It does pretty well.
Gameboy Advance Games: All three devices can emulate Gameboy Advance with near perfection.
Nintendo DS Games: The GCW Zero cannot emulate DS and even if it did it doesn’t have a touch screen. The S3 can emulate the DS very well, though its screen will be split into two in order to emulate the DS’ two screens. The 3DS can run DS games natively and perfectly.
Other Consoles: None of the three devices have fast enough hardware to emulate consoles beyond the Nintendo 64/Playstation era. The 3DS can natively play 3DS games though. Consoles older than the NES run well on all three.
What about native games? The S3 has the entire Google Play Store to pick from. The 3DS has the library of 3DS and DS games. The GCW has some not so great Linux games.
Using it for things other than games: Hands down the S3. Being a smart phone its all good. The 3DS has a limited web browser and can watch Youtube. The GCW just plays games.
Which one of the three do I use the most? I use my Nintendo 3DS the most. The screen size, battery life, controls, DS and 3DS game support make it my favorite of the bunch. Its the one I take if I’m going on a trip. The 16bit console support is a bummer but the 3DS and DS support more than make up for it.