The app is a quick and free download from Nintendo's eShop and, once installed, you'll need to punch in a code on the Netflix page to tie the handheld to your online queue. Yes, that means you're blissfully free from having to hunt and peck your way through your password on the touchscreen.
Once that code is typed in the 3DS automagically connects and, after a minute or so of painful progress bar watching, you're presented with all the movies and television shows that you've indicated you might just want to watch some day. They're laid out horizontally, followed by another row of recently watched content, then a whole slew of other suggested arrays of films that you more than likely won't want to watch some day.
By pressing the B button you can quickly jump between lists, while the Y button brings up a keyboard for you to type and search. The search is very slow, but at least it exists -- putting this at least a step above the initial attempt at an Xbox 360 player. We should point out that, no matter how hard you search, you will not find any 3D content in here. We'd hoped that Netflix would take this opportunity to blow our minds with a selection of depth-enabled films, but alas our brains are still very much intact.
Select a video and it naturally starts playing, buffer times reasonably brief compared to how slow everything else is. Once buffered quality is good, but certainly not HD given the 800 x 240 resolution of the top screen (effectively 400 x 240 thanks to its parallax-busting ways). You can play or pause, drag a slider around, and of course jump back out to pick something else to watch.
Overall it's a solid little app, a very useful addition to the handheld and, while things are a bit slow right now, the waits aren't too painful. Still, it's a shame you can't get a little Excite Bike going while waiting for your queue or film to load -- turbo boosting certainly beats progress bars.
Update: Want to delve deep into someone else's queue? Check out the hands-on over at Joystiq and get a peek into the streaming selections of one Justin McElroy.
- Key specs
- Game format Downloadable, Cartridge
- Screen size 3.53 inches
- Online features Multiplayer, Store, Browser
- Direction control D-pad, Thumb stick (1)
- Motion controls Accelerometer, Camera / optical
- Dimensions 0.8 x 5.3 x 2.9 in
- Weight 8 oz
- Released 2011-03-27