Portable gaming has always been a hit for younger audiences. In the past, Nintendo ruled the market with the Game Boy and Nintendo DS. While Nintendo has continued the DS-saga with the 3DS, Apple has been gaining marketshare with the iPod Touch. If you’re in the market for a portable gaming system for your kid, this article is for you. Below I will be explaining why I think the iPod Touch is a better choice over the Nintendo 3DS.


While the Nintendo 3DS has many famous titles such as Pokémon and Mario, these games usually cost upwards of $29.  The iPod Touch, which runs iOS, features over 300,000 apps, many of which of are games. Most iOS games are relatively cheap at $0.99 to $9.99. Another nice thing about iOS gaming is the fact that many games are free or “lite” versions of paid games. This will allow your child to be entertained for little to no cost on the iPod Touch. Since children tend to get tired of games easily, the iPod Touch will allow them to try out new games for free! They can pick from a wide variety of genres–from puzzle games to action games. These games are available in the iTunes App Store.


While the Nintendo 3DS features two screens, one resistive touchscreen and one 3D, these screens are extremely low resolution compared to the iPod Touch’s Retina Display. The 3D effect on the 3DS is not safe for kids under six years old and can give older children headaches. Finally, the 3DS features a cheap, plastic construction while the iPod Touch is built from glass and metal, making for a solid and durable build.


The Nintendo 3DS costs $169 for the system and a 2GB SD card. While this may undercut the iPod Touch by $30, the iPod Touch features 8GB of storage for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. When you pay for the iPod Touch, you’re not just getting for a game system for your child, you’re also getting for an MP3 Player and video player! While it is true that the Nintendo 3DS can play videos and music, file support is limited and there is no native media store. The only way to remedy this is by becoming a Netflix member, which will allow you to watch Netflix’s library of movies and TV shows.


While the iPod Touch features a full touch screen, this may make gaming tough for some kids. The Nintendo 3DS offers a a touch screen, slide pad, and a plethora of buttons, making gaming easier for some kids. This is because of the tactile response the buttons give so that your child know when he/she has pressed a button.


Personally, I think the best choice for most children is the iPod Touch. This is because of the excellent build quality and outstanding choice of low-priced games. While the iPod may seem more expensive initially, you will definitely save money over time with free and low-priced games from the App Store.

When purchasing this new device for your child, make sure to pick up a case to ensure it stays scratch free. Check out our case guide if you need help deciding!

Update: Title change, sorry for any misleading information.

  1. While it seems great to just make a list, unfortunately it’s not so cut and dry.  iPods are great devices but a parent will need to exercise settings tweaking to shut down downloads of social networking services, video services, messaging services and access to the web. It shouldn’t be difficult but you can’t just buy an iPod and throw it at your kid and expect nothing bad to come of it. After you’re done gimping the device to make it appropriate for your kid you then get a bunch of tower defense games and puzzle games and hope they never become bored. I have a few games I really love for mobile devices but they are never more than two buttons max. There lies the problem, touch screen gaming is largely limited stuff. My parents were kind enough to buy me a original Nintendo when I was around 6 years old and I will never forget the first time I played Mario and then the first time I played Sonic on my Sega Genesis and Pokemon Red for the Game Boy Color. I can’t imagine if my theoretical kid  having those same feelings of wonder and joy struggling with touch screen controls and redundant physics puzzle games on an iPod Touch.

    If you’re trying to crunch the numbers in your head to what would be the best value, you probably should take into account the joy Nintendo seems to bring out of children. From myself as a boy playing Mario on the NES, to my younger sister who is half my age who would always ask me if I wanted to play Mario Sunshine so she could watch, and to my eventual kids whom I would trust Nintendo’s devices with. That’s something a brushed aluminum casing and retina display can’t replace. 

  2. This is not a good article or review summary. Next time you write an article, please get real, in-depth information before you start downplaying one product (in the case the 3DS). In both hardware and price, the Nintendo 3DS was downplayed due to lack of complete information.

  3. This article sounds so biased.

     Finally, the 3DS features a cheap, plastic construction while the iPod Touch is built from glass and metal, making for a solid and durable build.”
    The 3DS is not made from “cheap plastic”. It feels very solid. And the iTouch is more of a multimedia device, not a gaming device. The games are cheap, but you get what you pay for, there are no large adventure games. Also, children don’t need a MP3 player/Video player (and btw, the 3DS is also an MP3 player).

    Moreover, it is doubtful they will know what games are “good” and since purchasing games requires credit card info, for all you know they could go on a shopping spree.

  4. Excellent build quality? Well, sure, porcelain vases have excellent build quality, they still shatter when they hit the ground.

    3D isn’t actually really that harmful, instead it appears harmful because it identifies visual problems in younger children that would normally go under the radar.

    Games? 3DS games are good and have variety and last long, presenting value for money, where as iPod games, while bargains, don’t have the same quality and length. So, they’re more equals when it comes to that. 3DS games tend to run better on the 3DS than iPods which have variable performance – but that’s the issue of fragmentation in software design and that’s complex so not worth mentioning further.

    As for the controls, the iPod controls really aren’t that bad, and in some way are more intuitive than the 3DS’s controls can be, if the game is designed for that. But once again that depends on what you want, and ties in with the games.

    3DS hardware is ultimately better, except for screen resolution and some processing issues, but has better graphics to make up for that. In addition, it plays all the now-cheaper DS games, and is MADE for gaming, where as the iPod touch isn’t and lacks some features. The 3DS also has removable storage cards and doesn’t rely on downloads-only and is less of a risk to your credit card 😉

  5. Stop comparing buttonless smartphones with full buttoned handheld Consoles. We don’t say the the full buttoned Home Console compete with buttonless mouse only PC flash games.

  6. Great article, not the actual one but the comments explaining the Incorrect nature of the actual article. Honestly the author of the article seems to have never actually played a real game in their life. The comments make for better and more accurate reading.

  7. we can turn off the 3ds effect..so there will be no headache. and ipod games are useless games compared to 3ds and vita games they are gaming consoles with super gameplays .

  8. its amazing how people think that iphones/pods and androids will take over the portable gaming market. This is not so as the quality of games on iphones comapred to the 3ds and ps vita you just cant compare, so you have a man running and swipe your finger across the screen to move and collect stuff or you have zelda and mario on 3ds while the ps vita has uncharted. Its just not comparable and in my opinion its a ridiculous argument to compare these

  9. This is just stupid. You guys must be bored or just plain dumb. Nintendo creates QUALITY GAMES for a reasonable price. They were the first to create a video game phenomenon and they won’t be taken down by no 99 cent angry birds. Really WHO ACTUALLY PLAYS THAT CRAP AND ENJOYS IT?! Gaming doesn’t belong on the ipad or whatever. That’s not what it was made for. You made a stupid comparison i’m afraid. 

  10. Dear writer of this article, im sorry to announce this but your dyslexic. 
    THE 3DS HAS AN eShop! There are FREE DEMO’s and games starting from $1.99 onwards.Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Resident Evil Revelations, Mario Party 9, Mario Tennis, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic winter games, Nintendogs, YOU DONT FIND THESE GAMES ANYWHERE ELSE!3DS games are more than just swiping the screen. That is why they cost more.Then you mention: “3DS is made of cheap plastic quality”Have you had a look at the iPod? YOU YOURSELF are mentioning buy a case cause of SCRATCHES. That bumps up the price.

  11. Nintendo 3DS is a music player also this seems kind of favoring the iPod Touch which in a comparison article it should not show any bias 

  12. The ipod games are most definitely not useless. I have a younger brother who has played The Impossible Game for who knows how many hours. Fact is, gaming is changing. These kids will grow up used to touch controls, and while I doubt it will eradicate buttons, it won’t receive the same amount of scorn that it unjustly receives.

  13. I was revisiting this article and reading the comments. I wanted to highlight a few things. First was the removable storage someone mentioned. The article talks about how 3DS only has 2gb of space but lets not forget you can grab a 16gb SD card off amazon for around $10 and viola you got plenty of space.

    And someone mentioned microtransactions on 3ds which is correct. we have old school NES games and GBA games, and then we have the DSi Ware stuff that was carried over, + originals like Pushmo and Sakura Samurai that have garnered critical acclaim. 3ds isn’t lacking is the downloads dept.

  14. An article written from the perspective of someone who may not be into games as much as the next person. A good opinion- glass and metal is better than plastic and the resolutions of one competitor don’t compare well to the next.

    The one thing the 3DS has undoubtedly is their own set of games. Iphone and Itouch games may be ported over to the 3DS at a later time.

    One correction I should point out is the “free and lite” versions of games exist on the 3DS as demos. I am unsure if they are free or not but they are definitely lite- worth a look for an article such as this.


  15. App store games are mostly garbage, and you get what you pay for. Kids would have about 10 times as much fun playing a real game on the 3ds, then a throw-away 99 cent piece of garbage.

  16. We can turn of 3D effect; Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Star Fox, Kirby, Smash Bros., etc. vs. Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies (you do the math; better quality games); 3DS can play videos too from Netflix and Hulu, also you can take pictures and record video with the 3DS, and the 3DS can also play music.

  17. This thread is only hilarious because none of you guys would be upset if Nintendo put their titles on the App Store. 

  18. This was a terrible article because of the fact that it had little, in-depth info, and was based on opinion. Why compare an IPod, meant for music and video, to a portable gaming device? Sure the IPod has apps, but they don’t last as long as a true professional game.

  19. you shouldn’t be giving a 6 yr old an ipod, make them play outside for God’s sake. This is why humanity is becoming so stupid , Parents think they can get away with giving their kid an ipod as a “Parenting device” . They will have problems communicating and socializing because you were too selfish and wanted your kid to shut up and just threw and ipod with dumb down games to keep him quiet.

  20. terrible article, completely false and full of lies. while you atleast ackownledged the controls, the rest is compelte bull.

    (1) ipod touch more durable? are you kidding? there is metal on the 3DS by the way and the clamshell design is much more durable than GLASS d’ah!!

    (2) cheap games? those exist on the 3DS download service too!! dah!

    (3) 3DS ALSO has Mp3 player and video player, and it’s in 3D!!!

    (4) the 3D effect is awesome and can be turned on and off easily! there’s also parental control for it.

    (5) extremely low resolution is complete lie. It was true for DS, but the graphics on the 3DS look AMAZING. I have a Galaxy Nexus and I think the graphics on the 3DS are beautiful.

    3DS is much much better!

  21.  I would. Nintendo games are made with buttons in mind. I can think of exactly 1 Nintendo developed game that would work well on iOS, that game being rhythm heaven, but overall lack of buttons would kill the enjoyment.

  22. Super Biased Article! I could easily refute everything said here. So let’s get started.

    You sound like a penny pincher. Seriously. A 99 cent game is gonna last maybe a few hours, whereas a full retail 3DS game may last 20+ hours, I just finished one that lasted almost 50 hours, and chances are you’ll pick that game back up and play it even more. Of all my 3DS games I’ve beaten once, I’ve gone back to them to play through them again. Well iOS game may be cheaper you get what you pay or don’t pay for, cheap gaming you’ll throw away quickly.

    WTF, seriously… Screen resolution… Sigh, that’s really annoying. Great pretty graphics are meaningless if you always have a finger(s) in the way, oil/smudges smearing the screen messing up the image, and lack of quality games. Also geesh, you drop an iTouch and chances are, it’s done for. I don’t know how many iTouches my brother has gone through all because the screen shatters when you drop them. Also Nintendo, building cheap, LOL!  Sorry but you still have NESes and SNESes out there that still work. You have a GameBoy that survived a bomb blast. Nintendo builds to last. Also the 3DS has a clamshell design that protects the screens, and the screens are plastic, meaning it’s hard to make them crack and shatter like the iTouch screen does when it’s dropped. Also the 3D can be locked through parental controls, and if you think that you shouldn’t have to use the those to lock the 3D. A parent would also have to do a little setting up of parental contorls on a iTouch as well. Also this whole 3D giving headaches… okay it is true but usually it’s from the user being tired, also when using the 3D you have to get use to it first. When I first got my 3DS I had to get use to the 3D, I did get dizzy from the 3D but now, I can play for many hours using max 3D with no headaches or eye aches. Also the 3DS while limited in it’s music file extension types that it can read, it does use the latest etensions (.mp3, .m4a,  .mp4, etc) course you can’t have a video but is it really neccessary? Not really.

    It’s pretty cheap to get a new SD card. I was able to pick up a 16 GB SD card for $25 on sale. Now something you fail to mention is that just about every year apple releases a new iTouch, after about 2 or 3 years your iTouch is useless for new games cause no one is supporting it anymore. I can’t tell you how many games I find on the app store but can’t download due to the game not supporting my iTouch anymore. So if you have to constantly replace the iTouch every 2 or 3 years, that there racks up quickly. While you may be popping $40 per 3DS game or less, you get more out of it.

    How many times I lose a game on my iTouch because of the lack of accuracy due to the fact your using a huge finger compared to the more refined tip of a stylus that Nintendo uses for the 3DS. But I have never found a touch controlled game on the iTouch that controls as nicely as a 3DS game. Buttons are needed for the fact that they allow for refined and accurate control of a game.

    There is the 3DS counteraurgument to this guys super biased article, course it’s his opinion.

  23. Umm, a lot of Nitendo fans would be… There’s a reason why Nintendo refuses to port over to the App Store. The iTouch cannot offer the same experience as Nintendo can with their own hardware and games that they make for their own hardware. With their current business model, Nintendo can customize the experience they want to offer, whereas on the iTouch it’s very limited.

  24.  I’d be upset, because the only situation where that would happen is one where Nintendo’s consoles have failed.

  25. Nope, Iwata has come out and said if Nintendo’s hardware and the company is about to go, then their games are going with them.  

  26. Then your child will be cheated out of many higj quality games and really only be given average-bad games. I will pay a little more, so my child or in this case I can recieve the better gaming exp.

  27. Not all of them are garbage, but even the best app games dont compare to 3ds games or vita games. Believe it or not numbers wise tablets have not hurt dedicated handhelds.

  28. The writer must not have much gaming or child knolage, I have twin 10 year old nephews who own both 3DS and IPod touch and to be honest the iPods rarely get touch unless the batteries in 3ds are flat

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