Nintendo 2DS: A Budget-Friendly 3DS That Cuts Corners


Nintendo is by far one of the most iconic video game companies in the world, and has been so since the 1980s. The Japanese gaming giant has managed to gather a huge and dedicated fan base throughout the years, despite the fact that some of its gaming consoles have seen lackluster reception from both consumers and developers. The most recent example is the Wii family. While the first Wii has been one of the most successful Nintendo consoles to hit the market, the Wii U is struggling to stay afloat, despite the fact that Nintendo is reportedly selling the console at a loss.

Thankfully, on the portable console market segment, Nintendo has been able to continue its successful legacy. The original DS has been quite a hit, and the same thing can be said about both the 3DS and the 3DS XL. But Nintendo has recently announced another portable console in the DS family, dubbed the “2DS.” Will the 2DS be that dreaded “miss,” or will this handheld device be a success? Let’s have a look at what it has to offer.

Nintendo 2DS– Design

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First things first, we should establish the fact that the Nintendo 2DS is not a real successor to the 3DS / 3DS XL, or a next-gen handheld console. It’s not an actual upgrade, but it might still make a certain amount of sense.

The Nintendo 2DS is a console that aims at delivering the 3DS experience at a lower price. Evidently, to achieve this, the developer had to cut a few corners. One of the most prominent changes is the design itself. Unlike the DS, 3DS and the 3DS XL, the 2DS does not come with a hinge, and is not foldable. Nintendo claims that, by adopting this type of design, the manufacturing costs have been drastically lowered.

This, however, poses a few issues. The 2DS has a pretty large footprint (it’s almost as large as an unfolded 3DS), and as such, portability suffers. It would be rather difficult to carry the 2DS in your pocket. Most of the time, I suspect that you’d have to carry the console in a bag or a backpack.

On the bright side, the physical size of the 2DS gives a more solid feel to it. The build quality seems very high for its price, as the material used in building the case is the same as on the 3DS XL.

Users will also have mixed feelings about the button placement. 2DS’ controls are flanking the top display, which can become somewhat uncomfortable while playing games that combine stylus tapping for one hand, and shoulder and face buttons for the other. However, there aren’t a whole lot of titles that require this type of control scheme, and overall, the 2DS feels quite right in the hand.

Nintendo 2DS – What Makes it Tick and Further Downgrades

The lack of a hinge is not the only thing that helped Nintendo bring down the price of the 2DS. There are certain key features that are missing as well.

The overall hardware and software specifications of the 2DS are identical to the 3DS. The size and resolution of the displays remain the same, the battery pack has not suffered any changes, and even the 3D camera is still present.

The main difference however, is that the 2DS does not feature a 3D top screen. Yes, despite the presence of a 3D camera, the screen itself is not capable of providing stereoscopic 3D effects. This could go unnoticed by many, but might turn off other prospective customers. Some 3DS owners consider the 3D aspect of their consoles to be a gimmick, and they usually disable it in favor of a higher frame rate and screen brightness. Other 3DS owners are quite fond of this feature, and consider it to be the main selling point of the console. Regardless, the good news is that all the games in the 3DS library are perfectly playable without 3D effects, and as such, they are playable on the 2DS as well.

Another downside of the 2DS is the fact that it lacks stereo speakers. Once again, this might not be an issue for those who have a tendency to use headphones, but may become a problem for users who prefer relying on the built-in speakers instead.

Nintendo 2DS – Price and Conclusion

You may be wondering just how much you can save by buying a 2DS instead of one of the other two consoles, and whether or not the aforementioned missing features and changes in design make sense. The Nintendo 2DS comes with a MSRP of $129.99. In contrast, the Nintendo 3DS would normally set you back $169.99, and the 3DS XL would cost you $199.99.

In conclusion, the 2DS actually makes sense as a budget-friendly alternative to the other two. However, if you are able to spend an extra $70, the 3DS XL still seems the best choice from the bunch. Additionally, there’s really no reason to buy the 2DS if you happen to own either one of the 3DS handheld devices. With that in mind, the 2DS can be a very good option for those who are interested in the 3DS library of games (especially the recently-released Pokemon X and Y), but don’t really care for much else.

What are your thoughts regarding the 2DS? Would you be interested in buying one? Do you consider the missing features to be a good trade-off for the lower price? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues. Follow Vlad on Google Plus.

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