Impressions: Nintendo 2DS

Is the Nintendo 2DS a bargain for its price or a massive blunder?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 10/14/2013 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

The Nintendo 2DS is a lot smaller than I expected it to be. Clocking in at 5 and 1/2 inches wide and a shade under 5 inches tall, the 2DS isn’t exactly diminutive, but all the hi-res shots I’d been soaking in of the device lead me to believe it was going to be a bit larger. The 2DS isn’t going to fit very easily into most people’s pockets, but its settles into a backpack or purse just fine. The casing itself is a nice, matte plastic all the way around, which is great for preventing fingerprints and scratches. I opted for an Electric Blue model myself, but the alternate Crimson Red is equally enticing. While the system feels sturdy, the drawback of removing the clamshell design of the Nintendo 3DS is that both screens are left unprotected at all times. As a result, the matching 2DS carrying case is worth the extra $12 to keep the system safe, though applying a couple of screen protectors is just as effective. I’m massively paranoid about this sort of thing, so I’ve done both!

Considering this is a more budget-minded version of the 3DS hardware, Nintendo didn’t sacrifice much in the redesign. As the name so clearly communicates, the 2DS does not have 3D capabilities. As a bit of a 3D fiend, I thought the omission would be more noticeable, but as I settled in and fired up a bunch of different titles, I found myself forgetting the feature. Nintendo’s decision to disguise a single screen as two using the plastic housing of the 2DS is a success. The integration is seamless, and both the top and bottom halves are crisp and vibrant. The fidelity of the 2DS’s screens is easily equal to those of the 3DS or 3DS XL. Sound quality has taken a bit of a hit, as the 2DS comes with only a single speaker (it’s so Game Boy!), but what’s there is clear, and those who are inclined towards using headphones aren’t going to notice.

With no hinge to swing closed to enter the 2DS into sleep mode, Nintendo has added a slider to the bottom of the unit for manual activations, instead. Wireless communications, however, can now only be switched off from the 2DS’s home screen, as the physical toggle for this action has been removed. I’ve never spent much time turning the wireless on and off on my 3DS, so I wasn’t miffed by the loss, but battery life maximizers might be a little annoyed with the change. The 2DS’s face buttons are reminiscent of the DS Lite’s, with a soft give as opposed to the clicking give of the 3DS and 3DS XL. Nintendo didn’t stop there, as the awkward 3DS Start and Select buttons have also thankfully been switched out with the Lite’s. The 2DS’s form factor meant Nintendo had to reposition the face and should buttons just a bit to accommodate the lack of a hinge, something I think it was successful with. The 2DS rests very comfortably in my hands, and the redesigned, rounded shoulder buttons are perfectly reachable whether playing a game with the Circle or D-Pad.

Both 3DS and DS games look and play great on the 2DS’s clear, bright screens. Battery life was also solid, clocking in at about six hours before my first charge. One nit pick I have with the 2DS is in regards to its internal software. A bunch of screens still say Nintendo 3DS during transitional periods between opening and closing applications. It’s not a big deal, just annoying that Nintendo didn’t go in and clean all that up before release. There is an observation made when booting up the system that any mention of Nintendo 3DS is applicable to the 2DS, so at least there’s that. Overall, I was more impressed with my 2DS than I thought I would be. The system is perfectly priced and of a very high quality for its value. While families are the obvious target for 2DS, it’s also a great way for gamers short on funds to finally get back in the swing of things. Some people scoffed at the 2DS on principle, but if companies like Apple can cater to multiple audiences with different iterations of its iPod line, there’s no reason Nintendo can’t do the same.

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