Nintendo 2DS Hardware Review

Nintendo 2DS Hardware (Iso)Though it lacks the ability to display 3D content and makes some minor hardware concessions, the Nintendo 2DS is a great option for budget-minded gamers or parents of young children wanting to enter the world of 3DS software.

The first thing you will notice about Nintendo 2DS is that is eschews the clamshell design introduced by the original DS in favour of a wedge-shaped, tablet style format. The unit is 14.5 cm wide, 12.7 cm in length, 2 cm at its thickest point and weighs in at a svelte 260 grams. Read More...
The singular screen of the Nintendo 2DS is segmented to match the dimensions of the original 3DS, with the top widescreen section covered and measuring 3.5 inches diagonally and the bottom touchscreen area at 3.03 inches. The screen has a larger pixel density than the screens found on the 3DS XL and produces crisper images in both sections compared to its big brother.

Software designed for the original DS and DSiWare titles tend to look a bit blurry when scaled to fit the screen of the 2DS. As far as sound, the Nintendo 2DS sports a monaural speaker that is louder than the 3DS and 3DS XL and still provides stereo output via a standard headphone jack.

The biggest revision found on the Nintendo 2DS is neither the form factor or screen design, but to physical input. The unit's right and left bumper buttons are larger than even those found on the Wii U gamepad and feature a concave design that cradles your index finger. The bumpers are comfortable, responsive and a welcome change from the cramped ones found on the 3DS and 3DS XL.

Concessions, likely put in place to keep costs down have been made to the d-pad and face buttons, though in practical terms only players seeking ultra-precise input will notice.
The d-pad is a fair amount smaller than the ones found on the 3DS XL and Wii U GamePad and feels much softer and squishy compared to its tight and clicky cousins. The face buttons are also slightly smaller and softer feeling than those of the 3DS XL in addition to rising a millimetre or two higher from the case.

I won't lie, the d-pad and face buttons do have a distinctively cheap feel to them, but they are well-placed and have not caused me any issues or frustration during my testing. As far as I can tell, the circle pad is identical to previous iterations.

You will find the Start and Select buttons on the right of the unit underneath the face buttons and a small concave home button underneath the centre of the bottom screen section. The sleep function that is toggled by closing other DS family hardware is handled by a sliding switch on the bottom of the Nintendo 2DS and reminds me of the hold switches that used to be on portable CD players.

Instead of a physical switch, turning wireless communication on and off is handled by a software solution that is located with the system's brightness setting and can be accessed via the home button without disturbing any software running.
The Nintendo 2DS is the Most Durable Member of the 3DS Family

The Nintendo 2DS gets an average of 4.5 hours battery life while playing 3DS software, can theoretically remain in sleep mode for up to three days and takes about 3.5 hours to fully recharge its built in lithium ion battery. Of course battery life is dependent on factors like screen brightness, volume level and wireless communication and though the battery life is a bit shorter than that of the 3DS XL, it's on par with the original 3DS and acceptable for practical use.

One change of note regarding battery life is the omission of a power saving mode like that found in the other 3DS hardware, though if a player is concerned, they can always check the battery level and adjust volume or brightness manually if need be.

One thing that surprised me about the Nintendo 2DS was the inclusion of the stereoscopic 3D camera found in its cousins. Not being able to take or view 3D photos on the device, it seems counterintuitive to include the hardware in a device designed to reduce cost both at the manufacturing and consumer level. The only reason I can see it being there is to provide software compatibility for the extremely short list of software that requires the 3D camera.

I bought the Nintendo 2DS as a budget-friendly secondary system for retail cartridges when my wife started playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on my 3DS XL. Though the picture on the 3DS XL is more pixelated and the unit is markedly heavier, I do prefer the luxury of the larger screens and comfort in my hands I am not contemplating the transfer of my digital library.

That said, the Nintendo 2DS is a perfectly capable iteration of the successful 3DS family and definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a secondary system or looking for a more durable option for a young child's use with popular game series like Skylanders or Pokémon.

+ Wedge Design is Comfortable and Durable
+ Screen Solution Looks Great
+ Full-Sized Shoulder Buttons are a Welcome Addition

- D-Pad and Face Buttons Have a Cheap, Squishy Feel
- Monaural Speaker
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Game Forward Score: 4/5
Nintendo 2DS Quick Facts:
Genre: Hardware / Peripheral
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: October 12, 2013
Price: $129.99
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)