Nintendo 2DS (Blue)
Price Range: $129.99 - $144.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Nintendo 2DS is an affordable and solid system for a younger gamer or for those not interested in 3D visuals. It packs in a 4GB SD card and performs just as well as its 3DS brethren (save for 3D).
The bad: The 2DS feels cheap and only has one speaker that sounds a little lacking. Though it's designed for children, there are a few vulnerable spots on the 2DS, and it might not survive a bad fall.
The bottom line: At $130, the 2DS offers a huge array of compelling software and makes for a great entry-level gaming system to the uninitiated first-time gamer. Just be sure to buy a protective case along with it, too.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
When Nintendo has announced some of its recent products, the collective reaction on the Internet has often been: "Is this a joke?" Sometimes, Nintendo gets the last laugh -- the name "Wii" was widely derided, but that console went on to become a smashing success. Other times, the result is more curious than funny: 3DS Circle Pad Pro, anyone?
The Nintendo 2DS was greeted with similar disbelieving howls when it was first announced in late August -- "A 3DS without the 3D? Really?" -- but now that I've actually spent some time with it, I can say it's not completely outrageous. Indeed, for younger gamers -- especially those under 7 who are warned off gaming in 3D on the cover of every 3DS game -- this less expensive ($130) no-frills gaming handheld may be just the ticket. Add in Nintendo's kid-friendly, decade-strong gaming library dominated by Pokemon, Mario, and Donkey Kong titles, and you've got an electronic babysitter that's cheaper and more durable than an iPod Touch or even a "real" 3DS.
In this review, I'll be looking at the target audience for the 2DS and its overall performance. For a detailed review of the previous 3DS models, check out my review of the $170 3DS or the big-screen $200 3DS XL, both of which are still available.
Look and feel
The first thing I thought when I picked up the 2DS was "this feels cheap." But I guess that's the point. It's not designed for an adult gamer. In fact, it's for the opposite demographic. The 2DS is crafted with the youngest gamer in mind, stripping away mostly every moving part in a move that's probably done to avoid breakage of any kind.
The 2DS' slate design looks a bit odd because it doesn't close like previous Nintendo clamshell devices. That said, its wedge shape certainly fits nicely in your hands. It's lightweight (about 9 ounces) and retains most of the same button placements present in the other two concurrent 3DS models.
The major differences are the locations of the start/select buttons and the placement of one single speaker for audio playback, which now seems to be missing a punch. All the usual suspects are onboard and accounted for, plus Nintendo has upped the size of the included SD card to 4GB.
The screen sizes are the same as the original 3DS', but of course the buttons are now flanked around the top screen as opposed to the lower touch screen. This makes for a finagled adjustment period, especially if you're used to the old layout.
Aside from lacking the 3D effect on the top screen, there's nothing the 2DS can't do that the 3DS and XL can. (Yes, the 2DS can play all of the 3DS games, and most DS/DSi games.) The 2DS can even take 3D photos with its dual lenses around back. It also has the same power connection interface as all the other 3DS models, though this version won't fit in any charging dock.
Since it can't be closed like the 3DS and XL, the screens can be put in standby mode by sliding a sleep switch on the bottom right of the 2DS.
You know...for kids!
Since the 2DS is intended for younger gamers, it's only right that I let a few have a go with the 2DS. I handed it off to my cousins, a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, for a few hours.
I noticed they had some trouble really wrapping their hands around the device, opposed to my gigantic paws that cradle it with ease. The big shoulder buttons seemed to work out well, and there was also no issue in regards to stylus play. The lightweight 2DS isn't a strain for young ones where heavier portable devices may be more cumbersome.
The plastic encasing that holds the 2DS together doesn't seem like the strongest material ever constructed, but it should do the job surviving the occasional bumps and bruises that a child might expose it to. That said, a drop onto a hard surface from a few feet up might spell the end of your 2DS for good. Also, the plastic window that protects the top screen looks like it's just begging to be cracked.
As childproof as the 2DS might be, it's not impervious to the gunk and grime that children will almost certainly introduce to the system. To help ease the pain of a worried parent, Nintendo is selling a $13 padded foam zipper case for the 2DS that also holds three game cards. I'd implore anyone to buy this along with the system no matter what age it's purchased for.
Like I stated earlier, the 2DS is a completely capable little machine missing only the ability to display 3D games. With that omission I figured I'd notice an improvement in battery life, but unfortunately that's not the case. In my few days of playing around with the 2DS, I couldn't discern any bump in battery life whatsoever. It's not any worse than the 3DS XL, though, so you'll still get around 3 to 5 hours or of play time.
I'll admit, I initially scoffed at the 2DS because I didn't realize who it was for. It's not for me and it's probably not for the older gamer who still plays portable consoles. Instead, it's almost the perfect fit for a child's first gaming system (especially if you're tired of your kid bogarting your iPhone).
The 2DS' price is right and the archive of available compatible software is more than enough for anyone, so there shouldn't be much deliberation in that department. A better battery life really would have benefited the 2DS considering its target audience, but it's tough to knock at just $130 (though a $99 price tag would've been even sweeter).
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 1
4 Star: 0
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1 Star: 0
Rating: 5 / 5
on November 30, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: No 3d!
Price ($99)on black friday
Ability to play Zelda and upcoming brawl game
Cons: Trigger buttons
Case is extra
Summary: I picked this up for $99 for a mobile gaming device other than my phone. I have to say this is one of the best ideas nintendo has had in a long time. I am not a little kid, and the device is perfect to play new 3ds games without the headache-causing 3d.
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