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Nintendo 2DS review

Michael Sawh



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Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS
  • Nintendo 2DS


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Comfortable shoulder buttons
  • 3D dropped
  • Bigger catalogue of games


  • Ugly design
  • Cheap, plasticky feel
  • Mono speaker

Key Features

  • Hinge-less display
  • 3DS and 2D compatible
  • Online gaming
  • 2D and 3D cameras
  • Manufacturer: Nintendo
  • Review Price: £109.99

What is the Nintendo 2DS?

The Nintendo 2DS is, well, a Nintendo 3DS without the 3D. It can still play 3DS games and DS games and at £109.99 is cheaper than the 3DS (£149.99) and the 3DS XL (£179.99).
As Nintendo tries to boost sales of its flagging Wii U with more price cuts, launching the newest member of the DS family at the same time as Pokemon X & Y and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a shrewd move ahead of the looming festive period.

Nintendo 2DS - Video Review

If you fancy a quick snapshot review, watch our video review of the Nintendo 2DS.

Nintendo 2DS - Design

It's the elephant in the room everyone is openly happy to talk about. Call it a door wedge or the end of a bread loaf, the pocket-friendly hinged design is gone and what’s left is far from pretty. So unsightly in fact, we named it one of the ugliest consoles of all time.

While it isn't beautiful, there is method to Nintendo’s madness. The Nintendo 2DS cheaper to build than the 3DS. There’s just one screen instead of two - the plastic surround only makes it appear as two separate screens. And the glossy metallic look has been replaced with a plasticky, more 'Fisher Price toy' body.

Hoping to make kids step away from iPads and Android tablets, the 2DS can certainly withstand more rough and tumble than the more expensive tablets and the other 3D-toting Ninty portables.

It’s a chunky looking thing. And, weighing in at 260g, it's slightly heavier than the 3DS (235g). At 127mm high it’s actually taller than a 3DS when opened. Unless you walk around in cargo pants with big pockets, the 2DS is going to be a tight fit to even attempt to carry around alongside your phone or keys. I guess if you are a kid, that is much less of a problem.

It keeps the same 3.53-inch big screen and 3.02-inch lower display but the drastic change in design does call for a little rejigging of buttons. The D-pad, Circle pad and face buttons have moved higher making them a little more of a stretch.

The start and select buttons now beside the lower screen and shoulder buttons are larger and moulded into the curved, more rounded top edges of the casing.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo 2DS vs 3DS vs 3DS XL

Nintendo 2DS review 3

The volume is now hidden on the left edge of the screen and povver on the right, while the stylus is hidden away in a compartment with the SD card slot just below. The headphone jack has also been moved to the bottom left and on the opposite side is a Sleep toggle. The AC adaptor is still up top but has swapped places with the game card slot. The 2DS two cameras on the back and up front are still in place.

There are some casualties though. The wireless toggle switch is gone which means you will need to go into settings to turn it off. There's just a single mono speaker instead of the two stereo speakers flanking the side of the top screen on the 3DS and XL.

Inside the box, there’s a 4GB SD memory card matching the 3DS XL for added external memory and, unlike Nintendo’s larger screen portable, does come with a power adaptor.

When you pick it up for the first time, it’s obvious this is a different experience in the hand. It doesn’t feel as nice to hold as the 3DS or 3DS XL and it can be a bit of a stretch to reach buttons. If it’s an issue for our hands we can only imagine what it would be like for smaller hands.

It does take some getting used to but after a while it actually sits nicely in two hands. Adding the bigger shoulder buttons definitely helps to get a better grip and also makes them better when you are trying to aim at zombies in Resident Evil: Revelations.

Nintendo 2DS review

Nintendo 2DS - Games and Software

One of biggest issues with the 3DS at launch was the simple fact that there wasn’t enough enticing games on offer. Additionally, the Nintendo eShop was definitely not ready for business either.

Two years on, things have notably improved. Kid Icarus Rising, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon have been standout games for the platform in the last 12 months. 2013 still promises The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes so there’s definitely more reasons to want to own a 2DS right now.

The eShop finally looks like a digital storefront you want to visit. There’s now a bigger range of games stretching back to titles like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and it's now adding mobile games like Angry Bird Star Wars and Cut the Rope. Most importantly, it’s so much easier to get around and find content. It’s taken some time, but Nintendo is finally getting there.

On the software front, Nintendo has been adding some new features including the ability to create folder to store games on the home screen. Spotpass still lets you access video and software and the free Nintendo Video service is up and running. Nintendo Letter box lets you send personalised letters to other users in 2D and 3D and there’s still a pedometer where you can earn coins to spend in the Mii Plaza.

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Nintendo 2DS - Performance

The 2DS runs just like a 3DS or a 3DS XL. The interface is identical and the 3DS screen even flashes up in between booting up games. Yes, the 3D is gone, but Fire Emblem: Awakening, Super Mario 3D Land and a few other games aside, it’s not really missed.

Where the 2DS is left lacking is in the sound department. With just one mono speaker instead of two stereo ones, the audio is loud but far from powerful. If you plug in a pair of headphones things do improve and you can still get the surround sound experience.

Despite the fact you cannot view 3D video or photos, Nintendo still includes two cameras on the back and a front-facing one. You can still shoot 3D content but have to store it on a SD card. So, next time you are round a friend’s house with a 3DS you can review the content. If you still want to take 2D pictures, they are grainy and low quality at best. It's pointless to include it and leaving it out could have surely lowered the price even more.

The battery life is on par with the 3DS and will get you up to 5.5 hours of play time. It also takes around 3 hours again to charge up to full capacity. You are essentially getting about an extra half an hour of game time. We are disappointed Nintendo didn’t take the opportunity to ramp up the 2DS staying power like it did for the 3DS XL.

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Should I buy the Nintendo 2DS?

If you have a Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL, then the 2DS is not for you. If you are happy playing Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds, then stick to the smartphone or tablet.

The 2DS is clearly designed to entice younger gamers to nag parents for a cheaper Nintendo portable. The wedged look is not the prettiest, but for gaming it does grow on you, even if it doesn't fit in the pocket.

We are glad Nintendo gave 3D the boot but we think there was a missed opportunity to remove other unnecessary features to make the 2DS even cheaper.

Crucially, there are more games to play on it, both old and new - which was far from the case when the 3DS first turned up.


The Nintendo 2DS is is no danger of winning any design awards, but it's the cheapest way yet to get a Pokemon or Zelda fix.

Next, read our round-up of the best games of 2013

Overall Score


Aaron K Stone

October 22, 2013, 7:59 pm

Some games use the cameras for various features so unless Nintendo wants to make a patch for each game it's probably less trouble for them to keep the cameras in.


October 25, 2013, 8:36 pm

It looks... weird. I would not be proud to be seen with this device.


November 6, 2013, 7:55 pm

At first I didn't at all like the design, but after thinking about it this seems like the best way for someone like me to go; since I do't have much money and the 3d effect while playing makes me feel sick. Back when the 3ds came out I didn't get one, but now feels like the right time, now there been time new games to be made.


November 8, 2013, 12:59 am

What do you mean by bad design? the design is perfect for a 5 or 6 years old boy, because it is made for little children that cant use the 3d. And the catalogue is the same as the 3ds.


November 9, 2013, 5:23 am

Not to sure what to make of the 2DS yet... Went into a store to check it out and it does look and feel strange. As its made for younger audiences, I thought it might be ideal for my 5 yr old but he's been use to playing on my 3DS since he was 3 (without using the 3D facility) and he was fine handling it so design's not really an issue... I also ran it by my hubby who took one look at it and was like "uh uh, get him a 3DSXL so the jury's still out for me one this one but getting him his own DS would ensure that I could use mine un-disturbed...


December 4, 2013, 1:46 am

I am a 25 year old gamer in the process of buying either a 3DS or 2DS, I'm still weighing out the options. While the 3DS looks and plays nice I am looking for a cheaper price with the 2DS.


December 8, 2013, 5:39 pm

How is it a pocket-friendly design if it can only fit in a blazer pocket or a handbag?
Don't put it in a jeans back pocket or you'll crack the screen when you sit down and it's open to pickpockets.


December 8, 2013, 5:58 pm

Ditto to what that Pikachu said! The design is rather ... Ah.... Maybe I should use it for a door stopper? :(

Santa Creek Furrows

December 14, 2013, 1:43 pm

Yup! Winner here... Getting one for the 7 yr. old... the younger one gets his Leap Pad and will get a 2DS later on.... I like the lack of hinges, that and a case and a game and we're at the price of the 3DS..... Glad I decided to look this stuff up...


December 15, 2013, 10:45 pm

I personally will be buying this system because with the 3ds , i used the 3d feature for a couple minutes and turned it off for good . Plus its easy on the eyes . Design wise ? It could have been better but it is no big deal .


December 17, 2013, 9:42 pm

for all those complaining about scratched screens think about it this way the gameboy advance had an open screen and worked fine, people need to calm down


December 28, 2013, 8:04 pm

"3D dropped" is not a pro. It's just an objective fact. Not sure why that would be in the pros or cons.

Also, "Bigger catalogue of games"? Compared to what? The catalogue is exactly the same one the 3DS offers.


June 24, 2014, 2:47 am

As compared to a regular ds.


June 24, 2014, 1:53 pm

Maybe, but this isn't being compared to a regular DS. If this was supposed to mean "includes the entire DS catalogue", then that is not an advantage over the 3DS, because the 3DS has the exact same pro.

Seth Townsend

March 23, 2015, 11:45 pm

The cameras (all three of them) remain here to ensure 100% compatibility with existing games. They're available in the API so they have to be included on all compatible hardware.

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