3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Nintendo's 3DS handheld has quickly become one of my all-time favorite gaming devices. We're only two and a half years into the console's lifespan, and we've already been treated to several masterpieces so good, they can easily compete with and defeat many home console releases in terms of quality and overall excellence. It has also been a hugely successful venture for Nintendo, but some people have still held off from buying one. Why? Maybe it's the price that has kept people away. Perhaps parents are afraid their children will break the hinges of the 3DS. Admittedly, one of the coolest features of the system, the 3-D effect, isn't for everyone, either due to preference or age. Well, whatever the case, Nintendo has come out with the 2DS to try and appeal to those people. Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: everything about the 2DS has the same high-quality and attention to detail that is to be expected of Nintendo products, but in my opinion, the 2DS pales in comparison to the 3DS XL in almost every way. You should only consider getting a 2DS in specific circumstances. I'll warn you right now, in order to be as informative as reasonably possible, this may be a long review. If you don't like long, detailed reviews, give this one a pass. You've been given fair warning.
Build Quality and Design: The 2DS' design is quite bold, to say the least. Abandoning the classical clamshell design that has been around for nearly a decade since the original DS (or even the Game Boy Advance SP, if you want to go way back, :P) was introduced is pretty gutsy. Here, we get more of a solid slate chuck design. It's a little shorter than the original 3DS folded out, and actually weighs a little less than the 3DS. On the one hand, this design makes the handheld really tough and a lot harder to break, which is great for kids. On the other hand, this design makes the system a lot clunkier to carry around, and really lessens its portability. Not being able to fold the system makes it much more of a dust magnet, and little incidental scratches on the screen over time are more of a likelihood. All that means is you have to be a bit more careful with where you store it and how you handle it. You can also buy really high-quality screen covers for dirt cheap that will protect the screens, so that isn't much of a problem. Instead of folding the system, there's a slider button on the bottom of the system to engage sleep mode. All buttons have a nice click to them, but are lacking any colorized highlights to label the buttons. Instead, it's just indentations showing which button is which, which gives the system a much cheaper feeling than the other 3DS models. The d-pad itself has a shape similar to the 3DS XL's, but is much, much spongier and the clicky nature has been lessened in comparison to the other 3DS model d-pads. Personally, I actually like it more, but whether others will find it to be a negative or positive change is really up to personal preference. Button placement is different as well. Instead of the buttons, d-pad, or circle pad being to the sides of the lower screen, they're much more central and playing the system feels like holding the Wii U's gamepad, which is surprisingly comfortable. The shoulder buttons also help with comfort as they are much bigger than the other 3DS models and wrap very nicely around the top rounded corners of the 2DS. They also have a nice concave groove to them, making holding the system superbly comfortable. My hands used to cramp up a lot with both the 3DS and the 3DSXL and I was forced to buy grips for both systems to be able to play for extended periods or else suffer from crippling pain in my hands, but not so with the 2DS. This is an incredibly comfortable system to hold, regardless of hand size, right out of the box. Overall, the build quality of the 2DS is excellent, despite the jarring nature of its design.
Sound: Unfortunately, one of the worst aspects of the hardware is the sound design. There's only one mono speaker on the left of the system and while the sound from it is just as loud as the other models, it's simply not detailed or distinct enough to match the other 3DS models (and their speakers aren't that amazing by themselves either, but their stereo set-up is much better than the 2DS single speaker by comparison). Trust me, you'll want to get a pair of stereo headphones to use with the system. Personally, most of the time I don't even play my 3DSXL without plugging in a nice headset or a decent set of speakers, so this isn't that big of deal to me. 3DS games are just much more enjoyable with headphones/earphones/earbuds/whatever regardless of which 3DS system you have, at least in my opinion. Still, some will probably be bothered by the mono speaker in the 2DS, so I must mention it. It sounds great with headphones though!
Screens: The screens on the 2DS are the same size as the original 3DS. Despite what I said a little earlier about the screens always being exposed being a small cause for concern, the 2DS' screens seem to be made of a tougher material than the original 3DS screens, which makes them more resistant to scratches by nature. They're also set into the system deeper, making it harder to brush the surface accidentally. The actual quality of the screens are very nice. Colors are vibrant and bright. The sharpness is very crisp and detailed. One of my biggest complaints about the 3DS is that when the 3D is all the way up, there can be really annoying "ghosting" of images in areas where brightness contrast is high. You don't have to worry about that at all on the 2DS, and that is a big positive in its favor. Overall, fantastic screen quality.
Battery Life: The 3D effect can be a major drain on the batteries of the 3DS(XL). Since it's gone here, battery life has been dramatically improved by default. This is a big boon in the 2DS' favor. Now, batteries last at least 7-9 hours per charge, as opposed to the 3DS' 3-5 or the 3DSXL's 4-6 (keep in mind, that's with the 3D all the way up). That's really nice and makes the system less of a hassle on trips. Granted, without 3-D on, the 3DS and XL do last longer, and all 3DS/2DS models last longer when you turn off power draining features like wifi or lower the brightness setting. That been said, I stand by my statement that the 2DS has great battery life by default, about as good as the 3DSXL with its 3-D turned off.
Backwards Compatibility: This is a bit of a mixed bag. While the colors and vibrancy are very nice, the screen size and pixel resolution leave a little bit to be desired. Playing in native resolution makes the screens so small you can't see very much and the bottom screen becomes super cramped. If you don't opt to use the native DS resolution, then you have to deal with the games taking up the whole screen as normal, but with a little bit of blurriness. Is it that big of a problem? Not really, no. Only the biggest sticklers will even notice any blur, let alone be bothered by it, and most will easily be able to enjoy any DS game on their 2DS.
Lack of 3-D and Price Reduction: What is the 3DS without its most distinguishing third-dimensional feature? The 2DS. Is that a problem? For me, it would be because I love the 3-D effect personally. For those who don't like the 3-D, or for the kiddies, it's perfect. The 3DS' stereoscopic effect is not supposed to be used by kids younger than seven or eight. Until now, those young'uns could only play their games with the 3D slider off, and parents had to pay full-price for a system which would have one of its most prominent features unused. What a waste. Now you can spend much less and get pretty much every other good aspect of the 3DS system, including its most important feature: an excellent library of games. This is an idea I can get behind. Aside from the 3-D effect, the 2DS has virtually every other feature the 3DS has. All software aspects, such as wifi connectivity, access to the eshop, and all on-system programs, are here. The 2DS also comes with a nice-sized SD card so you can download a good number of eshop games. At a cool $129.99 (and don't ever pay more than that for this system), all of this is an absolute steal of a deal.
I have to admit, when I first glimpsed the announcement for the 2DS, I was incredulous. What was this clunky monstrosity before me? A 2DS?! Why remove the very thing that defines the 3DS? What's with that slate design? Has Nintendo lost their mind?! As time has gone by, however, I've warmed up to the idea, and got one for certain occasions where I wouldn't be able to bring my 3DSXL. It has worked out well so far. Let me be clear, the 2DS is certainly not for everyone. If you have the funds, then I would invest it on the 3DSXL over the 2DS any day of the week. Ultimately, the 3DS XL is still the best version of Nintendo's current handheld brand. However, if you're the parent of a child who isn't old enough to use the 3DS' stereoscopic visual effect, a monetarily challenged gamer who wants to enjoy the incredible 3DS library, or someone who'd like a cheaper secondary 3DS-type system, then the 2DS is certainly a worthy investment. If you fall into anything resembling those categories, then I heartily recommend the 2DS. I hope you found my review helpful. Thanks for reading. Toodles