Once the Nintendo Switch released, it felt like there would be very few big news bits about the Nintendo 3DS Family of Systems, but Nintendo proved everyone wrong. They announced something I’d always said I would want, but no one expected to ever be a real thing. They announced a Nintendo 2DS system with the hardware advancements of the New Nintendo 3DS line, allowing for a cheaper system to play exclusive games like Xenoblade and SNES Virtual Console games.
I’ve had the system for quite some time, and it’s way past due for my thoughts to be made clear. So, here is my hardware review of the New Nintendo 2DS XL!
Unlike the previous 2DS, the New 2DS does not share the hinge-less form factor. Instead, it has a hinge and is built much like the New 3DS. The system closes and has a top and bottom. If you’re unfamiliar with the design, the top part, or the “lid”, holds the system’s LCD screen while the bottom holds the controls, touch screen, and various ports and compartments.
However, Nintendo has made some changes to the New 3DS design for the New 2DS. Aside from a different material and being significantly lighter than the New 3DS XL, the New 2DS has a couple changes on the bottom of the device. By bottom, I mean on the panel underneath the screen, where the power button is. Underneath the power, wi-fi, and charging lights.
On the New 3DS, down here is the 3DS cartridge slot, headphone jack, stylus, and power button. All of those are here on the New 2DS, but a significant improvement is that the cartridge slot used for Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS games has been widened and now includes a flap to close it up as well as a port for the system’s Micro SD memory card. This is a vast improvement over the New 3DS, which required some disassembly to access said memory card.
Aside from that, there are a few cosmetic changes that can be seen, such as the area around the touch screen all being part of a single panel covering the entire system instead of a grooved square around it, which makes the system look a little more slick. This has no effect on performance or efficiency, but it does make the system look a bit newer.
So, we know that it does have a couple hardware enhancements over the New 3DS, so how well does it perform? For this, there are three main points to be made. Because the handling and buttons are identical to the new 3DS, there’s little point in going into detail here. The buttons feel as comfortable as they did before, from the Circle Pad to the new ZL and ZR buttons.
First of all, I’d like to talk about the screen on the system. It is significantly larger than the screen on the normal-sized 2DS, and that would mean games and the OS in general would be upscaled a bit. That was my impression, anyways. But, when I first booted up the system, something was strange about the screen. It didn’t take me long to see a noticeable blur on pretty much everything that was being displayed.
Once I started playing games, this didn’t seem to be an issue anymore, but when I was playing Hyrule Warriors Legends, I looked closely and could definitely see blurring in the game’s text and UI in general. I tested some other games, from Pokemon: Soul Silver to Ocarina of Time 3D. Although in some games, it wasn’t as apparent, it was still there if you looked closely. I do not remember this being an issue with the New 3DS, so I’m curious as to why this blur is here on the New 2DS. It’s just a slight blur, but a blur all the same.
Now let’s balance that negative point with a positive one. I’ve always noticed that with each new 3DS system Nintendo has made, the touch screen has improved slightly, and the New 2DS is the best 3DS touch screen they’ve made to date. Outside of the on-board keyboard, I can confidently say that the New 2DS doesn’t even need a stylus pen. The screen has become so sensitive to the touch of a finger that you barely even have to touch it for it to respond. This is a huge improvement over previous 3DS systems and a feature I am very grateful for.
Let’s add to that positive thinking with Battery Life. With all of the criticism towards the Nintendo Switch’s Battery Life, many people often forget that the 3DS did not have very good Battery Life, either. Let’s start with the New 3DS XL, which is supposed to have around 3.5-6.5 hours of battery life across various types of games.
The New 2DS improves on this slightly. I did 2 tests for this. One was playing Super Mario 64 DS with the Wi-Fi constantly on, and the second was playing Ocarina of Time 3D with the Wi-Fi constantly on. Here are the ranges I got:
Nintendo DS with Maximum Brightness – 5 Hours
Nintendo DS with Lowest Brightness – 7 Hours
Nintendo 3DS with Maximum Brightness – 4 Hours
Nintendo 3DS with Lowest Brightness – 6 Hours
I’m not saying 30 minutes is a drastic improvement, but it is an improvement, all the same. That raises the New 2DS Battery range up to 4 – 7 Hours.
In conclusion, the New 2DS XL is a slick, new system in the 3DS line with more Pros than Cons. Although the larger screen does suffer from a slight blur effect, the improved Touch Screen, Battery Life, and Memory Card placement makes it a worthy upgrade if you don't care about the 3D effect in 3DS games.