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Nintendo 2DS XL (White / Orange)


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Nintendo 2DS XL (Black / Turquoise)


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Nintendo 2DS XL (Poké Ball Edition)


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3D… that was a flash in the pan if ever there was one! The obsession with 3D TV came and went faster than Resident Evil 7, and 3D gaming… well, that’s sort of enjoying a little bit of a comeback with the new VR headsets, but it’s safe to safe that it’s a format that’s failed to live up to expectations. It’s endangered.

So why exactly am I talking about 3D gaming during a review for a 2D device? Because the Nintendo 2DS XL has given us 3D-frustrated peeps what we’ve been asking for: a way to play 3D content without 3D.

 

What is the 2DS XL?

In a nutshell, the Nintendo 2DS XL (try saying that three times fast) is the not-so-secret love child of the Nintendo 2DS and the Nintendo 3DS XL. It’s taken the best bits from two OK devices and sewn them together Frankenstein-style to make something new. And lo and behold, it’s actually worked!

What we’ve got here is the 4GB internal memory of the 3DS XL, combined with the folding screen of the 2DS; we’ve got 3D-only content (like the awesome Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy), playable on a 2D console without the need to lie down in a dark room for a few hours afterwards. It’s the best of both.

Luckily (or unluckily in some cases), there are still a few reminders of the older Nintendo consoles shining through in this new design. Internal storage stays the same as the 2DS XL at 256MB, as does the resolution. On the unlucky side of things, the 0.3MP camera is the same, too. Poor show, Nintendo.

I’m just going to be blunt here: I’ve seen kids toy cameras with more megapixels. Really. Is a better camera needed? Well, no. Of course not. I mean, you see Natalie Dormer walking past, which are you going to grab to take a sneaky photo: your smartphone or your Nintendo DS? Exactly. But improving the camera could have been a great opportunity for Nintendo to really up their game… quite literally!

 

Design

Without the need to support 3D content with 3D graphics, the Nintendo 2DS XL is light as a feather, and a good chunk lighter than its big bro, the 3DS XL. This makes it super comfortable to hold even despite its XL design. It’s even comfy when you’re on your 4th hour of Rayman… believe me, I should know.

Still, there are definite questions to be asked when it comes to overall layout. I mean, seriously. Which genius thought it was a good idea to place the speakers facing AWAY from the player, and in a position where normal, human-sized hands partially cover them and block out the sound? Was this device designed by people with unusually teeny tiny digits? Had they had one too many the night before? Who knows. What I do know is that I could teach Nintendo a thing or two. Hear that Nintendo?

And don’t even get me started on the Nintendo 2DS XL stylus. Oops, guess it’s too late! This short, fat, stubby stick is nowhere near big enough to handle an XL model. I say bring back the super slim, streamlined, sexy little telescopic number from the original Nintendo DS. Then we’ll talk.

 

Use

The one massive advantage of the Nintendo 2DS XL over the old 2DS? The clamshell screen. Let’s be honest: the non-folding design of the 2DS was a disaster; it was big, clunky, and most importantly it wasn’t exactly portable, which was the entire point of the Nintendo DS in the first place. But the screen does have its issues, most notably that it doesn’t have any sort of anti-reflective coating whatsoever. The good news, of course, is that you can easily adjust the clamshell to minimise reflections, but at a time when we’ve got Apple introducing non-reflective iPads, it feels like Nintendo could have done more.

 

Final Thoughts

Sure, the Nintendo 2DS XL has a few faults. Design isn’t perfect and it seems like Nintendo have skipped a few steps with their layout considerations, but overall this is a good choice. In fact, if you’re after a Nintendo DS, I’d recommend the 2DS XL above all others as it’s got a great screen size, good memory and storage, and most importantly it plays all Nintendo DS games, even games made only for the 3D models.

Is it worth buying a Nintendo DS these days? Well, that’s something only you can decide. Could the new portable Nintendo Switch render the DS concept obsolete? It’s possible, but right now only time will tell.

What’s in the Box

  • Nintendo 2DS XL Handheld Console (Black/Turquoise or White/Orange)
  • Stylus
  • A/C Adapter
  • 6 AR Cards
  • 4GB microSDHC Memory Card

Nintendo 2DS XL
Games84%
Graphics58%
Design92%
Portability90%
81%Overall Score
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