Nintendo 2DS review

Won't somebody please think of the children?

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  • Affordable and durable
  • Perfect for kids
  • Plays all 3DS games


  • Mono speaker
  • 3D camera feels pointless
  • Still not sold on the wedge

If you still think the 2DS is completely bonkers, you probably haven't wrapped your hands around one yet. Putting out a two dimensional version of the 3DS with all the other features might seem odd on the face, but pick one up and it all starts to make sense.

This isn't a gaming device for the real gamers. At £110 ($130) it's a way for Nintendo to get younger children (and possibly even their parents) tapping into the 3DS game library.

The problem with Nintendo as of late is that it's been getting itself into a bit of a muddle when it comes to explaining why we need its consoles in our lives.

With the 2DS, it needs to yell its message loud and clear: the 2DS is cheaper and more robust handheld, and therefore perfect for kids.


The clamshell is dead. Long live the clamshell. Yes, the lack of a hinge means Nintendo's 2DS comes in a wedge-shaped slate design that feels (and looks) pretty weird at first. It's also the first non-hinge handheld since the GBA Micro.

But within minutes of holding it we found that these feelings faded away and that, actually, the 2DS is surprisingly comfortable to hold. It's not the most ergonomic thing in the world though certainly better than what we expected.

All the buttons found on the 3DS are here except there's also been a slidable sleep button added to compensate for the lack of hinge-closing functionality. Meanwhile the home button has been blown up a bit and sits under the bottom display.

The start and select buttons can now be found to the right of the screen and the circle pad and d-pad are now further up on the left.


The 2DS comes in either blue and black, red and black, or, if you live in the US, black and red. But the Nintendo 2DS doesn't feel like a piece of premium tech. Instead Nintendo has opted for something that feels cheaper and more plasticky than the 3DS and 3DS XL.

We reckon you could chuck this at something with a fair bit of force and it would be ok, which we guess is sort of the point. Kids and hinges don't tend to get along; kids and delicate touchscreens don't really see eye to eye either.


So the 2DS is sturdy and able to take a bit of a knocking. But after enough tossing around even the 2DS will start picking up scratches. So we'd recommend pairing it with a protector case if you plan to put it under the Christmas tree for someone this year.

Although there's logic in the "stripping down" thought process, we do think Nintendo could have still offered something a tad nicer for the price. For example, the 2DS now comes with just one speaker on the console, which means it loses the stereo sound of the 3DS. It's a noticeable shame.


The camera is perhaps the most curious part of the 2DS. While the handheld no longer owns a 3D display, Nintendo has chosen to keep the two cameras on the back. This means you can still take 3D pictures but won't be able to make them pop unless you transfer them to someone else who has a 3DS.

It also means that you'll be looking at some pretty grainy shots on the 2DS screen given . Really, a better 2D camera would have fit in better here.


We can't see many kids making an effort to get their pictures in full stereoscopic action. Really, we'd have rather Nintendo dropped a camera and added another speaker instead.

Tech Specs

Product TypeHandheld Game Console
Battery RechargeableYes
Graphics Controller ManufacturerDigital Media Professionals
Graphics Controller ModelPICA200
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory Capacity6 MB
Maximum Battery Run Time9 Hour
Product Family2DS
Dual ScreenYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Maximum Resolution400 x 240
Brand NameNintendo
Processor TypeARM11
Screen Size9 cm (3.5")
Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Standard Memory128 MB
Battery IncludedYes
Processor ManufacturerARM
Graphics Memory TechnologyVRAM
Memory Card Size Included4 GB
Memory Card Type IncludedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Buttons Direction4-way
Buttons TypeCircle Pad, Action Button, Select Button, Start Button, Directional Keys
Total Number of Cameras3
Height127 mm
Width144.8 mm
Depth20.3 mm
Camera Resolution300 Kilopixel
Memory TechnologyFCRAM
Camera TypeVGA
ManufacturerNintendo Co., Ltd
Product Name2DS Handheld Game Console
Product Line2DS
Manufacturer Part NumberFTRSKAAA
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Designed for your family

The new Nintendo 2DS system gives you all the features of the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, minus 3D viewing. And the price makes the world of Nintendo games even more accessible.

Package Contents
  • 2DS Handheld Game Console
  • 2DS Stylus
  • SDHC Memory Card (4 GB)
  • AC Adapter
  • 6 x AR Cards
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • Nintendo 2DS Operations Manual
Weight (Approximate)260 g