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Nintendo 2DS vs. 3DS and 3DS XL: The specs your decision should hinge on

Yesterday Nintendo surprised just about everyone by announcing a brand new handheld device called the 2DS. At first glance it looked like a budget version of the 3DS, which makes no sense unless you also take into account that Nintendo is aiming this device squarely at the 7 and under age range.

So with the surprise now settling down, it’s time to take a look at just how much (or little) the 2DS differs from the original 3DS and larger 3DS XL.


The 2DS is by far the cheapest of the three handhelds at $129.99. By comparison you can pick up a 3DS for $169.99 and a 3DS XL for $199.99. That 2DS price must contain a substantive profit margin for Nintendo, but is still low enough to entice a purchase for younger kids.

A 2DS and a couple of games is also going to come in at around the same price as a PS Vita ($199), which is significant especially now Sony has dropped the price of the Vita to match that of a 3DS XL.

Dimensions weight

Even though Nintendo has removed the hinge from the 2DS, it’s not the lightest of the three handhelds. The 3DS weighs in at 235 grams, the 3DS XL is 336 grams, while the 2DS sits in the middle at 260 grams. It’s unclear why this is the case. The weight may have been added in the process of making the 2DS as indestructible as possible, preparing it to be in the hands of young children.

The dimensions of the 2DS confirm it’s about as thick as the 3DS models, but shorter and slightly wider than the 3DS:

  • 2DS: 127 x 144 x 20.3mm
  • 3DS: 74 x 134 x 21mm (closed), roughly 148mm tall when open
  • XL: 93 x 156 x 22mm (closed), roughly 186mm tall when open

The 2DS, by default, becomes the largest of the three to carry around simply because you can’t fold it in half. That also means no carry case reuse and more accessory sales for Nintendo.

Display size

You’ll be glad to hear that although this is the cheapest of Nintendo’s handheld units, the company isn’t skimping on display size. The 2DS matches the 3DS in that regard with an upper screen that is 3.53-inches and a lower touchscreen of 3.02-inches. The best experience is still on the relatively massive 3DS XL screens, but then you want to be playing on that while your kids are focused on the 2DS.

The jury is still out on whether the 2DS actually has a single or two screens inside. It has been suggested it’s just a single display unit to save on costs and Nintendo has hidden the rest behind the casing. As soon as iFixit manages to get their hands on one we’ll know for sure.


Both the 3DS and 3DS XL shipped with an SD card thrown in for free. For the 3DS it’s a 2GB card where as the 3DS XL includes a 4GB card. Nintendo has decided to match that for the 2DS and include a 4GB card, which I think points more to them wanting digital purchases happening rather than generosity.

The thing to focus on here is there’s going to be plenty of storage out the box so there’s no need to purchase another, larger card for a while at least.

Next page: Battery life, audio, and our verdict…

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