The Nintendo 2DS is specialized Nintendo 3DS that lacks the 3DS’s ability to project images in glasses-free 3D (hence the admittedly confusing “2DS” moniker). There are other notable differences between the 2DS and 3DS models, including the 2DS’s lack of hinges and a single speaker instead of stereo sound. To get into more detail:
“Why did Nintendo develop the 2DS?”
The Nintendo 2DS is engineered with kids in mind. Its inability to project 3D images makes it a good option for parents who are unsure about the long-term effects that 3D might have on young kids’ eyesight. Likewise, the 2DS’s low price point ($129.99 USD) makes it a very attractive buy for parents who can’t or won’t spend $169.99 on a regular Nintendo 3DS, or $199.99 on a Nintendo 3DS XL.
“Does the Nintendo 2DS play Nintendo 3DS games?”
The Nintendo 2DS plays the entire Nintendo 3DS library, including all upcoming 3DS games. It will not have its own library of exclusive games. It can also go online via Wi-Fi and access digital games sold via the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
“Does the Nintendo 2DS play Nintendo DS games?”
Yes. The Nintendo 2DS is backwards compatible with the Nintendo DS library.
“Is Nintendo still making the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL?”
Absolutely. The Nintendo 2DS is simply an alternate model of the Nintendo 3DS that’s optimized for younger players.
“How is the 2DS the same as the 3DS?”
The 2DS can:
- Play Nintendo 3DS game cards
- Use SD cards for data storage
- Utilize Wi-Fi for online play in applicable games
- Download games and applications from the Nintendo 3DS eShop
- Play Nintendo DS game cards (backwards compatibility)
The Nintendo 2DS:
- Features a single speaker (monaural sound) versus the 3DS’s two speakers (stereo sound). You can plug in headphones for stereo sound.
- Doesn’t have hinges. It’s a single, solid, wedge-shaped piece.
- Can’t project 3D images, and lacks a 3D slider as a result.
- Is cheaper than the Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL ($129.99 USD versus $169.99 USD and $199.99 USD).
The Nintendo 2DS actually features a single screen that’s partitioned into two segments (one smaller, one larger) with plastic barriers. The sizes of the two segments are comparable to an original Nintendo 3DS: 3.53 inches (top screen, diagonally) and 3.02 inches (bottom screen, diagonally).
By comparison, the Nintendo 3DS XL’s screens measure 4.88 inches (top screen, diagonally) and 4.18 inches (bottom screen, diagonally).
“How do I put the Nintendo 2DS into sleep mode?”
The Nintendo 2DS has a “sleep slider” that you can use to put it into sleep mode. The traditional means of making the system go to sleep—closing it—obviously won’t work because the 2DS lacks the clamshell design.
“What’s the 2DS’s battery life like?”
The Nintendo 2DS’s battery life is reportedly on the same level as the 3DS XL’s battery life, so you should be able to get 3.5 to 6.5 hours. Turning off the Wi-Fi and/or keeping the screen brightness at a lower level should help keep the battery chugging for a longer time.
“It looks like a tablet.”
Indeed it does! This is almost certainly a conscious design choice by Nintendo. The Nintendo 2DS is meant to attract kids in particular, and children younger than one year of age are learning how to use tablets. The size, shape, and weight of the Nintendo 2DS should feel familiar and comfortable even for a very young child.
“Won’t the screen get scratched up without the clamshell design?”
No doubt the Nintendo 2DS is subject to more wear-and-tear since it can’t close, but it’s not as bad as you think. For one thing, you can order a handsome, soft carrying case ($12.99 USD) that keeps the screen from getting banged up while it’s being carried around in a bag. For another thing, Nintendo products are famous for being hardy. Neither the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or the original model of the Game Boy Advance had a clamshell design, but all three have generally stood up well against time’s abuse.
“Will we see custom Nintendo 2DS designs?”
That’d be nice. However, since the 2DS lacks the clamshell covering that usually serves as a canvas on the 3DS (and DS), it’s not very likely. We might see some special edition designs etched on the back of the system, though—who knows?
“What colors are the Nintendo 2DS available in?”
As of its October 2013 launch, the North American Nintendo 2DS is available in black-and-red / black-and-blue color schemes. Europe also has a red-and-white 2DS color scheme that resembles Nintendo’s first home console, the Famicom (A.K.A the Nintendo Entertainment System). It’s not yet clear if more colors are on the way.
“Can the Nintendo 2DS play Game Boy Advance (GBA) games?”
The Nintendo 2DS lacks a Game Boy Advance cartridge slot. However, it will feasibly be able to play Game Boy Advance titles that have been downloaded from the Nintendo 3DS eShop (whenever Nintendo gets around to making GBA games freely available on its digital marketplace).
“How much does the Nintendo 2DS cost?”
The Nintendo 2DS is $129.99 USD, which is $50 cheaper than the Nintendo 3DS ($169.99 USD) and $70 cheaper than the Nintendo 3DS XL ($199.99 USD).
“Should I buy a Nintendo 2DS?”
Ah, the Big Question. If you like the idea of purchasing a discounted Nintendo 3DS system for your child, particularly if you’re worried that he or she might break the hinges on the system, the Nintendo 2DS is a great buy.
The Nintendo 2DS is also a worthwhile purchase if you don’t want to pay a premium for the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D-projection hardware. So if you’re a parent who doesn’t want his or her child mucking with 3D at all, or if you’re just an adult who’s unable to see 3D images without experiencing physical problems, the 2DS lets you indulge in the 3DS’s awesome library for a great price.