The main differences between the 3DS and 2DS is there is no clamshell design, no 3D screen and it’s more affordable. I think it was a good move for Nintendo to release a budget friendly version of the 3DS, it means games are now more affordable, and all 3DS games work on the 2DS.
It’s also available at the right time, close to the holiday season and would make great Christmas gifts, with 2DS game titles starting at only R79. Nintendo is serious about the South African market – at the launch a while back, the company said that the 2DS is priced about 15% cheaper than the UK.
The console is aimed at a much younger audience than the 3DS, due to 3D capabilities not being suitable for children under 7 years of age.
The hardware on the 2DS is similar to the 3DS and has the same technical specs (GPU, CPU and RAM). Both have dual screens: a 3.53-inch widescreen on the top and a 3.02-inch touch-screen below. It also has the same gyro and motion sensor; 2 outer & 1 inner camera; has WiFi; supports StreetPass and SpotPass; and has a sleep switch – unlike the 3DS, which activated sleep mode by closing the console.
The battery takes 3.5 hours to charge fully, and while battery life is average between 3.5 to 5.5 hours, and because there’s no power saving mode, it’s best to switch off the console when not in use. Lasts for weeks and you’re not left with a situation that when you switch it on again, it’s dead. Sleep mode gives you 3 days. Sound quality on the 2DS is mono, unlike stereo on the 3DS, but supports stereo through earphones. The 2DS weighs 260g, versus the 235g on the 3DS.
The console comes with a 4GB SD card and stylus that slots neatly at the back. It does look cheap, but has a robust design that you feel when it’s in your hands. But if you look at who it’s intended for, it makes total sense. Children 7 years and younger don’t know the difference.
The buttons are positioned slightly differently than the 3DS due to the non-foldable design, and if you’ve used the 3DS before, it may take a slight while to adjust to, although I didn’t have any issues. I played Tetris, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Street Fighter 4 on the 2DS and all moves felt as natural as I would’ve played it on the 3DS, which is what I’ve been using since for the last few years.
The 2DS also lets you play augmented reality shooting games like the 3DS. It comes with the same pack of 6 AR cards, and you start off with the ‘?’ card first, by placing it on a flat surface and pointing the console 35cm away.
Essentially it offers the same experience as the 3DS with the exception of 3D. I usually keep the 3D mode off on my console – my eyes are already bad, it doesn’t need the unnecessary strain.
I think the 2DS is great entry-level handheld console and the fact that games start at R79 makes it really attractive. The closest ‘competition’ it has locally is the PlayStation Vita, which is at least R1000 more.
It’s available in either black & blue or white & red at a recommended retail price of R1 459.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).