Recently, Nintendo unveiled their latest handheld device: a Nintendo 2DS. No, that is not a typo. When I first saw the news in my RSS Feeds, I had to double check the date wasn’t close to April 1st. Trust me, we are not and this is real. This new handheld plays all 3DS and DS games but without the option for 3D (both the 3DS and 3DS XL have a slider on the side of the top screen that allows users to turn the 3D effect off already). The device has a case of mistaken identity since it cannot display 3D images but still allows users to take pictures in 3D with its twin back cameras. It also comes in a new slate form factor instead of the clamp shell form that Nintendo has been using for many generations. Priced at $129.99, the Nintendo 2DS is $40 cheaper than the original 3DS and $70 cheaper than the 3DS XL. But the question here is whether or not it’s worth it? In my opinion, this is an unequivocal “no” because of its form factor.
The new 2DS is a giant slate that makes the device difficult to store, difficult to hold (particularly for children), and vulnerable to damaged screens. First of all, the 2DS doesn’t fold into a smaller form to be easily stored in a drawer or box. For adults, I don’t even think this device will fit comfortably into one’s pocket when a 3DS easily did. Second, the new slate form makes the 2DS look HUGE and unwieldy to be held by anyone, let alone a child. Strangely enough, Nintendo is marketing the 2DS as the ideal gift for young children since the cheaper pricing allows parents to buy more 2DS’s than 3DS’s. However, the form is simply not made with children in mind. What was Nintendo thinking? For $40 more, parents can buy a 3DS that their children can hold more easily since children only need to grasp half of the device – basically the lower screen area. Sure, $40 is the price of a game, but we all know most parents are willing to spend a little bit more for their children. Finally, the clamp shell form of the 3DS and 3DS XL gives the screens a form of protection when in the closed position. The 2DS, on the other hand, offers no such luxury, leaving the screens vulnerable to damage at all times.
What is the Nintendo 2DS? It’s a slightly cheaper Nintendo 3DS without the functional clamp shell form factor that made the 3DS easier to store and hold, all while protecting the screens. Is that worth the cheaper price? No, no it isn’t. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to write off the 2DS without trying one, but I just don’t see the market for this. The Nintendo 3DS is already over 2 years old with its successor being the 3DS XL. It would have been more reasonable for the Big N to price cut the 3DS to $129.99 and call it a day instead of going through R&D and the manufacturing of an entirely new form – I would also include testing, but it seems obvious Nintendo didn’t do any or they would have realized the glaring flaw in their design. Save yourself the trouble this holiday season and buy a 3DS or 3DS XL and not this monstrosity called a 2DS. What’s next, the 4DS?