New Nintendo 2DS XL Hands-On Impressions: 5 Takeaways About Surprise 3DS Model

When Nintendo surprised gamers with the announcement of the next handheld in the 3DS family, many were asking why this older platform needed an update, and for good reason. Not only were the current Nintendo 3DS family consoles performing well, but the Switch was just released and offered an arguably better version of the handheld experience.

However, the New Nintendo 2DS XL does offer a more budget-friendly option for those gamers who cannot afford the Switch or New 3DS XL. And in the case of the 3DS XL, you’re not losing much by getting the 2DS XL.

Ahead of its July release date, Nintendo invited press to a New York City event to give journalists some hands-on time with the 2DS XL and three upcoming 3DS games. Here are five takeaways from our experience testing out the New Nintendo 2DS XL.


The 2DS XL is obviously smaller than the 3DS XL (not by much), but it’s not until I actually held it in my hand that I was impressed. Despite moving the 3DS XL screen to the 2DS XL, the new console weighs less and is not as thick as earlier 3DS systems. A lot of the bulk from previous incarnations of the 3DS line are gone and it makes the 2DS XL a much more manageable console to carry with you.

While you’re playing, the 2DS XL feels great. Besides the lighter weight, the material it’s made of is not that glossy, hard plastic but instead has a more textured feel. It’s a bit hard to describe, but it doesn’t feel like the 2DS XL will ever fall out of your hands because your palms became too sweaty.

2ds xl vs nintendo 3ds xl size width The 2DS XL is thinner than the 3DS XL.


The biggest shock to me when I picked up the 2DS XL for the first time was how the stylus and game/SD Cards were situated.

The game cartridge and stylus are still on the bottom of the console but Nintendo FINALLY secured each in different ways. No longer will you have to worry about your game cartridge popping out in your pocket or bag, because the cartridge slot is protected by the body of the 2DS XL. All you have to do is pop open the slot in the bottom of the console and the cartridge slot is present right next to the SD Card slot.

And yes, the SD Card is easily accessible. No longer will you have to unscrew the back plate of your 3DS, you can simply pop in an SD Card and keep on going.

nintendo 2ds xl stylus catrdige The stylus and game cartridge are located on the bottom of the 2DS XL.

As for the stylus, past 3DS incarnations didn’t secure them, leading to many players losing them on their travels. How many times did you toss your 3DS into your bag and when you took it out the stylus fell inside your bag? The 2DS XL actually has a snap-on feature that secures your stylus. No more having to purchase a separate stylus from GameStop.


So how does the New Nintendo 2DS XL run games? Essentially, just as well as the 3DS XL. Nintendo assured gamers that while the console is lighter and lacks the 3D function, it still packs the same power and they were right.

The new RPG Ever Oasis was available to play; it’s very detailed and has a lot of content, but ran on the 2DS XL with no problems. Considering every 3DS game in Nintendo’s library will be available to play on the new console — albeit without the 3D functions — it’s nice to know that this console can deliver on it.

There are a lot of great games in the deep 3DS library, such as the various Dragon Quest games, Pokémon Sun and Moon and countless more, so those who are jumping into the 3DS line late can still enjoy them the way it was intended.


The new 2DS XL comes in a cool-looking black and turquoise color scheme…and that’s it.

I remember a time when a new line of GameBoys were released there were different colors to choose from. When the 3DS XLs were released in 2012, there were four options to choose from in most of the world and there have been new colors released in various parts of the world every year since.

And while the new 2DS XL arrives at a time where there may not be a large enough market for it (only time will tell), could have hurt for Nintendo to allow this new model to have swappable faceplates? I could see that the console didn’t have a way to swap out the faceplate and while it was lighter and less bulky than the 3DS XL, it seemed too big to be able to fit the current line of 3DS faceplates that are available.

When I asked a few Nintendo reps about swapping out faceplates, they confirmed. While this is a nitpick on my part, it’s just a bummer to not be able to customize my handheld to differentiate from everyone who is buying it.


This takeaway is more of a confirmation of how I felt when the 2DS XL was first announced in April.

Nintendo really should have pushed for this option years ago, rather than releasing the 2DS model that cost $99. The 2DS XL easily would have grabbed the younger demographic with parents willing to shell out that kind of money and still cater to dedicated handheld gamers who didn’t really need the 3D option. It’s a shame because the 2DS XL is a very good console.

It’s lightweight and slimmed-down design makes it very attractive to those who want to game on-the-go while improving on smaller things like hiding the game cartridge, adding an easily accessible SD Card slot and securing the stylus.

And now with the Nintendo Switch in full swing, the market for the 3DS line is dwindling and unless they announce a new Pokémongame for the 3DS — which can definitely happen — the moment for this may have passed them by.

The New Nintendo 2DS XL will release July 28 for $149.99.

Are you interested in purchasing the 2DS XL? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.