Meet the New Nintendo 2DS XL, the newest member of Nintendo’s handheld gaming family, stealth-unveiled by Nintendo late Thursday night. The most salient takeaway: it’s rather pretty.
It’s also not what you’d expect in a step-up variant from the 2DS, which currently sports a rigid, unhinged design. The new 2DS XL by contrast is every bit the clamshell the new 3DS XL is. In fact it turns out to be virtually everything else the new 3DS XL is — minus the 3D. Nintendo says the new 2DS XL “packs the same power as New Nintendo 3DS XL,” which means that if you own a new 3DS XL, you essentially own the new 2DS XL, too.
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Except for a few maddeningly alluring aesthetics. Like the new 2DS XL’s completely refurbished housing, a slate black finish with electric-turquoise highlights. The ostensible ergonomic advances (over the new 3DS XL) extend to the interior top screen, which is now an edge-to-edge surface of the sort familiar to contemporary smartphone owners. (Where the speakers disappeared to remains to be seen.) The power button has wisely been shifted off the bottom edge and up to the open area south of the d-pad. (No more accidentally bumping the system awake!) And the camera and mic have moved from above the top screen to the hinge between the two screen. (Its formerly tip-top position could presumably change as 3D face tracking is now superfluous.)
It’s also lighter, weighing in at 9.2 ounces (261 grams), analogous to the standard 2DS, but svelter than the 11.6 ounce (329 grams) new 3DS XL. Nintendo shaved an almost indiscernible smidgen off the handheld’s height, open or closed, as well. In fact I see nothing to quibble with here that isn’t a mix of the cosmetic and personal. Like that the U.S. only gets this new iteration in black/turquoise colors, whereas Japan gets both those and an incredible-looking white/orange variant. Or the shift away from the new 3DS XL’s Super Famicom candy-colored face button lettering — imagine if they’d instead doubled down and dipped the buttons entirely in those colors a la the limited edition Japanese new 3DS XL.
You can have the new 2DS XL on July 28 (on the same day as Hey! Pikmin and Miitopia debut) for $149.99 says Nintendo, a $50 less expensive alternative to the $199.99 new 3DS XL. Or, if you want to think about it this way, the new 2DS XL is the $50 price drop everyone’s been waiting for on an ergonomically superior 3DS XL, minus a feature X people use.
Now solve for X.