PAX Prime 2013: Hands On The Nintendo 2DS

At PAX Prime 2013, Nintendo had with them the curiosity that was announced shorty before the start of the show, and which was talk of both the convention floor and online. Though much of the chatter has not exactly been the good kind.

I speak of the Nintendo 2DS, of course, their low cost 3D-less 3DS variant. So how exactly is the latest addition to the company’s long list of handhelds, which added fuel to the fire of detractors, and which many devotees have a heard time defending?

Well, often pieces of hardware that look awkward end up being not so bad. And it’s the case here; I was surprised how comfortably my average sized hands were able to grip the demo unit.

Unfortunately, it was tethered to the waist of the Nintendo rep who was basically a walking, talking demo kiosk. To prevent anyone from just running off with the thing, though given how crowded the PAX show floor was, that seemed completely implausible.

As such, I was not able to properly assess the thing’s weight. Though again, my hands were able to comfortable grip the unit, which was a surprise, given how one might assume it to be on the small side, given the intended audience, that being children.

The screens felt smaller, but I was told they were the same size as a regular 3DS. Unfortunately, my personal, first gen model, was not handy to make the necessary side by side comparison. Though the image quality seemed exactly the same. Without the 3D part, of course.

There are other, little differences as well, such a slightly reworked volume rocker, one that’s more flushed with the system, more so than on the regular 3DS or 3DS XL. There’s also no wireless button. Instead, turning connectivity on and off is done via software alone.

On that note, the 2DS’s OS is slightly different to accommodate that software driven wireless management, and to also account for the fact that there is no 3D visual output. I asked about firmware updates and the such, and even though the representative could not answer with absolute certainty, he theorized that when the regular 3DS gets an update, one for the 2DS will get its, right alongside.

The interface was pretty much exactly the same, so the notion sounds plausible. This isn’t Android we’re talking about, in which each device is so vastly different that software updates are never consistent across the board.

I also asked one major advantage of having a clamshell design, and that’s screen protection. To that, I was told that when the 2DS is finally made available, there will be a carry case accessory that is sold alongside to help protect the screens.

In the end, the 2DS isn’t nearly as bad in person, though it’s still very much strange, and something most people reading this won’t want or really need.

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