PROS / The Nintendo 2DS plays 3DS and DS cartridges, as well as DSi Ware, eShop and Virtual Console games.
CONS / The 2DS will need a charge after only 3.5 hours of gaming.
VERDICT / The Nintendo 2DS retains most of the important features of the 3DS family without costing much money.
Hardware prices are going up, and today, handheld consoles cost nearly as much as home consoles. Fortunately, the Nintendo 2DS is an affordable handheld game console that gives you the best features of the 3DS family. It lacks a glasses-free 3D upper screen, and you cannot fold it shut like the other consoles in the family. Also, even without the 3D screen, the 2DS battery life is disappointingly short. It has several quirks, but it is one of the cheapest handheld consoles available.
The worst aspect of the Nintendo 2DS is its departure from the conventions of the 3DS family. The name represents the fact that in place of glasses-free 3D technology, this handheld plays mobile games on two regular LCD screens. However, if you are familiar with the DS legacy, the 2DS sounds like a middle area that came after the sequel, almost like watching "Lion King 1.5." Once you get the console in your hands, it's a different story.
The 2DS is light at only 9 ounces, and the dual LCD screens are crystal clear from virtually any angle. It also feels sturdy and durable, so you should have no concerns giving it to your child. There is a slider on the bottom to set the system to its low-power sleep mode. Also, the 2DS is great for mobile gaming, able to play any of the games that the other 3DS models can play.
Our biggest issue with the Nintendo 2DS is its battery. Although the battery is stronger than the original 3DS, it is equal to the 3DS XL. In other words, the XL can play games in full 3D as long as the 2DS can play games in 2D. With just 3.5 hours of battery life, you may want to bring a car charger with you on those long road trips.
The Nintendo 2DS is a stripped-down model in the 3DS family, but it still has all the gaming capabilities of its 3D counterparts. Its battery life is disappointing, but this affordable handheld game console has the best value of all the mobile systems we reviewed.