Nintendo takes wraps off of new 2DS handheld

It might sound like a joke or maybe a typo, but Nintendo is deadly serious about the latest addition to its handheld gaming family: The 2DS.

Labelled as a “streamlined” version of the 3DS, this new one will play games for both 3DS and the original Nintendo DS – and it’ll do it all in two glorious dimensions.

Featuring the same hardware set-up as the current generation of 3DS handhelds, the new 2DS boasts the same gameplay controls, backwards compatibility with the DS and wireless functionality which means that StreetPass and SpotPass will still work fine.

But it’s not all the same. The biggest difference? No hinges. The 2DS fits into a neat, “slate-form” design, rather than the clamshells we’re so used to from Nintendo. In fact, it’s the first non-folding handheld from Big N since the Game Boy Micro, which came out in 2005.

This shift has also seen the control elements moved further up the body of the device, so you’ll need to adjust your standard bottom-half grip from the 3DS. The benefit of this? It’s much better weighted, much nicer to hold, and reportedly will avoid the dreaded crab-hands of long-term gaming.

…and of course, there’s the lack of 3D functionality, but that was kind of obvious given the name.

The stylus is the same size as a 3DS XL, the battery life is marginally better than the original 3DS (and not quite as good as the 3DS XL), and it still has the same set up of cameras, motion sensors and gyro sensors. Audio is now mono rather than stereo, which could be frustrating for games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which makes good use of surround-sound audio cues. Sleep mode is still there, but now triggered by a switch, rather than closing the console (obviously!). Disappointingly, the screen sizes are the same as the original 3DS rather than the XL, with the console’s actual size fitting somewhere in the middle of the two.

The new design has been created as an entry point into the Nintendo handheld experience (or perhaps just a new way to enjoy it). Pick it up in one of two colour combinations – White+Red or Black+Blue – and if you want to keep it safe, snag a 2DS Carrying Case to go with it.

The "slate-form" 2DS

The “slate-form” 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS will be available around the world from October 12, 2013 (including Australia and New Zealand on that day!) and set you back a recommended AU$149.95 / NZ$179.95. It has not yet been confirmed for Japan.

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