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Nintendo's New 2DS XL is the closest you'll ever get to a '3DS XL Lite'

Nintendo's New 2DS XL is the closest you'll ever get to a '3DS XL Lite'
From Engadget - July 14, 2017

If the name sounds familiar, it should -- two years ago Nintendo released two revised 3DS models (in both standard and XL sizes) with Amiibo support, a faster processor, a second analog input and face tracking features to help stabilize and improve the 3D effect. The New Nintendo 2DS is basically a revised version of that handheld with one primary, obvious difference: it does not play games in 3D.

This is not the first time Nintendo dropped the stereoscopic handheld's namesake feature. The original 2DS traded in both the 3D gimmick and the traditional clamshell design for a sturdier body and lower price-point. Likewise, the new model forgoes the 3DS' digital depth perception and passes the savings on to the consumer -- and this time, it retains the iconic hinged design.

Nintendo did not just copy the New Nintendo 3DS' design and turn off the stereoscopic screen, however -- this is a completely new chassis. In fact, the New Nintendo 2DS XL is the smallest large-screen portable Nintendo has ever made. It still has the same 4.88-inch primary display as other XL models, but its footprint is a quarter inch shorter than the 3DS XL.

Despite the smaller size, the 2DS XL feels roomier. Smaller bezels around the screen and a repositioned hinge allowed Nintendo to move the controls down a few millimeters. It's a seemingly small change, but it adds just enough space above the right-hand analog stick to keep my thumb from brushing up against the hinge.

It's little refinements like this that make the New 2DS XL special. Minor tweaks to the shape of the shoulder buttons that make them just a little bit more comfortable. The matte, fingerprint resistant texture on the back of the handheld's lid. The small, flexible door that protects the cartridge slot. Nintendo even moved the microSD card reader to an easily accessible slot next to the cartridge port -- making it possible to transfer screenshots and photos without removing the handheld's battery cover. The streamlined 2DS design answers almost all of my minor complaints with the New 3DS XL... but that does not mean it's better than Nintendo's fully fledged portable.

There's a lot to love about the 2DS XL, but it definitely has its flaws. The console's stylus, for instance, measures just two and a half inches -- making it just barely long enough to be useable, but short enough to be frustrating for any game that requires drawing or heavy touchscreen use. The console's speakers are a disappointment, too.

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