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New 2DS XL vs 2DS vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Nintendo’s portable consoles compared

Nintendo has launched the New 2DS XL handheld console, a faster, lighter version of the original Nintendo 2DS that’s designed to perform to the same standards as the 3DS XL. So what’s the difference between the 2DS, 2DS XL, New 3DS and New 3DS XL, and which is best for you?

The New 2DS XL offers gamers an affordable way of enjoying the latest Nintendo portable titles, without breaking the budget. There are quite a few differences between this model and the original 2DS, not to mention the fully-featured New 3DS consoles. So let’s jump straight in and see how they compare.

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2DS vs New 2DS XL vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Design

Nintendo’s original 2DS console is, to put it reasonably politely, a bit of a brick. This perfectly flat slab of plastic will take up a serious chunk of space in your backpack and also most definitely can not fit into your pants, no matter how baggy your jeans are.

Thankfully the latest Nintendo 2DS XL sports a clamshell design, just like the New 3DS and 3DS XL. In other words, it can be folded up to make it much more compact, and slipped inside a pocket, bag or any other receptacle with ease. Well, relative ease at least; these portable games machines are still a mite over 2 centimeters thick when closed up, so rather chunky.

This ability to close up the New 2DS XL means the screens will get the same protection from the elements as the 3DS and 3DS XL. It’s less likely you’ll scratch up those precious displays when the machine’s stuck away in your bag.

The New 2DS XL is also lighter than the standard 2DS, not to mention the 3DS XL. It’ll come in a couple of different colours at launch: black/turquoise and white/orange. Of course, we fully expect this colour selection to massively expand soon after launch and a variety of character designs to release in the UK. Like the 3DS before it, you should be able to pick up the 2DS XL with colourful transfers featuring your favourite characters, including Mario and Yoshi.

2DS vs New 2DS XL vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Displays

With the New 2DS XL, you get the same size large screens found on the New Nintendo 3DS XL system. That means the top display is 4.88-inches, while the bottom one is 4.18-inches. This time they’re not the same screen split by a plastic strip, either, like they were on the standard 2DS; they’re actually two different panels, because of that clamshell design.

The original 2DS features smaller screens: 3.53-inches up top and 3-inches below. Meanwhile the New 3DS has a 3.88-inch screen up top and a 3.33-inch panel down below.

As for screen resolution, all four devices offer a 320×240 display below. However this is different up top, with the standard 2DS and 2DS XL rocking a 400×240 resolution and the 3DS and 3DS XL sporting a 800×240 pixel resolution.

Of course, both 2DS models are only capable of putting out 2D visuals, as you might have possibly gleamed from the name. The 3DS consoles can blast three-dimensional images at your face, for a more immersive and impressive experience. Plus, the eye-tracking tech has improved from the earlier models, so you shouldn’t get the same stomach-churning experience where the visuals blur when you slightly tilt the device.

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2DS vs New 2DS XL vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Performance and battery life

The new Nintendo 2DS XL sports the same boosted power as the New 3DS and 3DS XL, so you can play the entire library of games on these consoles. That includes seriously resource-sucking titles that won’t run on the original 2DS and 3DS consoles.

Of course, the 2DS and 2DS XL don’t offer those gorgeous 3D visuals, but that shouldn’t impact gameplay at all. It’s just a ‘nice to have’ feature.

As for battery life, the 2DS and 2DS XL should offer longer life than the 3DS consoles thanks to the lack of 3D action. You can expect around five hours of play time from the 2DS and 2DS XL, while the 3DS and 3DS XL offer around three to four hours of life with 3D turned on. You can of course knock the 3D feature off, for extended pleasure.

2DS vs New 2DS XL vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Features

The original Nintendo 2DS only has a single mono speaker for audio output, a feature apparently shared by the new 2DS XL. However, the 3DS and 3DS XL sport stereo speakers, for a crisper, cleaner output. Not that it really matters if you’re using headphones while gaming.

The standard 2DS only has a single thumbstick too, over on the left edge. Meanwhile the new 2DS XL as well as the latest 3DS consoles have a dual thumbstick setup, which makes it much easier to control games with a camera that can be swept around; third-person and first-person shooters, for instance.

The new 2DS XL also sports built-in NFC support, so you can use it with amiibo cards and figures. That’s something missing from the original 2DS device.

2DS vs New 2DS XL vs New 3DS vs New 3DS XL: Price and release date

The New 2DS XL will be released by Nintendo on July 28 here in the UK. Nintendo is yet to offer an asking price, but we expect it to cost around a hundred quid.

The original 2DS can be picked up for £75 these days, so it’s a good choice for younger gamers and anyone on a strict budget (despite its limitations). The New 3DS can be picked up for around £139 these days, while the New 3DS XL costs £169.

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