Take a Nintendo 3DS and remove 3D. And, remove the clamshell flip-top design. Presto! You have the Nintendo 2DS, a $129 entry-level gaming handheld targeted at the little kids.
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The good news? The 2DS doesn't drop any essential features: it has Wi-Fi, accepts 3DS and DS game cards, can download games, comes with a stylus, has an SD card slot (and a 4GB SD card), and has front- and rear-facing cameras.
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The bad news? It looks odd, has the same-size screen as the original Nintendo 3DS (not the larger 3DS XL), and feels weirdly thick and bulky. Because it can't fold up, it's not really pocket-friendly unless you're rocking mega-cargo shorts or have a backpack.
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Despite its odd size, it feels strangely good to hold. The feel is solid -- if unattractive -- and is made out of flex-free matte plastic. It feels like it can take a drop. The screens looks clear and crisp even outdoors, and the system felt hand-comfy while playing Mario Kart 7.
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The extra room on the sides means it's somewhat easy to hold in one hand (but, you might want to find a wrist strap to wind through one of two strap holes in the bottom corners).
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The wedge-shaped design makes the 2DS feel like a doorstop. On the back: the cartridge slot and AC-in for the charger. It uses the same charger connector as the 3DS and 3DS XL, thank goodness.
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The SD card slot has a little door that swivels up.
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Analog pad and buttons are on the top end of the device. It looks wrong, but feels OK. Will little kids with smaller hands agree?
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I found palms ended up gripping the 2DS at its base as much as my fingers did...but I have big hands.
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The included charger. Look familiar? It should.
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An included stylus slots into the side.
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The top shoulder buttons feel a little stiffer than on the 3DS and 3DS XL, and are slightly curved inward for fingers.
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The 2DS has two rear cameras...does it still take 3D photos even though it can only display them in 2D? Stay tuned for the review.
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For size comparison, the 2DS next to two other kid favorites: an iPhone 5S and iPad Mini. The 2DS, size and weight-wise, falls in between.
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The 2DS next to the $169 3DS. The flip-up 3DS folds to a more compact size, but the 2DS feels sturdier. The 2DS, however, keeps its screens exposed, meaning you'll be more likely to buy a case.
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