Hands on with the N2DSXL: Pikachu Edition

I want to say that I’m not an impulse buyer or that I’m not a sucker for cute things. But the moment the New Nintendo 2DS XL: Pikachu Edition was announced I was sold. I had to have this beauty of a console, even if it was only for just that: to have it.
So yesterday as it came out I made my way to my usual gaming store to pick it up and I’ve been poking around with it last evening and a bit this morning before the battery drained and it had to charge. I want to use this post to tell something about my impressions with the device as compared to the N3DSXL I’ve owned for the past two years and maybe aswell compared to the regular 2DS (limited Pokémon Red edition) that I have aswell.

First Impressions: The box and it’s contents

Pikachu N2DSXL box

Pikachu box contents

The box of the 2DS basically shows everything you need to know. They’ve put the design of the 2DS on the box and it looks amazingly cute. It was also rather tiny compared to the boxes that came with my 3DS and the other 2DS I own.
Inside the box there was the 2DS (obviously), a charger and the instruction manual with sealed Augmented Reality cards. I’m a bit baffled why they put these cards with 2DS systems since they were mostly designed to show off the 3D stuff for the 3DS and you are supposed to use them with the 3DS camera’s which as you can see are absent from the 2DS. Getting another charger was a godsent though since I had to give up one of the ones I had when I handed in my old 3DS for money. I’m quite happy Nintendo is including them again because honestly removing them in the first place from the newer generation 3DSes was a dick move.

The console itself
On the outside (as shown in the box content picture) the console looks snug and cute. The mouth of the Pikachu is raised a bit but overal it looks to have quite a solid design. The only thing I’m unhappy with is that the hinge is kind of strapped on top of the console itself. On my 3DS (as you will see later) the hinge is part of the console design so it doesn’t stick out as much as it does here. It’s a minor gripe but in my opinion a valid one. Especially since (as you can see quite clearly) the front facing camera doesn’t really get covered well when the console is closed.

Pikachu 2DS open

On the inside they have stuck with the Brown/Yellow color scheme. I’m unsure why the circle pad and nub are grey (I know they are this colour in all the 3DS/2DS variants but still). They kind of stick out. Because this 2DS is a bit more compact than the 3DS they had to reallocate the “home” button so that it’s under the d-pad. Personally I’m happier with this position than where it is on my 3DS (right below the screen) so that’s a plus. The buttons themself feel solid, even though the overal feel of the console is cheaper than my 3DS. It’s lighter and you can really feel that it’s made out of plastic, as opposed to my 3DS which is much sturdier.
The game card and micro SD have their own slot at the bottom of the console which is covered by a little flap, just like with the Switch. Even though I’m happy they did that, my games feel a bit better protected that way and you have easier access to the micro SD, actually opening up the flap is a bit of a hassle. The stylus has been tucked away next to the audio plug for headphones and is a bit trickier to get out than the one in the 3DS. It’s also a shorter stylus but seeing as I have tiny hands anyway I’m cool with that.
Overall the feel of the console in my hands is quite nice. It’s a bit smaller than my 3DS and it’s also lighter in weight, meaning that when I lie in bed to game my hands will get less tired from holding this console compared to my 3DS. Due to the way the screen closes however the edges are a bit raised and thus even though it feels nice to hold I have to adjust a bit, the 3DS doesn’t have raised edges. Instead it has a raised screen so that the buttons won’t touch the top screen.

All in all it feels like a good console, especially if you’re in the market for 3DS games I would advice you to get the new 2DS XL when you want to be able to play all the games but don’t have the budget for the more expensive 3DS. This is mostly based on the console on it’s own though and assuming you don’t already own a N3DS or N3DSXL.

Side by Side: 2DS vs 3DS
Ofcourse I’ve also laid both my consoles next to eachother to be able to really compare the differences.

2DS and 3 DS closed

Both consoles have about the same width, which isn’t that odd considering they both have about the same screen size and both need to have buttons next to the screens. The 3DS is a bit taller though and I think this is mostly due to having the extra back facing cameras built in aswell as having the hinge be part of the design instead of it being an almost separate entity on top of the console itself. When it comes down to weight the 3DS is notacibly heavier but not in a way that it would put you off playing it. Where my Pikachu console has a matte finish my 3DS has a shiny one which may also account for how they feel in your hand. As I mentioned before the Pikachu edition feels a bit cheap when you pick it up and hold it compared to the 3DS. I’m not sure if it’s just the design of this specific console or if it’s a N2DS thing in general but for me personally the 3DS just feels more “professional” and expensive.

2DS & 3DS open side by side

When putting both devices open side by side the differences become more clear. The 3DS is significantly bigger and, even though it’s marginal, also has bigger screens. As you can see the 3DS has a raised bottom screen, the home button below that and a bigger top screen. The latter is mostly because it houses both the front and back facing cameras. I feel like the front facing camera of the 3DS is in a much more logical position aswell. It actually faces you as you play, whereas on the Pikachu one it’s in the middle and I feel like it mostly looks towards your chin… Not the ideal positon for a camera to be in. Due to the removal of these cameras in the 2DS model however the top screen is very flat and leads to a flatter model to fit in your bag aswell. Specswise neither system is a loser. They are both powerful consoles that can play all the DS, 3DS and N3DS games. Both screens look good with vibrant colours and they’re both fast with loading. The only real thing separating them is that you obviously can’t turn on the 3D on the 2DS. And even though I know it’s not a widely used feature I actually enjoy playing games with 3D on, especially if the 3D is well incorporated.
As for the buttons. Again I feel like the 2DS ones just feel slightly cheaper. They remind me of Game Boy buttons instead of the sturdy buttons I’m used to from my 3DS. The home button is actually placed better though so I’m grateful to Nintendo for that one. The Micro SD card is easier to replace in the 2DS than in the 3DS (where you have to take off the entire back cover to get to it) and due to the flap there is less issues with dust getting into your system and into the card slot than there is with the 3DS. The flap itself is a bit clunky to deal with though but I guess you get used to that over time.
Both consoles have the top screen “snap” in place and the snap is louder on the 2DS than on the 3DS, which also comes down to the fact that I feel like it’s made with cheaper components. Both consoles have lights indicating their status, although the ones on the 3DS are a bit bigger and easier to see. Both consoles have a microphone and both consoles have speakers. However the speakers in the 3DS are worked into the top screen so the sound comes at you from the front. In the 2DS the speakers are at the bottom of the console in the corners. This means the sound of games is coming from below you and it also means that, if you have the sound a bit loud, you can feel it coming out of the console when playing. Personally I’m not a fan of this design. I get they did it because they wanted to keep the top screen as flat as possible but having the sound of a game coming from near your hands feels weird. The 3DS also clearly wins out on that detail. The sound itself however is fine so if you worry about quality it doesn’t really matter.

The Verdict
For the respectable price of €159 the New Nintendo 2DS XL: Pikachu Edition (seriously Nintendo where do you come up with these names?!) you get a console that does what it promises to do. You can play all the games on it, even the exclusive N3DS ones. It has two big bright screens with pretty colours. It’s a tad smaller than the N3DSXL which is nice for people with smaller hands. The buttons work fine and it’s easy to switch out micro SD cards. Your physical games are protected by a cover which does the job well even though it’s a bit of a hassle to open. The console has a matte finish which looks quite nice but also gives it a bit of a cheap feel. It’s not very heavy and it should easily fit into a bag so you can take it with you travelling.
If you don’t already own a 3DS in any shape or size I would definitely recommend picking up this console when you aren’t interested in playing in 3D.

However. If you already own a N3DS or N3DSXL I would stick to those. They feel much sturdier than this 2DS, have more features and have better placed cameras and sound. Not to mention there is less hassle to switch games, the stylus is a bit bigger and some people prefer the fact that it weighs a bit more. Plus some games have done the 3D thing really well and just for that I would just stick to what you have. If you are doubting to pick up a new console you need to consider the following points:
– Is 3D important to me?
– Do I want a sturdy/heavier console?
– Am I a bit of an audio freak and do I feel like I want to have more logical sound placement?
If you can answer all these questions with a “no” I would heartily recommend picking up the N2DSXL. It’s a good console for the pricepoint and especially the Pikachu and Pokéball designs are adorable.

Personally I’m probably going to use this 2DS in tandem with my 3DS. Play one when the other is charging. I do think I want to use this 2DS more for gaming in bed purely because it’s lighter and fits better in my hands. I may also put it in my bag to travel with to/from work since it’s smaller and lighter and I can only take one game with me anyway. I’m happy with my buy, mostly because I’m a sucker for cute things and I foresee a ton of joyous gaming hours to come.

2 thoughts on “Hands on with the N2DSXL: Pikachu Edition

    • I don’t have any protection on my Pikachu DS and I’m not planning on picking up anything either. It fits perfectly into one of the pockets on my bag right now and I don’t want to take more than one game with me at a time, mostly because I’m afraid stuff gets stolen.
      I’m pretty sure a case that fits the N3DS XL will also fit this one though so they shouldn’t be hard to come by.

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