My big Christmas gift this year from my wife was a Nintendo 2DS XL. I mentioned this unit previously as it seemed an attractive addition to the Nintendo handheld family.
The 2DS XL
The word “New” in the “New Nintendo 2DS XL” indicates, in one of those confusing naming schemes, that the unit is part of the current generation of Nintendo 3DS hardware that includes several upgrades, including new controls, Amiibo support, and an upgraded CPU, the last being a key selling point for me. (Also, it should not be confused with the slab-like Nintendo 2DS, a different beast entirely.)
This unit replaced my old, first generation Nintendo 3DS XL.
The buttons I was missing on my older unit
The first of the “New” generation of 3DS hardware showed up on our shores back in 2015 and I have been eyeing them since the latest generations of the Pokemon series… and all I ever really played on my Nintendo handhelds over the years is Pokemon… started to seem like too much for the older processor. Load times, scene transitions, and points during the story when there was a lot going happening on screen were noticeably slowed down.
This has actually been the case since Pokemon X & Y, so I started to consider the new hardware once it was announced, but really stuck out with Pokemon Sun & Moon. However, my Pokemon playing tends to be a seasonal thing… I play for a few months, finish up the Pokedex, then stop until the bug hits me again or a new release shows up.
However, the new New 2DS XL seemed liked a good point to finally make the upgrade. The 2DS XL has all the stuff of the “new” generation, lacking only one thing, 3D support and, frankly, 3D is a very minor gimmick with Pokemon titles. The 3D slider on my 3DS XL was set to “off” probably in excess of 99% of the time. Meanwhile the price of the 2DS XL was a good $50 less than the same generation 3DS XL. For $50 I was quite willing to give up 3D support. So it was on my wish list and showed up for Christmas.
Of course, once I had it I had to move everything from my old 3DS XL to the new 2DS XL. Nintendo has a few options for that, one involving simply moving the SD card from the old unit to the new. However, my old 3DS uses a standard size SD card while the “New” generation uses micro SD cards, so that swap wasn’t an option.
Furthermore, as I quickly found out, I had upgraded the SD card on my old unit to a 32GB model, the largest officially supported by Nintendo, and have used up a chunk of the space by purchasing a few titles, including the new Pokemon UltraMoon, from the online Nintendo shop, so they are stored locally rather than being on a cartridge.
The 2DS XL however not only had a micro SD card (SD card in my DS?), but the factory default size was a meager-in-2017 4GB in size. I remember seeing my first 1GB hard drive back in 1990 and it was the size of a cinder block, so sometimes I have to check myself when I complain that 4GB is “small.” Anyway, I had to order a 32GB micro SD for the 2DS XL.
Once that arrived I set it up and started the big transfer. I decided to do it over Wifi because that seemed to require the least intervention on my part which meant, I hoped, the least chance of me screwing anything up.
There is a built-in process that allows you to do the transfer, you just have to setup the sending and receiving systems, get them in sync, and kick off the process.
The two units warming up…
The first attempt failed… though not because the time was an hour off on the units. Something timed out on the first attempt and it punted the process. However, on the second attempt things seemed to get connected correctly.
Of course, because it is Nintendo, there has to be a cute progress graphic. In this one little people “build” the progress milestones.
Building our way to the 25% mark
After that seemed to be going, I went off to watch a movie with my wife. Of course, because it the transfer was happening over Wifi and involved gigabytes of data it took a while, running out to the three hour mark easily.
Working on the 75% milestone a couple hours later
It is definitely a process you don’t want to sit around and watch or set in motion when you have a time constraint. And clearly it is something to do with the power supply plugged in on both units.
In the end however, the transfer was successful. All of my applications and user information was moved over successfully. The process then wipes the old devices, so you don’t have double versions of things, and then you are done.
After that was done I finally got to try out the unit and I have mostly good things to say about it.
It is fast, noticeably so compared to the old unit, and is physically much lighter as well. The screens are good, the case is easier to grip than the slick surface or the original design. I really only have two gripes after using it for a couple weeks now.
First, and the more minor of the two, is the cartridge slot. That slot has traditionally been uncovered and on the back of DS units since at least the Nintendo DS Lite. On the 2DS XL it is on the front left of the unit under a very cheap feeling cover. I suspect that if I changed cartridges often that the cover would break sooner rather than later. It is really a flimsy piece on an otherwise solid unit. Fortunately, I don’t swap cartridges all that often.
The second gripe is about the new stylus that comes with the unit, which is smaller than the one on the 3DS XL. I have big hands, so it took me a while to get used to the old stylus. Swapping that out for an even stubbier little stylus is a bit of a pain. And given that this comes up in every review of the unit I’ve seen, I suspect I am hardly alone in being unhappy with this change.
Also, because even the old stylus is a bit small, I’ve lost a couple over the years, so I bought a bag of 20 replacements a while back which work with the new unit, but which do not fit into the stylus slot. I can use my grandfather’s bottle opener strategy out on the farm, where he made sure there was one within reach of any place he might want to open a beer. I have enough left in my supply to put one or two near any location where I play. I just have to worry about them getting swept up or stolen by the cats.
Other than that I have found the unit to be an excellent replacement for my old 3DS XL and would recommend it as a possible path forward for anybody on the older hardware who didn’t care about the 3D feature. It certainly satisfies my Pokemon playing needs.