New Nintendo 2DS XL offers another handheld console choice to players

 Nintendo 3DS XL on the left; Ninendo 2DS XL on the right

Nintendo 3DS XL on the left; Ninendo 2DS XL on the right

It is smaller, feels lighter, and is missing an important feature from previous models, but Nintendo is counting on their latest handheld console to fill a need. The Nintendo 2DS XL offers a new way to play all the 3DS games without having to worry about any of the 3-D effects.

It is a Nintendo 3DS XL without the stereoscopic effect, although there are some other changes as well. The 2DS XL has amiibo and NFC support built in, the C analog stick and large screens like its 3DS XL relative.

The design is different. Instead of a clam shell cover, the 2DS has a slate-like design, providing sleeker lines when it is closed. The unit is also slightly smaller than its 3DS XL relative.

The smaller design doesn’t mean cramped fingers. The controls feel more comfortable and are positioned in a more natural location without feeling like you are banging them into other buttons.

The Home button has moved to the left of the bottom screen, which took some adjustment. However, it was probably needed to help create the smaller size.

Instead of a shiny top, a matte finish looks stylish without worrying about fingerprints all the time. The cartridge slot is positioned in the front and has a cover, and the microSD card reader sits next to the cartridge instead of inside the unit.

The stylus has changed as well. It is smaller and does take some getting used to after the longer version in the 3DS consoles. The speakers have moved to the bottom of the console’s edge, making the volume a bit quieter in most games.

A charger is packed inside with the 2DS XL console, and a 4 GB Toshiba microSDHC memory card is included, although you’ll likely want to upgrade this if you plan to download games.

The naming convention may throw off some people who might not expect 3DS games to play on a console named 2DS, but the entire library of handheld games can be played without a problem. The processor inside the 2DS is powerful to handle even the weightiest games.

The price point is $50 cheaper than the 3DS XL, which makes it more attractive to someone who doesn’t already own one of the other 3DS handheld. The overall feel of the new console was pleasant and intuitive.

Should you change? Probably not. But if you want to get one for someone who is new to the Nintendo handheld family, this is a great choice at a very good price.

Of course, if you never turn on the 3-D ability in your 3DS (like me), give that one away and pick up the Nintendo 2DS XL. Just transfer your games and files over before offering the gift.

The new console will be available on July 28.