a handheld console for only $ 50

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  • I bought a refurbished Nintendo 2DS direct from Nintendo for $ 50 earlier this year.
  • The Switch may be more advanced, but I travel more comfortably with my 2DS in my pocket.
  • The original 3DS has just turned 10 and Nintendo still has the full library of games online.
  • Read more about how we test and review technical products.

Inspired by the upcoming Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl release later that year, I bought a refurbished Nintendo 2DS for $ 50 from Nintendo’s online store to revive my previous Pokémon: Pearl glory to experience and catch up on 3DS games I’d missed like “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds”.

Despite the confusing naming conventions, the 2DS is one of six iterations of the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld that turned 10 in March. My 2DS is backwards compatible with physical games I owned for the original DS, such as Pokémon Pearl, and you can download 3DS games from the Nintendo eShop and store them on an SD card.

While I still appreciate the portability and modern library of the Nintendo Switch, the 2DS has become my favorite handheld to take with me on the go. Since my Switch is already suffering from Joy-Con drift and the 2DS offers similar battery life in a smaller package, I’m much happier to toss my 2DS in a pocket or bag for $ 50 and leave my Switch at home.

My 2DS fits in every pocket, unlike the bulkier and more sensitive Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 2DS Switch Kindle

The 2DS is closer to a Kindle, making it easier to carry than the bulkier Switch.

Kevin Webb / Insider


The 2DS, which I bought for $ 50, was originally $ 130 when it launched in 2013 and was supposed to be the cheapest version of the handheld. It eschews the 3D stereoscopic screen that made the original 3DS handheld both unique and polarizing, and it is the only handheld in the DS or 3DS family that does not fold.

Unfortunately, the DS Lite I bought in 2006 is still working, but the hinges that control the folding are no longer able to hold the screen upright. I’m glad the 2DS uses a flat design and form factor that make it feel more like a Kindle than a foldable phone. The 2DS’s thick plastic bezel doesn’t win any style awards, but it makes me a lot safer to carry it around without a case, which I would never do with my Switch.

The 2DS also has a headphone jack and can even act as a simple MP3 player when storing music on an SD card, which even the Switch can’t. There’s a front camera, but the quality is pretty dire by modern standards; A built-in microphone can also be used with certain 3DS games and applications.

2DS has a huge library of games available for download and even more options with backward compatibility

Nintendo Switch 3DS DS cartridge

Switch games use smaller cartridges but offer more space than physical 3DS and DS games that fit in the same slot on the 2DS.

Kevin Webb / Insider


The 3DS was one of the first Nintendo consoles to fully support digital purchases, and as a result, the handheld has a huge library of games that are still available through Nintendo’s online store. You can store dozens of digital games on an SD card up to 32GB in size. However, games for 3DS / 2DS have to be purchased directly on the handheld, which can take a long time compared to the Nintendo website or the Switch’s e-shop.

Games take advantage of the console’s unique dual-screen design, which divides the action between the larger upper screen and the lower touchscreen. This enables faster navigation in games with many menus such as Pokémon and Fire Emblem, and the touchscreen offers unique controls in music and puzzle games such as Picross 3D. I really appreciated being able to dust off the DS games I’ve had in my collection for years, like Pokémon: Pearl, and pick up right where I left off.

For $ 50, my 2DS gave me a worry-free portable gaming experience that is worth a lot more

Nintendo 3DS games

3DS games may not lack modern graphics, but they offer a wide range of styles.

“Super Mario 3D Land”, “Pokémon Omega Ruby”, “Metroid: Samus Returns”, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” / Nintendo


In less than four years, the Nintendo Switch has already surpassed the 3DS family’s lifetime sales. Nintendo reported 89 million Switch consoles sold compared to 75.9 million 3DS handhelds. For those who keep the score, the original DS is still Nintendo’s top-selling console, with 154 million copies sold.

I consider myself a huge Nintendo fan, but I am still surprised that the handheld that I overlooked for years had so much to experience for me. I had a lot more than $ 50 fun with my 2DS in just a few months, and I still have at least a half a dozen games that I want to play.

Nintendo priced at $ 250 in 2011 for the 3DS, but the latest makeover, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, was released for $ 150 in 2017. You can find refurbished Nintendo 2DS XL for $ 150 at GameStop and Nintendo 2DS for $ 90 at GameStop, but supplies are not always available. Nintendo occasionally offers refurbished 2DS units like mine on its online store for $ 50, but they are currently sold out.

Nintendo’s refurbished consoles come with a one-year warranty that repairs or replaces the system free of charge in the event of problems or defects. However, this does not cover problems that arise when you modify the console or damage caused by improper use. While Nintendo warns that some refurbished consoles may have minor cosmetic damage, my 2DS looks brand new.


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