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Nintendo Switch Lite vs. Nintendo 2DS XL: Which One Should You Get?

Some time ago, I wanted to play Nintendo Pokémon games and I decided to get a Nintendo Switch Lite. Days later, I returned it and got a Nintendo 2DS XL instead. What changed my mind?
Nintendo Switch Lite vs. Nintendo 2DS XL: Which One Should You Get?

Published by The LingoNomad

When I was first scouting for a Nintendo console, I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and just get a Nintendo Switch. But it was pretty much sold out in the stores I went to, and so I decided to get the next closest thing to it: a Nintendo Switch Lite. So I ordered it on Amazon, and because I had Amazon Prime, I got my hands on the Switch Lite practically the day after.

A few days later, however, I decided to order a Nintendo 2DS XL instead and return the Switch Lite. Here are a few things I considered when doing so.

Nintendo Switch Lite Gray 07

Compatibility with Earlier Nintendo Games

When I got the Nintendo Switch Lite on my hands, I tried searching for the kinds of Pokémon games I could play, only to find out that since it is a pretty new console, I could only play the most recent Pokémon game: Pokémon Sword and Shield. The earlier generations of Pokémon games are off-limits because they aren't compatible with the console.

This was a bummer to me because I wanted to play earlier Pokémon NDS games like Pokémon Platinum, or Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. I admit, I didn't do much research before ordering the Switch Lite, because I was too eager to get my hands on one.

But now you know. If you want to play earlier Nintendo games that are compatible with Nintendo DS, Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, or Nintendo 3DS XL, you should not get Nintendo Switch consoles, because they are not compatible with these games.

Nintendo 2DS XL, however, can play games that are intended for Nintendo DS, 2DS, 3DS, and 3DS XL. Note that games that have 3D features, like in some Pokémon games, will render as 2D. Personally, I don't find this a problem at all for the Pokémon games I ended up playing (I've played Pokémon X and Y with it, and yes, I enjoyed them!)

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I do find Nintendo 2DS XL worth it because there are so many games intended to the the earlier generations of consoles that I can play with it, and it is the latest and most recent console (aside from Switch) that can do so.

Compatibility with Newer Nintendo Games

This was not really a consideration for me because I was only interested to play Nintendo games of earlier generations.

But of course, if you only want to play newer games (like Animal Crossing, or Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield) that are intended for Nintendo Switch devices, then there is no question you should go for either the regular Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite, because 2DS XL will not be able to play them.

Nintendo 2DS XL 02a

Recency of Manufacturing

Another thing I looked up was the recency of the consoles. I wanted to get the next most recent thing that Nintendo produced before Nintendo Switch. 

Turns out that, as of July 2020, the Nintendo 2DS XL was the only console other than Switch that Nintendo was still actively manufacturing. This was another thing that helped my purchase decision for the console.

If you are not familiar with the Nintendo console lineups, you may have thought that Nintendo 3DS XL is a more recent version compared to Nintendo 2DS XL—wrong. It's the other way around. Here's a brief timeline of when the Nintendo DS lineups were released:

  • Nintendo DS: 2004–2005
  • Nintendo DS Lite: 2006
  • Nintendo DSi: 2008
  • Nintendo 3DS: 2011
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: 2012
  • Nintendo 2DS: 2013
  • New Nintendo 3DS: 2014
  • New Nintendo 3DS XL: 2014
  • Nintendo 2DS XL: July 2017

Nintendo Switch was first released in March 2017, while Nintendo Switch Lite was first released around 1.5 years later, in September 2019. Nintendo 2DS XL is reported to have ceased production worldwide in September 2020.

Buying Tips

I got both consoles (Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo 2DS XL) from Amazon. Since I have a Prime membership, delivery was quick (as I previously mentioned, I got my Switch Lite the day after I placed an order). Depending on where you are, availability of Amazon Prime and delivery times may vary.


By default, the Nintendo Switch Lite comes with 32 GB of internal storage, and the Nintendo 2DS XL comes with varying external memory card storage (mine comes with 4 GB, if I'm not mistaken). I find the 4 GB storage insufficient as it could only host 1 Mario Kart game and 1 Pokémon X game in my case. I decided to switch the memory card with a SanDisk Ultra 64 GB memory card instead, which I find way more than enough, at least for now. You can get the memory card here.

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