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Hardware Review

Nintendo 2DS | Review

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Being the parent of an autistic kid can be a problem for families like mine that love videogaming. Over the past year, my son has had 3 Nintendo DSs and each of them has been destroyed because he’s not what you’d call gentle with his toys. He tends to get frustrated and drop his toys and throw them down the stairs when the batteries die or when he’s having trouble in a game.

With the Nintendo DSs that we’d bought in the past, the flip open design never survived the battering that he’d put them through, usually with the end result being snapped hinges or the top screen being disconnected brutally and beyond repair. We’d lost all hope of our son ever having a portable gaming system that he could use without destroying it.

Finally I stumbled upon an advertisement for the Nintendo 2DS. No hinges and a low price? Could this be the handheld I’ve been hoping for? In a risky move that I was unsure of, I bought one for my son’s 6th birthday last week. Needless to say, I am not disappointed.

First off, let’s talk price tag. The Nintendo 3DS currently retails new for a wallet crushing $199.99 where I live, while the Nintendo 2DS sells for a much gentler $129.99. For a parent or gamer who wants to keep up with technology but not break the bank this is a terrific price for a handheld gaming system. Especially when you have a kid like mine who destroys everything he touches. I’d definitely be more likely to replace a system at that price tag. It also comes with a 4GB removable SD memory card, which is a nice bonus.

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A lot of people I’ve talked to about the Nintendo 2DS have complained that it’s not as portable as the 3DS, since it cannot fold in half and go in your pocket. For my son, this isn’t a big issue as we just put it in his backpack. However this makes for another problem, as now you have to deal with the possibility of the screens being damaged from other items stored with it. Nintendo has thought of this possibility though, and for $12.99 I was able to purchase a protective case to store it in. This doesn’t solve the problem with bulk but at least you don’t have to worry about your system being exposed to potential environmental damage.

Let’s move on to design. The Nintendo 2DS sits very comfortably in the hands of adult and kid gamers alike. While playing it I enjoyed the feel of the system in my hands and the wedge shape really helped to stop it from feeling bulky, and in fact helped rest it against my palms. The buttons and thumbstick are logically and comfortably placed and – most importantly – the screen plays 3DS games but without the eyeball murdering 3D of the 3DS.

It’s also very VERY durable. Since buying the 2DS, my son has thrown it down stairs, spilled pop on it, thrown it against a wall and dropped it a few times. After cleaning it, picking it up, wiping it down or whatever first aid I have to apply to the system I am happy to say that it is still in perfect working order. There’s barely a dent or scratch in the system.

A few smudges, but it still works!!

A few smudges, but it still works!!

The 2DS is loaded with functionality as well. It plays standard DS games as well as 3DS games. The touch screen is very sensitive, especially with the stylus. Which is terrific because kids don’t have to put too much pressure on the screen and risk damaging it. There’s lots in the menu too. A fully loaded options menu, the Nintendo store, camera, Mii Plaza, Mii Creator.

The Nintendo 2DS also has online functionality as well. It didn’t work on my network security settings though. I had to fiddle with my network for a bit to try it online which might prove frustrating for parents who aren’t tech savvy and want their kids to play online with their friends. I won’t lie, it made me miss the days of the link cable. However, once it was online I was able to play with my friends who live on the other side of town.

For parents who are worried about their kids taking pictures of themselves and posting them online or browsing the internet without permission, downloading vulgar user-generated content or otherwise doing things that they’re not supposed to, have no fear, there are parental controls on the 2DS just like on the 3DS and DSi. If you want a detailed list of parental controls, they can be found on the Nintendo website.

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The 2DS is a well rounded, durable and wonderfully priced gaming system. It’s retailed cheap but quality built. It fits comfortably in the hands of adults and children and plays the full DS and 3DS library. It’s very functional and keeps the wary parent in mind. With only some minor frustration in the network functionality and the inability to fold the 2DS to pocket size, I can confidently and happily recommend the Nintendo 2DS as a must buy for the budget conscious parent or gamer without fear of buying a cheaply built product.

ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE

Build Quality – 10/10

Design – 9/10

Useability – 8/10

Performance – 10/10

Price – 10/10

_______________________

Overall – 9/10

(Not an average)

Manufacturer: Nintendo

Price: EB Games Canada $129.99
Amazon: $155.90
 

Simon Squire lives in Nova Scotia Canada and is a member of the Canadian Army. He is a lifelong gamer, and proud owner of an Xbox One, a PS3 and a decent laptop for computer gaming.
Feel free to check out his Blog where he occasionally touches on life as a parent of a child with Autism and where he highlights stories of other special kids at http://g-monkey.livejournal.com/
You can also follow him on twitter @efcfrost or zap him a message on PSN or Xbox Live where his handles for both systems is FallenRAVEN47

Hardware Review

Bionik Quickshot Product Review | Almost Elite

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The video game industry is ripe with various consoles and titles both AAA and indie, and the majority of attention is given to the games, as well as the developers and publishers responsible for producing them. However, accessories are an important part of a gamer’s experience, as comfortability and practicality can often affect  performance. People who have difficulty hearing may need better speakers or a headset, those with naturally soft voices may need microphones with voice detection, and gamers who find themselves battling sweaty palms might crave some solid grips for their controller. Like the games themselves, accessories can cover a range of qualities, from products that break at the slightest drop or stop working sooner rather than later to high-end pieces that can last users for years.

The Quickshot’s purpose is to provide gamers with something closer to a premium experience without having to actually purchase the expensive Elite Controller. Moreover, the device is meant to give users a better grip and allow them to adjust the sensitivity of their triggers (LT and RT).

The Quickshot arrives in a well-crafted package, contained in a black and dark orange box complete with areas of gray, featuring lettering of different hues to best fit the contrast to the color of the background. Opening the front of the box like a book, consumers will notice the inside is clear, allowing a glimpse of the dark gray plastic grips and orange trigger locks within. Fine as the box may be, the real subject matter is the equipment itself.

To make the process of equipping an Xbox One controller with the Quickshot simple, Bionik provides an orange, plastic, flat wedge to slide between the controller’s regular grips to pop them off. While seemingly a useful tool, the wedge does not make the process of removing the factory handles easier, as it strained easily and broke from light pressure. However, any flat implement can be used to worm between the creases on the back of the controller’s handles and remove those grips. Once the standard grips have been taken off, users can snap the Quickshot grips into place. With the trigger locks built into each piece, putting the grips on is the final step of installation. From there, consumers can begin familiarizing themselves with their new toy.

The Quickshot’s handles are dark gray while the trigger locks are orange, which does not mix well with the standard white Xbox One S controller or the original black Xbox One controller. However, the color may look better on a custom controller. The grips sport tiny grooves all up and down, feeling like rubber beads in the gamer’s hands. During those times when a player’s hands get sweaty, these grooves do well to keep the controller in the player’s hands, rather than slipping during crucial moments.

As a means to make aiming and firing in first-person shooters more precise, the Quickshot’s trigger locks adjust the sensitivity of the controller’s LT and RT buttons. When the orange switch that activates the locks is flipped, a little orange bar slides beneath the triggers, affecting the amount of depth the button can be pushed inward. These locks allow players to adjust the triggers to fit their comfort level. Furthermore, the locks do not have to be in place simultaneously. Rather, one lock can be engaged while the other is not, diversifying the feel of the two buttons based on the user’s needs or desires. However, having the locks engaged is not conducive to driving a vehicle in most games, such as Ghost Recon: Wildlands or Grand Theft Auto V, as compression of the trigger buttons directly affects the speed of the player’s vehicle. With the lock engaged, gamers will be unable to reach higher speeds with their characters’ vehicles.

Overall, Bionik’s Quickshot is a decent product that transforms Xbox One controllers into something a little more versatile at a lower price than that of the Xbox One Elite controller. With comfortable grips and trigger locks that are best used in first-person shooters, the Quickshot will change players’ performance in various titles after adjusting to the new equipment. While the locks are not suitable for every game, they can be easily disengaged, and the grips provide a constant grounding for players who lose focus easily with the added benefit of preventing gamers from dropping their controller due to wet palms.

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