The Nintendo DS and its successor, the 2DS XL are excellent systems that offer stellar graphics. However, if you want to play your favorite video game on them or create art using their stylus pen (which doubles as an eraser), you’ll need extra storage space. The good news is that there are many options available in terms of external hard drives, flash drives, and even microSD cards.
We’re going to cover everything you should know about how these devices work with Nintendo’s latest handheld console – the Nintendo 2DS XL ($170). This includes whether they can be used together, which ones are compatible, and more importantly, which one you should get. Let’s start by taking a look at some basic facts about microSD cards.
What is a micro SD?
MicroSD stands for Secure Digital Memory Cards, and it was first released way back in August 2002 by Sandisk. It has since evolved into two different types – MicroSDHC and MicroSDXC. Both of them allow users to expand the storage capacity of digital cameras, mobile phones, camcorders, etc., but only the latter supports high-speed transfer rates. You won’t find any SD adapters like the ones included with old point-and-shoot cameras here.
A typical microSD card looks just like a regular SD card except for being smaller and thinner. They come in varying sizes up to 128GB, while most are between 8-16 GB. A 64GB microSD costs around $30 online whereas larger capacities cost much more. If you plan to buy one, make sure you read our tips on buying cheap microSD cards instead!
As mentioned earlier, microSD offers additional functionality over standard SD cards when it comes to expanding the amount of data stored on them. For instance, it allows you to take advantage of features such as write protection, faster file transfers thanks to UHS-I support, and higher bus speeds. All those benefits sound great right?
What SD Card does the 2DS XL use?
In case you weren’t aware, all 2DS XL consoles feature an SD card slot. This means that you can insert a microSD card into your device and enjoy expanded memory without having to worry about running out of room on your new handheld. In fact, the microSD card acts as the main source of storage for everything from saved games to downloaded content.
It also helps that Nintendo chose not to include a built-in battery in their next generation of handhelds. Instead, they opted for removable batteries so owners could swap them out easily whenever needed. When inserted, however, the microSD slot functions exactly like a normal SD port. There’s no real difference other than size.
If you’ve got a few dollars lying around, I highly recommend getting a microSD card rather than paying extra money for an expensive adapter. Besides saving you time and hassle, it’s also cheaper in the long run because microSD cards tend to last longer.
Does a SanDisk Extreme Work 2DS XL?
One popular choice among consumers is SanDisk’s line of “Extreme” series microSD cards. These cards boast fast performance, reliable durability, and compatibility with various accessories including cases, chargers, and USB hubs. Some models even allow you to record videos directly onto the memory stick itself.
SanDisk also makes several versions specifically designed for the Nintendo Switch. One of these, called the SanDisk Pro Duo 32GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Drive, is capable of recording 4K HDR video footage at 60 fps along with Dolby Atmos audio. Another model, dubbed the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick Up 16 GB Class10 SDHC Flash Drive, lets you wirelessly stream movies, TV shows, music, photos, and documents straight to the big screen via supported TVs, set top boxes, media players, and streaming sticks.
Unfortunately, neither of these products are officially sold by Nintendo. As expected, the company doesn’t list them anywhere on its official store. That said, you may still see them pop up occasionally on eBay or Craigslist. Just keep in mind that prices aren’t always accurate. And don’t forget that you can check out Amazon listings too.
On a similar note, please avoid buying third party adaptors that claim to turn a standard SD card into a microSD one. Those generally provide little benefit beyond adding bulk and weight. Also, never try installing apps or transferring files from older SD cards onto newer microSD ones unless you own a special toolkit. Doing so can potentially cause irreparable damage to both cards.
Finally, you might wonder where microSD fits into Nintendo’s plans moving forward. While the company hasn’t confirmed anything yet, leaks suggest that Nintendo wants to replace microSD slots with eMMC modules in future hardware releases. Why do we say possibly? Because rumors indicate that Nintendo already started testing prototypes featuring eMMC chips back in 2016.
Another possibility could involve replacing existing cartridges with electronic equivalents. Last year, Nintendo announced that it had partnered up with NXP Semiconductors to develop technology that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) antennas to transmit information through tiny radio waves. By doing so, developers wouldn’t need physical discs anymore. Instead, gamers could simply download content digitally, after which NFC readers located near the display would automatically update themselves accordingly.
For now though, we’ll just have to wait and watch. Hopefully, Nintendo won’t end up making us pay Sony’s price for storing downloadable copies of our games forever.
Does the 2DS XL have a SD Card slot?
Yes! Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to access the microSD slot yourself without removing the side panel. To open it, press down on the lower left corner until the button pops out slightly. Then slide the button towards the center to lift off the latch holding the panels together. Once done, remove the pieces of plastic and pull out the microSD tray.
You’ll notice that the design resembles a mini version of the standard microSD card. Unlike full sized SD cards, they lack a security lock and don’t show signs of wear and tear. On the plus side, they weigh half as much as a full-size SD card.
Inside the compartment, you’ll discover four empty sockets labeled 1-4. Make sure you place your microSD card into socket number three. Next, plug the microSD card reader into either a computer or a power supply unit. Your Nintendo 2DS XL will recognize it immediately. Now you can safely install software updates, save games, purchase DLC, and more.
Does 2DS XL have internal memory?
No. Like previous generations of Nintendo handhelds, the newest member of the family doesn’t come preloaded with any kind of user accessible storage. As far as internal memory goes, your choices boil down to ROMs and emulators.
ROMs refer to copies of entire games that were originally distributed on optical disks or CDs. Since people spent years copying these files onto floppy disks, CDRs, and eventually DVDs, companies eventually stopped producing them. Most major publishers nowadays opt to release digital downloads exclusively.
Emulators are applications that simulate classic platforms like the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis/MegaDrive, Game Boy Advanced, etc. Though emulator libraries have grown considerably over the past decade, modern titles often require upwards of 30+ gigabytes worth of free disk space. Thankfully, downloading individual ROMs takes care of both issues.
Whether you prefer to load up your 2DS XL with ROMs or emulate older games, you’ll need help finding quality sources. Here are some suggestions:
Nintendo Official Website: The company’s website hosts plenty of retro content. Notable items include Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon Bank/Trade Association, Miitomo, Super Mario Maker, and Splatoon 2.
YouTube Channel: This channel regularly uploads demos, previews, trailers, gameplay clips, interviews, and more.
GameFAQS Forums: With nearly 9 million posts spanning almost 20 years, this forum boasts an active community dedicated to discussing every title imaginable.
Once you decide on a method, search Google or YouTube for whatever platform you’d like to emulate. Remember to consult our guide to playing original Xbox 360 and PS3 games on PC. After selecting a title, select Download & Install Software from the bottom menu bar followed by Save Data Files to Hard Disk Drive.
While these methods usually suffice, sometimes you’ll encounter situations where you need more space. Luckily, there are tons of ways to increase the storage limit of your Nintendo 2DS XL.
John has been a gamer since the early age of 7, playing a huge variety of single-player games, and MMOs, and even participating in LAN Tournaments for FPS games such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Ever since he found his passion in gaming & in technology in general, he has continuously increased his knowledge in software, programming & hardware and is now working at TechReviewTeam helping readers, answering questions, writing articles & reviews for the team.