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The Nintendo DS Lite

Intro and Unpacking

The Nintendo DS Lite is a dual-screen handheld game console, a slimmer, more lightweight version of the popular Nintendo DS, 42% smaller in volume and 21% lighter than the original console.

Nintendo DS Lite

The controls have been adjusted slightly, with the Start/Select buttons being moved below the A/B/X/Y buttons. The microphone has been relocated to the hinge in the center of the system. The screens have also been updated, with four levels of brightness, all brighter than the original. In addition, the screen borders touch when the clamshell is closed, preventing an object from slipping between them and scratching the displays. Battery life is a whopping nine hours more than the original DS (on minimum brightness), despite the inclusion of Wi-Fi still.

The DS Lite, in addition to its own DS cartridges, includes backwards compatibility with Game Boy Advance cartridges, though these now protrude about 1 cm from the DS Lite's casing.

Unpacking the DS Lite

Unpacking the DS Lite

Unpacking the DS Lite

Unpacking the DS Lite

Review

Having previously played the original DS briefly, my impressions of that were of over-plasticky design, too many loose bits and a dim screen that meant that games had to be played in a darkened room. Not to mention that part of the bulk was to allow insertion of the large Game Boy Advance cartridges.

The DS Lite, as was hinted at above, fixes all the problems with style. It feels smaller (because it is!), more polished (both literally and physically) and you'll find yourself picking it up and appreciating it as a good piece of third-generation hardware design.

Unpacked and ready for action

Things I like:

  • The gorgeous screens, play them at maximum brightness for maximum effect! The LCD displays compare well to those on other cutting edge devices such as PDAs, and how Nintendo can make and sell the DS Lite for £99 is beyond me. I guess they make their money on game licensing (see dislikes, below)
  • The quality spring mechanisms of the DS game pack slot and the corner triggers.
  • The way space isn't unduly sacrificed on the altar of Game Boy Advance compatibility - cartridges for these protrude when inserted rather than having to be contained within the DS Lite's volume.
  • The fast charging, our DS Lite charges in two hours flat! Battery life is great, too, easily enough to see even keen game players through the day.

Things I dislike:

  • Button quality. The feel of the main direction controller and play buttons isn't quite up to the same standard as the general hardware design.
  • Game prices. At £30 for a game title, I expect it to have many hours of play time. Yes, there are some good titles with extended playability (I'm starting to review some on my game reviews page) but there are also some real 'filler' games - I wasn't at all impressed by Brain Age, for example, which I got bored with after an hour and which made almost no attempt to use any of the DS Lite's graphics. I wonder why there aren't more game compendiums, especially for general family play?
  • The loose fit of the charging cable - more than a couple of times I've had to wiggle this in order to get charging to occur properly.

No complaints overall though, the Nintendo DS Lite is an excellent buy and a good 'keep 'em amused' tool for the family for rainy days and journeys.

Specifications

Nintendo DS Lite

DS LITE SPECS

Model code:
USG-001

Body Size:
133.0x73.9x21.5mm (when folded)

Weight (including battery and stylus):
218g

Stylus Size:
87.55x4.99mm

Upper Display:
3-inch transparent TFT color LCD with backlight featuring four adjustable levels of brightness, 192x256 pixel resolution, 0.24mm dot pitch, 260,000 colors

Bottom Display:
3-inch transmissive TFT color LCD with backlight featuring four adjustable levels of brightness, 192x256 pixel resolution, 0.24mm dot pitch, 260,000 colors, transparent resistive touch screen

Power and Battery
Lowest Luminosity: 15-19 hours
Low Luminosity: 10-15 hours
High Luminosity: 7-11 hours
Highest Luminosity: 5-8 hours
Full Battery Recharge time: 3 hours