All hail Nintendo! Every time our faith in Nintendo has been rocked, they have bounced back strongly. At first glance, we liked the old DS, but it was a bit of a beast; an ugly device that seemed to be more about function than form. When the Gameboy Advance was released we felt the same way, but just as the redesigned Gameboy Advance SP swooped in to save the day, the DS Lite brings new appeal to Nintendo's handheld flagship.
- Excellent design, works well, compact and light.
- No wrist strap or headphones.
Nintendo has once again proven that when it comes to handheld gaming, they know their stuff!
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
The DS Lite is 42% smaller and 21% lighter than the original DS and is very sexy. It has that quality that makes people drool over electronic devices. Yes, it is white, but it's not the similarities with the over-hyped iPod that make it so desirable. It's the sleek form, the clear plastic shell encasing an inner purity or whatever marketing jargon you choose to believe. The Nintendo DS Lite has all the functionality of the original DS in a refined package, and the result is stunning.
The bottom of the unit has the same volume slider, headphone jack and Gameboy cartridge slot. However, the Gameboy slot now has a removable cover. This is a great idea, but it probably will end up getting lost, much like the battery cover on the Donkey Kong Game and Watch. The new slim nature of the design also means that the GBA cartridges protrude about a centimetre from the base of the unit. This isn't too much of an issue though, as they don't interfere with use. The power button has been changed to a spring-loaded switch which needs to be held for a period to power on and off. The stylus has been tucked away rather effectively too, now positioned horizontally, inserted from the right hand side. The control buttons are mostly in the same position, although the start and select keys have been moved below the A, B, X and Y buttons and the DS game slot is still in the same position at the top of the unit.
The microphone has been moved too, now positioned on the hinge between the two screens. This seems to be a little more effective than the microphone on the previous model. Our review unit came with Brain Training, a first party Nintendo title. During testing with this program the voice commands were always detected, and mostly understood.
The dual-screens are the same size, although they have been improved with greater brightness and four levels of calibration. The bottom screen is slightly raised as well, so that when closed, the edges of the two screens join together and block out unwanted and potentially damaging foreign objects such as dust, lint and sand particles.
In every other way, the DS Lite performs exactly like the previous incarnation and owners of that model might be hard pressed to justify an upgrade. The battery life is about the same with 12 or so hours of continuous play and a short recharge time of only 2 hours.
The DS Lite is destined to be a hugely popular product in this country. In Japan and the United States they are selling out in many stores and easily cement Nintendo as the kings of handheld gaming. There are some slight annoyances but they are only with the accessories included in the pack; there are no headphones or wrist strap like the old DS. This is only a minor complaint though and everyone in our offices that has held the DS Lite in their hands has lavished adoration on it. We cannot recommend this console enough. It is slim, fun to use and a superlative piece of design. Nintendo has outdone themselves once again and hit one out of the ground.
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