Touchscreen FAQ by GreyRainCloud

Version: 0.66 | Updated: 08/28/06 | Printable Version

(c) 2005-2006 A. Karoutas  ._____________________.          V 0.66 (28-08-06)
                           |\                   /|
                           |    Touch Screen     |
                           |  Types Comparison   |
                           |   for Nintendo DS   |

                         *GUIDE INFORMATION*

--SYSTEM-----> Nintendo DS
--BRAND------> Nintendo
--REGION-----> Region Free (JAPAN, USA, EUROPE)
--RELEASED---> 2004-2005
--FAQ AUTHOR-> GreyRainCloud

                         *LEGAL INFORMATION*

(c) 2004, Andreas Karoutas.

 This guide was written by Andreas Karoutas. You are not allowed to modify or
change this file in any way. Use of this guide to profit, is strictly
prohibited and illegal. If you want to add this guide to your website, please 
ask for my permission first.
                      |\                /|
You can e-mail me at: | |

 If you found this guide in any site other than those listed below, you
probably have an UNAUTHORIZED copy. If you find an UNAUTHORIZED copy,
then you should e-mail me so that I can take legal action. 

  List of AUTHORIZED sites:

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 Nintendo DS is (c) 2004-2005 Nintendo Corp. LTD
Other used terms are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

 I shall not be liable for any damages, incidental or consequential, caused
by the use of this guide. If you have any inquiries, please e-mail me.


 To move quickly across this guide, find what you are looking for in the
Guide Key below, then type it in the Search String. To bring up the Search, 
press together CTRL+F. For example, if you wish to go to "Grid Screen", 
you should type "PART 1-c".

         Contents                                 Guide Key
-PART-1-> GUIDE INTRODUCTION                     [ PART 1-/ ]
    |_a. Version History                         [ PART 1-a ]
    \_b. Introduction                            [ PART 1-b ]
-PART-2-> THE SCREEN TYPES                       [ PART 2-/ ]
    |_a. Why Different Types?                    [ PART 2-a ]
    |_b. Grainy Screen                           [ PART 2-b ]
    |_c. Grid Screen                             [ PART 2-c ]
    |_d. Comparisons & Other Comments            [ PART 2-d ]
    \_e. Myths & Lies                            [ PART 2-3 ]
-PART-3-> OTHER STUFF                            [ PART 3-/ ]
    |_a. Frequently Asked Questions              [ PART 3-a ]
    |_b. Credits                                 [ PART 3-b ]
    \_c. Thanks                                  [ PART 3-c ]

[ PART 1-a ]             *Version History*                        [ PART 1-a ]

-0.66-> Updated most of the file and added final information on the touch
screens. Answered many questions in the FAQ section. This FAQ will from now
on concetrate on DS Lite and its touch screen types and differences, if there
are any. Next update will include information on DS Lite and its touch screen.
 File Updated [ 28-08-06 ]
-0.33-> Addressed a few questions and slightly updated some of the information
included within the FAQ. Most of the FAQ is now considered final as far as
the original DS is concerned.
 File Updated [ 07-03-06 ]
-0.01-> Created the basic file layouts, and the first version of the FAQ.
Most information is already added, and future updates will only include any
new information received about the screen types of the Nintendo DS.
 File Created [ 20-02-05 ]

[ PART 1-b ]             *INTRODUCTION*                           [ PART 1-b ] 
/                                                                           \

 First of all, let's start by introducing you to what this FAQ is about. 
Since the release of the Nintendo DS, it became evident that they were two
different touch-screen types (or potentially even more) used in the systems.
We don't have concrete information on the exact reasons, or even if they are
indeed actually made by different companies (according to the rumours). But
what we are quite aware of is exactly that: That they are different.

Depending on the circumstance and the user, one type of screen might be
preferred over the other; and since the differences are apparent, I thought
that I would make a guide to inform people on what kind of Nintendo DS they
have, and also to stop the recent trend of people prefering a certain kind of
screen over another. The difference, although obvious, is still superficial. 

[ PART 2-a ]             *WHY DIFFERENT TYPES?*                   [ PART 2-a ] 

 The answer is tough. In fact, there is no directly relevant information that
points to the reason behind the system appearing with two (or potentially
more) touch-screen types. One would probably believe that either the Grid
Screen or the Grainy Screen is the "older version", and the other is a recent
"revision" that was done to fix some initial problems. This is not the case
because to my knowledge, both screen types are still being made in a 7:3 ratio
in favour of the Grainy Screen.

 The rumour that they are made by different factories seems logical enough.
But still there are a lots of interesting tidbits that disagree with it and
even completely contradict with the rumour. If they were made by different
factories, then why the systems "Made In Japan", "Made In Hong Kong" and
"Made In Indonesia" all have apparently appeared with both screen types?

 So, in search of an answer, we are just making more questions. So, let's
forget for a decent answer, and just face the situation as is: There are
currently two different versions of the touch-screen, which I am going to
describe in detail below, and there are no apparent reasons behind this.

UPDATE: We now know that the original GRAINY SCREEN was only used in the
first models and how now been completely out of production. If you happen
to own a DS bought at a later date and still have the GRAINY SCREEN, then
you probably found a launch unit or one unit from a batch of later produced
systems that still had stocked grainy screens.

[ PART 2-b ]             *GRAINY SCREEN*                          [ PART 2-b ]

1) Both the upper and the touch-screen look similar in this model. The catch
is that the touch-screen looks desaturated (grainy) slightly if you compare
both more carefully. The touch-screen feels flat and smooth when you use the
stylus or your finger.

Screen is FLAT and SMOOTH. You can't tell the difference between the upper
and the touch screen.

2) There is seemingly only one layer comprising of both the screen matrix and
the touch-screen. As soon as you touch it, you have near instant input on the
screen in the games.

3) The screen is very durable and not prone to scratch under most
circumstances. A screen protector is still recommended for extra protection.

4) When playing games with the back-light off, picture is slightly more
blurry and less vibrant.

[ PART 2-c ]             *GRID SCREEN*                            [ PART 2-c ]

1) The touch-screen looks significantly different when compared to the upper
screen. Though the image is as sharp, there are small dots placed in a grid
that can be seen when you examine the system at an angle.

2) There are two obvious layers. The bottom layer is screen matrix, which is
the one that has the dots placed in a grid. The overlaying layer is the
protective coating which has diagonal lines (or bumps) from the top right to 
the bottom left, evenly spaced from each other (~0.04mm).

3) Because of the two layers, the time it takes until you touch the screen
with the stylus or finger, and the time until it actually receives it as an
input, is delayed slightly. Additionally, if you use the stylus at a certain 
angle, the diagonal bumps (or lines) can slightly make the surface less smooth
to the movement.

4) The screen is also very durable and not prone to scratches under most
circumstances. However, there is a rumour that in comparison to the other
screen type(s), it is significantly more prone to scratches. Since this part
of the guide is listing facts and not rumours, I can't help but dismiss them.
Personally, I believe that both screen types are equally prone to scratches
and while the chances are very low, I suggest you purchase a screen protector.

5) When playing games with the back-light off, the image is sharp and vibrant.

[ PART 2-d ]             *COMPARISONS & OTHER*                    [ PART 2-d ]

-> You need to use slightly more force to have input on a GRID SCREEN.

-> Unconfirmed rumours depict that the GRID SCREEN is less durable.

-> The GRID SCREEN is more vibrant in colours and more sharp in lines.

-> The GRAINY SCREEN makes drawing slightly harder, because of the near
instant input on screen. Also makes it more prones for "drawing mistakes".

-> However the same can be said about the GRID SCREEN which has a non-instant
touch recognition system.

[ PART 2-e ]             *MYTHS & LIES*                           [ PART 2-e ]

------------------------- GRAINY SCREEN --------------------------------------

1) It's better, it's the newer version!

-> Both screens are in production. We don't know why Nintendo keeps making 
both systems, but apparently they are. There is a 7:3 ratio in favor of the 
GRAINY SCREEN in terms of production numbers. However, there are no points
to this rumour being true, otherwise Nintendo would have stopped the
production of the GRID SCREEN.

UPDATE: Indeed we now know that it was the GRID SCREEN that was the new model,
instead of what we originally thought. In addition, the GRAINY SCREEN has
been completely pulled out of production for whatever reasons unknown.

2) It's the only working with Wario Ware Touched.

-> I can confirm that BOTH screens work perfectly with Wario Ware: Touched & 
the Wario Ware: Touched Demo.

------------------------- GRID   SCREEN --------------------------------------

1) The GRID SCREEN is not durable.

-> Partially true, because it FEELS slightly less durable. The two layers
make for what appears to be a slightly less solid build. But since I have had
both systems since launch and with no visible signs of wear on either, this is
still a glorified myth in my opinion.

UPDATE: More than a year later, with both of my systems installed with a
protective film, I can confirm that both screens have proved to be equally
resistant to scratches and wear. Neither has outperformed and both still work
as new.

2) Pictochat appears to be less responsive.

-> Again, partially true. But not because of the hardware or the screen. It 
just appears that if you are used to the GRAINY DS, and you use pictochat on 
a GRID DS, because you are used for INSTANT INPUT on the touch screen, you 
think it is less responsive. Well it is. But with practice you will get used 
to it.

[ PART 3-a ]             *FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS*             [ PART 3-a ]

 Here I will answer stuff that people asked through e-mails. I will try to
include as much replies as possible, to as many different problems as

Q: I have a GRID SCREEN. Do you think that I should return it as a defect?

-> Since there are no proven defects or problems caused by the use of the GRID
SCREEN, it is not only dishonest to return it as a defect, but also plain
stupid. All systems need care from the user's side, and if you are careless
then no matter which screen you have, you will end up with a good share of
scratches. So, be careful! Blaming a company on your own mistakes is at least

Q: Gamespot had a news page a month ago reporting that "a certain batch of
Nintendo DS systems were not fully compatible with Wario Ware: Touched". Does
this have anything to do with the two different touch-screen types?

-> As far as I can tell, it does not seem possible. I have tested those mini-
games in question on both system types with no problems at all. What is more
likely is that there was a minor batch of Nintendo DS systems with an earlier
revision hardware, which somehow caused problems with the game. Since those
systems have already been replaced and are not in circulation anymore, I would
not worry that much if I were you.

Q: Thank you very much for this comparison FAQ! It really cleared things up!

-> I know, I know! It was a pleasure to help you. Anybody should be playing 
this awesome handheld, and I hope that you will now enjoy a lifetime of 
Nintendo gaming with it! No matter what screen type you have, you really
should stop worrying and just look forward to the many gaming years ahead!
If you really  wish to help me with my research and FAQ/Guide Writing, then
you might wish to surprise my PayPal account ( where I can 
accept any donation!

Q: Do you know if there are any problems in gameplay if I use a screen
protector from a palm computer?

-> Obviously not. Feel free to use any kind of screen protector even if it is
not especially made for the DS. Try to specially buy a screen protector for
touch screens though and not just for general LCD screens (as the latter are
more prone to scratches).

Q: Do you know if Nintendo will replace a badly scratched screen for free?

-> Nintendo will not replace any systems damaged by misuse. A screen damaged
is considered a misuse and abuse of the system because, as it has been proven,
the DS is very scratch resistant.

Q: What happens if my touch screen stops working or is working improperly?

-> The first thing to do, obviously, is try to re-calibrate the screen using
the system's menu. If that will not help then try to see if any minor dust
particles are trapped on the screen and for some reason confuse the input.
If that is the case, try to clean the screen. Oil, sand, dust particles and
grease can all confuse the touch screen input. In the end if nothing helps,
try to contact Nintendo Customer Support Line.

Q: I have noticed that after playing Meteos, my GRID SCREEN became scratched!

-> Meteos puts the touch screen to heavy use and is not as gentle on the
system as it should have been. My recommendation after reading your e-mail,
and to everybody that plays touch screen heavy games is one: Buy a screen

Q: My screen got scratched eventually. Is there anything I can do to make
the scratches go away?

-> Some of those "scratches" are actually dirt and can go away with a careful
and thorough clean. In addition, some minor marks can almost disappear if you
put on the official Hori Screen Protector (licensed by Nintendo). Because of
its almost grainy like features, it will absorb some of the minor scratches.
The official Hory Screen Protector is not yet available out of Japan to the
best of my knowledge, so contact a japanese vendor that exports it such as
lik-sang or play-asia.

Q: I have found some dead dots or pixels on my system. What is this?

-> Technically it is not the nature of this FAQ to discuss about dead pixels,
but since you asked I will explain: During production, it is very hard to
maintain a perfect rate of screens with absolutely no defects. Some screens
slip by the testing phase including a few (usually 1-3) dead pixels. Sadly
there is nothing you can do about it as it is not considered a system defect
and rather a cosmetic defect. Nintendo is though very happy to replace your
system free of charge if your dead pixels are in the centre of the screen
or if you believe they affect your gameplay and enjoyment. Contact Nintendo
Customer Support Line for more information.

[ PART 3-b ]             *Credits*                                [ PART 3-b ]

 Grey Rain Cloud
 Weeping Shadow
 Andreas Karoutas
 Kari Casady
 Thomas (

[ PART 3-c ]             *Thanks*                                 [ PART 3-c ]

 Nintendo     (For making the beautiful Nintendo DS)
 GameFAQs     (For giving us an awesome site to live our electronic lives on)
                        |*END O F FILE*|