Review by xcamel24

"DS and DS Lite- Quality portable entertainment"

The new Nintendo DS Lite has fixed many flaws from the original Nintendo DS (hereafter just referred to as DS), and it really makes it worth purchase, especially to current non-DS owners. Either DS (the classic one) or DS Lite will make great portable handheld consoles.

Graphics- 9/10

The only thing holding these graphics back is the fact that they really aren't as good as PSP, a direct competitor of the DS and DS Lite. With that said though, the Nintendo DS and/or DS Lite are essentially an N64 in portable format. They can fully render 3-D, and the nice LCD screens allow for wonderful display. The DS Lite is like upgrading to an HD-TV, many more colors are visible, and the brightness makes seeing in the daylight a breeze. Sometimes you may find it too bright however, and the DS Lite lacks the ability to change brightness in mid game, which can be annoying when playing at say, sundown when it starts out bright and then gets dark. Thankfully most games have a quick save feature. The dual screens are quite an innovative approach at gaming and really give the player a better experience.

Battery Life- 10/10

The battery for a the DS Lite lasts almost twice as long as DS under some circumstances, but gets less battery life than DS on its highest brightness level. It is really a treat to be able to play for elongated periods of time without having to recharge your battery. If say you forget to charge your battery one night, you won't have any danger of running out of power the next day when you play. The DS will last you longer than any other portable system. In the case of the DS Lite, its battery can go even longer on the lower brightness settings, and since you really don't need the max brightness all the time, you should do great on battery life. Wi-fi play will suck it up a lot faster though, so be careful.

Pocket size- 10/10 for DS Lite, 7/10 for DS

Both the DS and DS Lite are pocket size, but the classic DS will probably do better in larger pockets, because it is a bit larger than most handhelds I've played. But the DS Lite will fit in your pocket much easier, and wont' be scratched up by keys or stuff, because its gloss finish protects itself from all that. Although the DS is a nice portable system, it isn't perfect for pocket size, while I think the DS Lite really fits well.

Compatibility and Peripherals- 10/10

There is so much that is available to customize DS, which makes it a lot cooler. You can buy different color styluses and pens. You can also add on skins, touch screen protectors, and special headphones. Plus backwards charger compatibility is great too. And of course the GBA player on the DS doesn't hurt anything either.

Appearance- 10/10 for Lite and 8/10 for DS

The DS Lite is really shiny and appealing, and the classic DS is still a decent looking console in its own right. The DS has various colors to choose from, while the DS Lite only has a few in most areas. (Japan got 4 colors, while USA got 1, and Europe is getting 2) The gloss finish on the DS Lite is really what makes it look so good (and even adds durability to the system). The best part about the appearance is when your friends see it they won't say "what is that stupid thing you're playing" they'll say something like "can I see that?" Either that or they'll think it's an iPod.

Gameplay/Functionality- 10/10

This is what makes the console right? It has a touch screen and a view screen, allowing for never before seen game play modes. The touch screen can do so much, like in Metroid Prime Hunters it can be used to aim, while in New Super Mario Bros. its just used to navigate menu's and use your stock item. There are so many innovative ideas that have been done with the DS's touch screen that has made it so popular. With the upcoming Internet browser, you can expect the touch screen to function as your mouse. The stylus is extremely responsive and does more than an analog stick would ever have done for a DS. The DS also contains a lot cool bells and whistles like an alarm clock and a birthday jingle. These things just help to make your DS more personal- and help you to really enjoy the console as your own. And with built in Wireless compatibility, you can now challenge anyone around the world to do battle in some of the best games around, all in portable format. The DS includes so much that it almost makes me wonder how they can sell it for 130 dollars.

Button Positioning: 9/10

Alright, there are complaints on both sides of DS and DS Lite, but all in all the buttons are great. The start and select buttons on the DS Lite are on the bottom right of the console lined vertically, while on DS they are on the top right of the console lined horizontally. The Power button also has different placement- on DS Lite it is on the right side of the console, while on DS it is just above the D-pad. The reason for moving it to the right side is because on classic DS some people claimed that they were accidentally turning their console off in the middle of game play if their finger slipped. All of these things are changed- but it's really up to the buyer to decide which one they like the best. I personally like the DS Lite's button arrangement much better, it is more functional as is the D-pad, and really helps your gaming experience as a whole. The DS Lite also has a D-pad with more depth, allowing easier playability through most games, and can be quite helpful for the constant left/right repetitive motions in Mario Kart DS. The stylus also has different positions, on DS Lite it is on the right side, while on DS it is on top of the console, just right of center. Either button configuration works fine especially for the more 2-D oriented and Touch screen oriented games on the DS.

Sound: 8/10

Not much to say here, the DS Lite has less power than the DS by a small margin, but not enough to be noticed on headphones. Both have advanced headphone jacks in case you wish to plug your console into a speaker set or headphones. Stereo sound is provided though, which makes the console feel great. In comparison to old handhelds (such as Wonder Swan or Game Boy Advance) the DS will easily beat them out. The only other drawback to sound is controlling the volume slider. It could be hard to position the volume exactly where you want it. I really like the sound quality from either console. Either one is good enough for the size of the system, because most people play them with the volume off or with headphones anyways. The best time to use the volume from speakers is when you're in a quiet area.

Game Library: 10/10

The DS and GBA combined have a vast library of nearly 1000 titles. This gives you a huge library of games to choose from, from games for toddlers to games for the most mature gamer. The games on DS and GBA are not only great games, but they are great portable games as well, with quick save features and game play that keeps you coming for more. The DS also has a suspend function, by closing the lid the DS will go into sleep/suspend mode, and the battery life lost in this mode is virtually unnoticeable. You can leave your DS on all day with sleep and wouldn't lose 10 min. worth of battery.

Overall: 10/10

The DS and DS Lite contain many great features for portable gaming, and the DS Lite has made portable gaming incredible. With a cheap price tag ($130 for DS or DS Lite), and cheap games (20-35 new) you won't regret purchasing a DS for your portable gaming needs.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/23/06


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