Review DS Lite mini-Review


PogoShell it to me ™
Former Staff
Dec 22, 2002
Nintendo DS Lite mini-Review


We always knew Nintendo would create another iteration of the DS. Just look at every past Nintendo handheld, GameBoy went to GB Pocket, then GB Light, then GB Colour. GameBoy Advance had the SP then Micro. Now the DS has the Lite.

But is it worth buying?

In my opinion, yes. While not as revolutionary as the leap from GBA to GBA SP there still are some good reasons why you would want to buy a DS Lite even if you already own the original:
  • It's smaller (now fits fairly comfortably in your pocket)
  • It weighs less (less fatigue for those long gaming sessions)
  • The screens are much clearer and brighter (If you've seen how bright a PSP is you'll know what the original DS was missing out on. The Lite's screens are just slightly brighter than the PSP's screen)
  • The battery life is significantly longer (19 hours instead of 10 hours at the same level of brightness as the original DS)
  • GB Micro style buttons (more clicky responsive buttons and d-pad)
  • A larger stylus (the new stylus is easier to hold and more comfortable to use)
  • A glossy stylish design (lets face it, the DS Lite looks absolutely gorgeous)
I bought my DS on June 1st at the Australian launch. The Australian version comes with a free demo of Brain Training which is always a welcome addition and will definately help promote the idea of 'non-games' here. Just this week I saw the DS Lite and Brain Age on the evening news. It was a story on Brain Age and how it's helping all sorts of people by keeping their brains stimulated (the elderly was one prominant example).

Here are the contents of package, minus the DS Lite charger (offscreen):


Now for a bit more of a look at the DS Lite itself. I'm sure you've seen photos of it all over the internet but what's a few more going to hurt?






The DS Lite has an Apple-like gloss coat over most of it's exterior. The only places without the smooth transparent plastic is the very top of the unit where the DS slot is and the inside of the unit.


I find the glossy surface much more comfortable to hold compared to the original DS. The smooth texture really feels nice when your holding it.

So far I haven't recieved any cramps from playing it, however I have been having a bit of trouble playing Metroid Prime Hunters. Incase you don't already know the Aus version DS Lite does not come with a thumb strap (or any sort of strap for that matter). Supposedly the reason for this was that the thumb strap scratched the touchscreen. So since getting my Lite I've been trying to learn to use the stylus. But lets compound the problem even more. I'm left handed but I can't for the life of me can't play with the stylus in my left hand (I'm too used to the mouse being in my right hand), so here I am trying to hold a stylus pen in my right hand rather awkwardly and strafe oncoming fire at the same time.

The buttons are all very responsive and the d-pad is especially useful for those of you who are snaking inclined in Mario Kart. That being said all the buttons are smaller than their original iterations and will need some time to get used to. The start and select buttons are an example of this. After being used to their easy reach on the original DS I now have to get used to pressing these much smaller Start and Select buttons located below the A/B/X/Y buttons.

The bigger stylus is a godsend and you will notice the difference immediately. It's now much easier to hold; you'll see your accuracy improving in no time.

Here's a short video looking of the DS Lite from different angles then a bit of a play of Animal Crossing:

GBA cartridges stick out of the unit by about 1cm. They do not interfere with your playing as your hands will not go near the GBA slot. The only real drawback is the cosmetic appreance of the DS Lite. I prefer to keep the GBA dust cover in my Lite as much as possible as it looks much more aesthetically pleasing. I'll certainly be keeping my eyes on any DS flashcart that fits into the smaller GBA slot.


I'm sure you'll be interested to see some comparison's between the DS Lite and the original, particularly the screen brightness.

Well here is a bit of a size comparison first:



The DS Lite is a lot more streamlined and less bulky than the original, the screens are also noticable positioned better. The smaller size makes it more feasible to fit it in your pocket, which after all is by definition what portability is all about. I'm very happy with the size of the machine, it was the first thing I noticed when I took it out of it's packaging.

Now onto the the main affair, those lovely screens. The DS Lite has four different brightness settings, accessable from the same sun-like icon on the DS menu. At the lowest brightness setting the screens are the same bright as the original's. The maximum brightness setting is as bright if not slightly more so than the PSP's maximum brightness. When you boot up the DS Lite you'll notice all the amazing colours in games that appeared murky before. Games like Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Metroid Prime Hunters all look remarkably better on the DS Lite's screens. You'll want, nay, need a DS Lite to play DS games at their best. GBA games also look equally stunning.

Here is a short video I made of me cycling through the different brightness settings which'll show you just how bright those screens are!

And if that doesn't satisfy you here are some more pictures:




I think the pictures and video speak better than words. The DS Lite's screens are simply awesome. Almost worth the price of admission alone, but the sleek redesigned look just clinches the deal.


The DS Lite is lighter, brighter, sleeker. It also has an improved battery that will last nearly double as long as the original at the sime brightness level (I got about 7 hours battery life on maximum brightness). I found that even though I own the original DS the Lite was a big improvement and I'm very happy with my purchase. There's more than enough in the package to warrant the upgrade, whether you're image conscious or you just want those beautiful screens the DS Lite is a perfect addition to your handheld collection.
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