Review - Nintendo DS Lite ( Polar White )

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by yee, Aug 31, 2006.

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Aug 31, 2006
  1. yee

    Member yee DOTA 4EVER

    Jul 9, 2006
    Review of the North American Polar White Nintendo DS Lite
    By: Yee


    1. Introduction
    2. Contents
    3. Design
    4. Features
    5. Graphics and Sound
    6. Games and Multiplayer
    7. Conclusion

    Nintendo has dominated the handheld market for almost 2 decades with its fabulous games, innovation and newer technology. With the newer installment of the Nintendo DS ( or Dual-Screen ), it sure doesn’t disappoint as well.
    Upon the launch of the DS in late 2004, early 2005, it was a major success and according to Nintendo, it was the first video game system to be sold-out in Japan.
    Continuing upon the success of the first DS ( known as the DS Phat ), Nintendo continued to upgrade it by reading reviews and listening to customers.
    So in the summer of 2006, Nintendo released the DS Lite, the much sleeker, more beautiful and redesigned version of the original Phat. And I’m here to review the newest handheld in the Nintendo line-up!

    The DS Lite box included the DS itself, 2 styli, manuals, the charger and the GBA dust-cover ( to cover the GBA slot from dust of course! )

    Upon removing the protective wrapping from the DS Lite, I was extremely amazed at how much smaller and sexier it was compared to the original Phat, which was well... sort of big, chunky and fat. Nintendo went beyond this time by applying gloss on the outside of the DS shell, which I really liked. It looked sort of related to the Apple iPods with the new gloss layer, but remember, gloss loves fingerprints! The size difference between the Phat and Lite is outrageously noticeable and for once, the DS can actually fit in my pockets! ( The Lite is 42% smaller in volume and 21% lighter compared to the Phat. ) But seeing as it is also smaller this time, the plastic feels cheaper and less solid ( which has caused some problems, which I won’t get into. )
    However, since the DS Lite is much smaller this time around, people with big hands might also have trouble playing it, seeing as the D-Pad has also been reduced in size along with the DS itself.
    Original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges no longer work on the DS Lite, whereas they ran perfectly on the original Phat. With the smaller size of the DS, Game Boy Advance cartridges now stick out about 1CM from the casing and it’s not that bothersome, or at least in my opinion.
    The power switch has been relocated from above the A/B/X/Y buttons to the right-hand side of the DS and the microphone has also been relocated to the middle of the DS ( on the hinge, where I think should’ve been all along. )
    The styli are much bigger this time and are a huge plus for those with big hands that had a difficulty with the older styli of the Phat. In my opinion, they actually felt sort of lighter compared to the Phat’s styli, and in conjunction with the lighter DS, games that require using the stylus a lot, i.e. Metroid Prime Hunters, was much easier.
    The DS Lite charger plug is much smaller this time around as well, so you can expect to either give away your old DS / GBA accessories or throw them out because they definitely won’t fit the Lites.
    I’ve noticed that the sound is quieter on the Lite compared to the Phat, however, a set of headphones fixes all that if it bothers you.
    Battery life has been advertised as lasting up to 19 hours and I’m happy to report I have gotten about 8 to 10 hours on the level 2 brightness on max volume.
    Overall, I was happy with the design and I had no trouble whatsoever playing it, although my hands aren’t in any way big.

    There are many newer features as well with the DS Lite and I am very glad with what Nintendo has done.
    The screens now have 4 different levels of brightness, which are all brighter than the original DS and cannot be turned off. ( If you turn them off in a game, you can’t see anything and you might need to wear sunglasses if you turn the brightness to level 4. )
    There is no longer a wrist-strap and thumb stylus provided for the North American DS Lites.
    The hinges are much more sturdy and don’t move back and forth and feel as flimsy as before. ( That bothered me so much when I played my original DS Phat. )
    Supposedly, the touch screens are more durable and less-prone to scratches in the DS Lite, although I haven’t noticed it yet.
    The WiFi range for the DS still remains the same, although I prayed for it to be broader. You can also receive your existing WiFi settings from your older DS, so you don’t have to spend 5 minutes setting it all up again.

    Graphics and Sound
    With the release of Mario Kart DS and Super Mario 64 DS, you can happily say that the DS is very much a Nintendo 64 made portable.
    The graphics are top-notch for a handheld, with its sharpness and frame rate. The 3D games look astonishing and the 2D games look even more amazing than ever. Because of the brighter screens, some games like Tetris DS and Mario Kart DS really shines with its more vivid colors.
    Sound wise, the system is very good except for the one flaw, which is that the volume seems a bit quiet compared to the older Phat. But once you plug in a pair of headphones, it can get really loud! However, the sound is a humongous upgrade from the Phat, because the sound would crackle at a certain volume so you either had to turn it up or down.

    Games and Multiplayer
    At the launch of the DS, things were looking pretty bad due to very few launch titles compared to its current rival the PSP, which has much better graphic intense games. But it’s not always the graphics, but the actual gameplay, and this is where the DS wins hands down.
    Because the DS has a touch screen, the gameplay is very different to your traditional D-Pad and buttons, and it’s an extremely new and positive experience to be playing with a stylus for once! A few of the amazing touch screen games I highly recommend include Kirby: Canvas Curse and Metroid Prime Hunters and a few of the games that look much better on the DS Lite include Tetris DS, New Super Mario Bros., Animal Crossing: Wild World and Pokemon Dash! Once again, it’s because of the amazing and new brighter screens that results in a much clearer picture with brighter colors.
    The DS Lite also has WiFi like its older counter-part and although there aren’t that many games out at the moment that have it, the ones that do have WiFi enabled are working arts of masterpiece when it comes to online play. Like what’s better than being Yoshi and throwing red shells at other people in an online game of Mario Kart? Nothing much besides getting some free money or throwing another red shell at the same person.

    The Nintendo DS Lite is a major upgrade compared to its older brother and one of the best looking handheld on the market as of right now. The colors are vivid, the screens are bright, sound is outstanding… hell, even the box is worth staring at! After spending a while playing it and I have made the following conclusions:

    - Brighter screens with 4 adjustable brightness
    - Smaller and more compact
    - Larger and easier to use stylus
    - An extremely longer battery life
    - No longer has a flimsy hinge
    - Looks astonishing
    - Sexier and sleeker

    - The speakers give out less sound compared to the Phat
    - Gloss layer attracts lots of fingerprints
    - Doesn’t feel as solid as the Phat
    - Game Boy / Game Boy Color cartridges and older GBA and DS Phat accessories that use the EXT2 port no longer works as well
    - Game Boy Advance cartridges stick out
    - Smaller D-Pad

    Overall, I think the newer DS Lite is one handheld everyone should try, although it is not for everyone, especially the ones with big hands. In my opinion, the improvements don’t justify shelling out another $150 for it, unless you extremely hate the bulkiness of the older DS Phat.

    FINAL SCORE = 8.5/10
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