When you see the word “lite” associated with an item, you can usually expect the quality of that item to be lesser than the original. The Nintendo DS Lite is very much the exception. The Nintendo DS Lite is lighter, brighter, and better than the original.
When it first came onto the scene, the DS seemed like a bizarre kid’s toy—a souped-up GameBoy in response to the sleek and graphically superior PSP. As it turned out, the Nintendo DS packed a surprising amount of power to provide full 3D graphics, stereo sound, and backlit color to accompany its unique touch-screen control and dual display. When the price tags were compared, the DS came in around half the cost of the PSP and with a much better game title selection for Nintendo, the PSP sales became threatened.
Enter Nintendo DS Lite. It’s “iPod sexy” with the now familiar white with transparent plastic coating that makes it look almost pearly. There are no jagged protrusions or funny angles that made the old DS seem goofy and clumsy; everything fits in a tight little case. Even the stylus—larger now for a more natural pencil grip—fits in the side down the length-wise direction of the system. The buttons are the more responsive, rather than only having the D-pad and buttons recessed, the DS Lite has recessed the speakers and top screen lid; leaving plenty of room to maintain flat, and fit in a smooth case.
The system battery life is now a whopping 19 hrs. at lowest brightness level, with the same 4 hr. charge time (for those of you keeping score, that’s roughly 5 times longer than the longest PSP battery life).
As far as backward compatibility in games, the DS Lite still plays GBA games in the bottom slot; however, cartridges stick out slightly. Those who recall the original DS (which many of you should be pheaning for the new and improved so badly that you’ve stopped reading this article…wait…keep reading, but be making your way to the nearest video game pusher to trade up) remember the minor hassle of having to store a cartridge in the bottom slot to prevent crap from getting in the gaping hole, to be occupied by a GBA game. Guess what? The DS Lite has a perfectly matching cap for the GBA port on the bottom! That’s just the sort of extra effort Nintendo put into this piece of smooth.
The most noticeable and welcomed change came in the form of visual game display. The screen is much brighter (with 4 levels of brightness compared to the original light off/on) and the colors are more vibrant on both screens. It sounds like a minor upgrade, but you really notice the improvement to the game graphics with a brighter display.
Nintendo always comes to play, but now they’re starting to get the message from serious gamers; fun and unique games don’t have to come in an awkward package. Nintendo has found style and the next generation of systems can stand toe-to-toe with anything Sony or Microsoft care to dish out.
Short and Sweet: BUY THIS SYSTEM. It is flat out better than the old DS in every measurable way. Since it is cheaper than the PSP, but with a comparable aesthetic style, the “tie” goes to the system with actual game titles and quadruple the battery life.