The most obvious difference between your regular DS and a DS Lite is the size and weight. The Lite is smaller, more compact, and weighs less. Thankfully the screens are exactly the same size though, so you won’t be hindered from playing games. There are a few other cosmetic changes, most obviously the casing. Lites come (at the moment) in White or Black, and have a clear plastic-rubber like ‘casing’ giving it a nice shiny look. This casing also seems to be more resistant to scratches and scuffing than the normal plastic casing of the Original DS. The logo on the Original DS has also been replaced with the simpler two rectangles logo (representing the two screens of the DS).
Now this is all very nice but has little effect on the user or gameplay. Well, you’ll be glad to hear there are some changes that make the DS easier and better to use. First up, the power button is no longer above the D-Pad, so no more worrying about accidentally hitting it while playing. It’s now on the right side of the unit, and is a switch, much like the PSP power switch, that you flick up to turn the unit on or off. The power lights have also moved, no longer on the bottom right corner (and often obscured from view by your right hand), but on the right ‘hinge’ of the unit (between the two ‘halves’ of the unit when it’s opened up). This is a welcome change as it’s more obvious when the unit is running low on juice. The final adjustment is the stylus holder has been relocated by necessity. The DS Lite is too small to fit the stylus vertically down the unit as the Original DS had, so the stylus now pops out of the right side, just below the power switch, and runs horizontally along the back of the unit.
Upon opening up the unit, the buttons are all a little different. For a start, they seem to be raised more, so they’re more visible and prominent. The Start and Select buttons have also been moved to the bottom of the right side, under the main action buttons, and are now small circular buttons, which does make them slightly harder to find and press than on the Original DS.
Switching on the Lite you’ll be greeted with a very bright screen. While the Original DS gave you the option of turning the backlight on or off, off was not recommended because you’d usually spend the next five minutes trying to hit the ‘on’ icon as you couldn’t see a thing. The Lite however, has four settings for brightness. The lowest still makes things visible, but things are less bright than the Original DS with the backlight on. The second setting is about the same as an Original DS with backlight, the third is about as bright as you’ll ever need, and the highest level is liable to burn your eyes after more than a few minutes! The Lites battery supposedly lasts up to 18 hours on the lowest brightness, and up to 8 on the highest, but considering you’ll probably never need to go higher than the third setting (and using a little maths), I’m guessing the Lite should last you at least 11 hours fully charged, whereas the Original DS could apparently last up to 10. So a definite improvement, and if you stick to the second brightness setting, which is roughly the same as the Original DS, you should get a further improvement. Using the brighter setting, games look more vivid and bright, and everything looks clearer. Even your GameBoy Advance games will never have looked so vibrant.
The speakers also seem to be better too. Nothing really sounds ‘better’, but I had noticed my Original DS would crackle slightly on the lower volume settings, something that doesn’t seem to happen with the Lite.
Ergonomically, the Lite suffers many of the problems the Original DS did. Although I find it more comfortable, the shape is still not best suited to long playing, and although the corners aren’t so jagged and don’t ‘bite’ your hands so much, the unit is smaller than the Original DS, which could pose a problem to those with larger hands. However, I do find the Lite more comfortable than the Original DS, but it’s not a vast improvement, and it probably should have been a more significant step forward.
In conclusion though, I do prefer the Lite. The brighter screen really does make a difference, there is some extra comfort, although not enough in my book and there’s the obvious size and weight advantage, which wasn’t really an issue for me as the Original DS was small and light enough for me, but it is an added bonus I suppose. The only problem I have is that there’s no wrist / thumb strap included with the Lite, where the Original DS had one, which was very handy for Metroid Prime: Hunters, although I’ll readily admit I can’t see many other genres aside from shooters needing to use it. Still, a bit of an irritant.
But despite preferring the Lite, I can’t say I think it’s worth the extra cash if you already own a DS. If I’d shelled out full price for the Lite, I wouldn’t be particularly happy with the improvements, as I don’t feel they’re worth paying that much extra for. However, for the price I paid, I’m happy with the improvements and feel it was worthwhile.
If you’re looking at upgrading to a Lite, or even just wondering whether to buy an Original DS or a DS Lite for the first time, I hope this post has proved somewhat useful to you.
Although i hear japan has the navy blue model. One thats immensely desireable and rare in the west.
That said i was itching to get my hands on the limited edition THQ WH40K promotional one. Wish i got my hands on one. I would have been flauntting it like i was a god.
Oh, and also, one of those Argos-exclusive travel pack-things, which isn't really bad value. Still, I got a Christmas present I really wanted this year. :)
Must say, I'm really impressed with the quality and ease of the Zelda control system. I never would have thought it could work so well using only the stylus. I just need to get used to holding the stylus in a certain way so that my hand doesn't obscure the path ahead. I have seen longer stylus' available to buy, which could be another option - does anyone own one? Or, have you tried one?
I did fear that there was a fault with my DS Lite not long after playing Mario when the lower screen would not respond to the stylus... Until I got my left thumb off the screen!! ;D
I cannot compare this with the original DS but, now that I own one, I honestly don't know I hadn't decided to get one sooner.
Looks like a good time of year to get a new console, with all the sales coming up. You already know the two games I own - has any one else seen any good offers so far on DS games in the sales?
I'm thining Wario Ware, Chibi Robo, StarFox, more Mario, etc.
Hope you've all had a good Christmas! :)
After buying a white DS Lite for my nan with Brain Training for £88 in Virgin/Zavvi, I've started wanting a DS Lite myself...