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Nintendo DS Lite

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Written by Gary F on Friday, June 02 2006

The new offering from Nintendo is very pretty, but that beauty may cost you your hands.
The new DS Lite is lighter, brighter and has a much longer battery life then its older counterpart, but it’s the finish on its case that may be its downfall.

First off, the screen looks amazing. The new system has the same brightness as the original DS at its darkest setting. Then, the screen has three additional stages of brightness beyond that. Brightness level two impressed me, three astounded me. This was where I kept my DS for most of my play time, and it looked amazing. Level four blinded me but I imagine it would be just right for some gamers out there. The added brightness made several games just look better. Metroid Prime: Hunters on the new DS looked gorgeous, very similar to its Gamecube counterpart. I recall at one point racing against my cousin in Mario Kart DS, and looking over as his screen as he played on my old DS, and wondering if he was even on the same track as me. We were on a track from the SNES version of the game. He raced on a brown sea of muddled textures as I raced on the track from the original Mario Kart, faithfully recreated like the SNES original. This is truly something you need to see for yourself as even the pictures can’t describe how good this new unit looks in person.

The controls on the new DS are a mixed bag. The face buttons although smaller feel quite nice. They move further then the old DS and have more of a ‘I’m pressing a button’ feeling that all to absent from the original DS. The D-pad however, also got smaller and lost its own feeling. This works well for games that don’t require a lot of past inputs via the d-pad, but for action or fighting games, this pad may prove to be more of a nuisance then an improvement. The shoulder buttons are also considerably smaller, but are positioned in such a place that makes it easy to press. All and all, the new DS has fine control scheme despite the reduction in size.

Battery life on the new DS is stated to be almost 15 hours on the lowest brightness setting, although I doubt you’ll be playing at the lowest setting very often. My DS has not left the third brightness setting and the machine works for a comfortable 8 hours. This is almost exactly the same as the battery life on my old DS. But if I could bring myself to put it back down to the original DS’s brightness, the lowest setting, I imagine that I would see a marked improvement in battery life.

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