E3: DS Lite Hands-On

Nintendo,s DS Lite is scheduled for release on June 11th for the surprise price of $129.99 – the same price as the bulkier original DS. But while at E3 we had the opportunity to check out the unit before its official release date.

During our meanderings through the E3 convention halls, the Nintendo DS Lite exhibit caught my eye. I had almost walked by without noticing because the section in which the displays were showcased. It was in a subtly lit area, no doubt in order to enhance the visibility of the DS screens.

There were standup displays and several long tables of DS Lites. Each DS display unit was firmly bolted down to the table surface in order to prevent any pilferage. Upon reflection of the past event, they had nothing to worry about, at least as far as I was concerned. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I saw an opening at one of the long tables and sat down for my first close-up view of the DS Lite. The model I had before me was the "pearl white" color, destined for the U.S. Prior reports about the DS Lite,s diminutive dimensions were true. The device is about 1/3 smaller in comparison to the original. The two clam shell halves are much thinner than the bulgy old version. It is slightly smaller all the way around and reminds me of a rectangular candy bar.

A set of earphones was available and I put these on. I reset the DS Lite and the familiar musical notes chimed. I selected the Kirby DS game to play. After a few minutes of intense floating on the upper screen, it suddenly occurred to me that I was on the DS Lite, and not on a standard sized unit. This was rather surprising because the sharpness of the lower screen was supposed to be one of the improvements to the DS Lite. But just from casual playing, I could not discern any difference between the old and new. While the new DS has four new light intensities, I cannot say that this is as great a feature as I had expected. The luminance of the screen has improved but whether the cost of an additional $130 for this feature justifies the price is doubtful.

The DS Lite is certainly that-it has a smaller form factor and definitely weighs less. The ‘new, features of the machine offer a brighter screen, longer battery life, and possibly sharper graphics. I personally own a special edition Race Car Red Mario Kart DS. After seeing the DS Lite in person, I do not think that the upgrade to the DS Lite is justifiable when the features are considered. Besides this, it doesn,t look as cool as my Mario Kart DS, with all the racing stripes and decals.

Those who don,t already own a DS may get a better buzz off of the machine, but as far as veteran DS gamers go, hold on to your money and buy more games. You’re not missing anything special.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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