Well, I just got my DS Lite from Gameplay.com today. That extra pound for their first class delivery was definitely worth it because my DS Lite was dispatched around 6 last night (I was checking the status on the site) and it arrived this morning! Talk about quick delivery!
The first thing I done after opening the package was of course, do a quick comparison by playing a game of Mario Kart on both my original and new DSL. So far, I'm impressed by the staggering colour and screen difference.
Click "Read More" to view my little review.
Not only has the DS received a new Lite design but the packaging too. While the original was a slightly bigger and sturdier box, the box the DSL comes in is smaller and isn't as solid. The DSL doesn't come with the strap that the original did either. Other than that, the usual AC adapter, extra stylus and instruction booklets are there.
Colours are so much more vibrant that it takes a little getting used to at first. Once you've played on the new DSL and then go back to the original DS, you'll realize how the original's colours pale in comparison.
The DSL backlight has 4 levels of brightness with the lowest being at the same level as the original DS. This is controlled via the icon that turns the original DS backlight on or off. By default, the DS Lite is set on the third level of brightness and this is already really bright on the eyes. No need to say what the fourth level is like so there's no worries about the screens being too dark to see now. Obviously the brighter it is, the shorter the battery will last.
Screens on the DSL also have a better viewing angle now, a problem that comes with all LCD products. So if you like people watching you play, here's another reason to buy a DSL. You'll also notice that graphics look a little more sharper now too.
|Notice how my old 2MP camera managed to capture a slightly sharper image with the DSL (left) than with the original DS (right). We can see the DSL has better colour saturation and sharper graphics.|
I've noticed a slight change to the sound from the original DS. The DSL seems to have an improved surround sound effect but the sound quality seem to have degraded a little compared to the original. Sound seems to have a lower volume and are slightly fuzzier on the DSL while on the original, it was sharper and louder. At low volumes, you can hear the ticking sound of the built-in clock clearly on the original while you can't on the DSL. This maybe due to the change in the number and position of the speaker holes. Notice in the photo below that the DSL only has 6 holes on each side, positioned towards the center. The original has more than 3 times the number of holes packed on each side towards the bottom. However, the sound is much louder than the original when using earphones with the DSL.
There have been rumours from those who bought both the black and white versions of the DSL that, the white version has a looser build. While I don't have both to compare, I do find that some of the buttons such as the volume switch and D-Pad are fairly loose. However, they aren't loose enough to start shaking about when you're on the move or, bother you during gameplay.
The D-Pad and the "XYBA" buttons now all have a "spongey" feeling to them instead of the solid clicks of the original. You'll notice that the D-Pad has the same lines as the remote for Nintendo's Wii console. The Start and Select buttons on the other hand, retain the same clicky feeling however, but they have been moved to the bottom of the DSL and are small circular buttons. One more thing that you will have to get used to.
To the right of the DSL is where the slightly longer and thicker stylus is now stored. You'll also find the new sliding power switch there. For those of you who wonder if this new switch will cause your DSL to accidentally turn on inside your bag or pockets, the switch requires quite a push so there should be no worries there.
The microphone has also been moved to the center, in between the two screens.
The outside of the DSL has a smooth glossy coating and thanks to the white colour, you don't see the fingerprints and smudges like you do on the exclusive European black colour. Inside, there is a rougher matte finish to help with grips.
This was what really made me want to upgrade to a DS Lite. Since I travel to Asia every year or so, battery life on a portable console means a lot because the plane journeys are over 12 hours long. Not to mention the 4 hour stop at the Holland airport...
Anyway, the DSL contains a Lithium-Ion battery at 1000mAh, 150mAh bigger than the original DS' battery. According to Nintendo's site the battery should last the following amount of time at the corresponding brightness levels:
- Lowest (same as original DS): 15~19 hours.
- Low: 10~15 hours.
- High: 7~11 hours.
- Highest: 5~8 hours.
To test the battery, I decided to reset the data in Super Mario Kart and play through it in small approx. 1-2 hour sessions, taking a note of how long I played each time. The brightness was set to the second lowest level so it should last 10~15 hours.
After a number of sessions, the DSL finally turned red and looking back at my records, it managed to last a total of 15 hours before this happened! 7 hours longer than on my original DS. That's quite an increase in battery power considering the battery pack is only 15% bigger than the original. They must have redesigned the circuits to lower the power consumption or something.
In any case, great battery life!
* Note that this section was written after testing it for over 3 days before being editted in.
In the end, I'm pleased with the upgrade. Now I just need to order new screen protectors and a case for it.