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Pros / The long battery life and use of dual touch screens are ideal for any game type.

Cons / The handheld device lacks video quality and processing power.

 Verdict / The Nintendo DS Lite is ultra portable and offers a unique way of playing your favorite Nintendo titles.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.

The Nintendo DS Lite arrived to instant acclaim among handheld gaming consoles, having shaved off some weight, trimmed down its dimensions, extended its battery life and improved the brightness and durability of both the top and bottom LCD screens. The new and improved Nintendo DS Lite met with quick success that has continued even after the release of more advanced handheld game consoles.

Though the computer specs remain the same as the original Nintendo DS, the improved size translates to better performance and longer battery life, greatly benefiting game play and other media functions. The Nintendo DS Lite's impressive battery life is also one of greatest advantages over much of the competition. The longer battery life is due to the lower processing power and smaller screen size.

Touch screen capability is a must for any good handheld game console. Nintendogs is one of the DS's top selling games. It highlights the touch screen and built-in microphone capabilities of the Nintendo DS by allowing users to train, pet, play with and care for their virtual pet. The game also illustrates the potential of the Nintendo DS Network, which allows multiple users to link up and play together within an impressive, integrated network. The Nintendo DS Lite offers full backward compatibility with the GameBoy Advance. Nearly 600 game titles are available for the Nintendo DS, with additional titles available online through the Nintendo DS Network.

Nintendo's connection service can support up to 32 players at a time, giving friends and family a chance to engage one another in online, multi-player game play. Though the service remains free for users, Nintendo has since added additional services to its network that will carry a cost to the subscriber. These additional services include additional content downloads for selected titles and increased access to online-only game titles.

The Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection service connects friends using “Friend Codes,” which are unique codes you authenticate when you first go online. This measure provides a measure of privacy, while also enabling unique IDs for online game play. Nintendo has also taken steps to allow you to transfer your friend codes to a new Nintendo DS system in the event you make a new purchase or upgrade.

Though the Nintendo DS Lite is limited in its multimedia functions, its web browser does offer some respite. However, despite the multimedia limitations of standard Nintendo DS systems, Nintendo has developed several media accessories that increase potential multimedia uses for the Nintendo DS.

Using the same Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service as the Nintendo Wii, the Nintendo DS Lite transforms into an additional controller for the Wii without any additional accessories. You simply use the microphone and touch screen as command inputs for Wii games. The Nintendo Channel also enables Wii owners access to content downloads, demos and game expansions for their Nintendo DS Lite handheld game console.

Nintendo offers full telephone and email support for assistance with technical problems, as well as online chat services for repairs and a detailed FAQs section. Nintendo also offers a 12-month warranty for the Nintendo DS Lite handheld game console, which is one of the longest in the video game industry.

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Summary

Though the Nintendo DS Lite offers fewer multimedia features and is not quite as powerful as some of the other handheld game consoles we reviewed, its focus on game play, with unique tools and features like the dual-screens, touch pad and stylus, offer a unique gaming experience. Best of all, its battery performance sets the high water mark for the handheld video game console market. The video and graphic output certainly leave room for improvement, but with new features like built-in cameras and microphones, as well as improved graphic output and expanded multimedia slated for future redesigns, the Nintendo DS Lite makes a strong stand in the world of gaming.

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