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Nintendo DS review

The best selling handheld games console of all time, but is the Nintendo DS still worth picking up in the era of the Switch?

Nintendo DS review
(Image: © Nintendo)

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a cheap handheld with a great library of games, the Nintendo DS is still a great choice. Its graphics pale in comparison to the Switch, but so does the price.

For

  • Portable
  • Fantastic games library

Against

  • Old hardware

When you talk about the best video game consoles of all time, the Nintendo DS has to be in the conversation. It launched in 2004 to immediate critical and commercial success, going on to be the second best selling games console of all time just behind the PS2. The Nintendo DS was a console of firsts. It was the first games console to feature a dual-screen set-up, the first to use a touchpad, and the first handheld to feature internet connectivity.

The PSP faced stiff competition from the PSP, back when Sony was actively trying to push into the handheld market, but it still managed to sell a staggering 154 million units, with 77 million sales going to the original model and a further 77 million sales for the Nintendo DS Lite, the smaller, lighter revision.

The Nintendo DS Lite shaved down a lot of the bulk, size, and weight from the original DS and added some much needed durability improvements to the touch screens. These days, if you are looking to pick up one of these retro handhelds then you’ll probably have more luck trying to find a DS Lite, as these are still on sale at Amazon and a few other retailers.

Though the computer specs remained the same from the original Nintendo DS, the improved size translated to better performance and longer battery life, greatly benefiting game play and other media functions. Along with its economical price point, the Nintendo DS Lite also maintained an edge over the PSP Slim and Lite 2000/3000 with its impressive battery life and performance.

Nintendo DS Lite

The Nintendo DS Lite was the smaller revision, which lost the weight but kept the same hardware. (Image credit: Nintendo)

On the games front, the Nintendo DS was stacked with classic titles that are still worth playing today: Mario Kart DS, Advance Wars : Dual Strike, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Pokemon Black and White - the list goes on and on.

However, though Nintendo DS Lite gave the video game console some headway over the PSP in terms of battery life and dimensions, the PSP Slim and Lite offered the same video power the PSP offered, but with less weight and slighter dimensions, making improvements all around.

Though the Nintendo DS offers less multimedia features than the PSP console, its focus on gameplay, with unique tools and features like the dual-screens, touch pad and stylus offer a unique gaming experience for users. Best of all, its battery performance sets the high water mark for the handheld video game console market. 

Should I buy the Nintendo DS?

if you want a great handheld games console with an extensive library of great games, but don't want to spend more than a $100 then the Nintendo DS is still a decent choice. If you're looking for a fantastic modern handheld though, we recommend the Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite.