Buyer's Guide: Nintendo DS Lite

DS LiteDS Lite - Double the screens, double the fun

Who's it best for?

DS Lite is fantastic for the younger gamer - the ideal first console. It's a very affordable piece of hardware, it comes in all kinds of colours so boys and girls alike can customise their gaming experience, and chances are very good that all their friends will also own a DS Lite - even if they have one of the other handhelds, too.

But the DS Lite's story doesn't end in the playground...

Best Bits

One screen, two screens, touchscreen
You probably know this already, but 'DS' stands for 'dual screen', and this is what makes the DS Lite so unique. The lower screen is touch sensitive, and comes with a stylus for controlling all kinds of games that have never been possible before. But DS Lite games make use of both screens to offer an experience you couldn't get on any other device.

Something for everyone (and anyone)
Nintendo might be child friendly, but the DS Lite's games range from cyber pets to virtual operating theatres, classic remakes of your favourite retro titles and horror survival games. Just as it's impossible to not chew a Fruit Pastel, it's impossible not to find a game that everyone and anyone will love on the DS Lite.

Upgrade all the way
Before the DS Lite was the original DS handheld console, and the Game Boy Advance before that. If you own either console and a library of their great games, the DS Lite is an essential upgrade. Not only does it play all the games from your previous devices, but the smaller, neater case, better battery life, bigger and brighter screens and variety of console colours rejuvenates the platform perfectly.

Worst Bits

Lite, and getting lighter
The DS Lite was a valuable facelift for Nintendo's handheld console, and it's not stopped there. While the DS Lite remains the most affordable handheld, it's gradually being replaced by the DSi - and there's another new model on the way, the DSi XLL.

An offline experience
The DS Lite does have wi-fi built in and makes great use of it for multiplayer games, but it's an older wi-fi standard that doesn't necessarily match up with all home networks these days, and limits its web browsing ability.

Lite on accessories
After you've bought a case and a replacement stylus, there really aren't all that many accessories for the technophiles out there who like to customise their gear.

Bonus Extras

Wii play together
Wii owners can enjoy a degree of connectivity with their DS Lite. Demo DS games and other new content can be downloaded using the Wii, then sent to the DS over a wi-fi link in a simple and seamless manner.

A colourful console
The DS Lite is available in a huge range of different colours. It might not sound all that important, but many gamers love the idea of co-ordinating their hardware with their personality. This is more than just a handheld games console - it's a fashion accessory!

Online Features

The DS Lite has wi-fi built in so you can get online, browse the web (note that a web browser cartridge is required for this) and play multiplayer games with friends around the world. It's also worth noting that the DS Lite makes substantial use of wi-fi for connecting DS Lites together locally, so there's no need to buy connecting cables or accessories when playing multiplayer games with people around you.

Getting started
You're going t need an internet connection and a wi-fi router as the DS Lite only connects through wi-fi. It's compatible with the WEP security system, so you'll need to make sure your router is setup accordingly, and that you've got your security key to hand.

What's great about the DS Lite is that every game that uses a wi-fi connection walks you through the very simple setup, and once you've done it, the connection details will be saved so you can just select it from a list next time.

What will you find online?
Once you're online you have access to a number of features and functions:

  • multiplayer games with friends around the world,
  • multiplayer games with friends in the same room,
  • safe web browsing (with parental control features),
  • share games and demos with friends,
  • send messages and pictures to other DS Lite users,
  • take your DS to participating stores to download game demos.

Essential Accessories

The point of a handheld console is that you're taking your games on the go, so accessories need to be chosen carefully - you don't want to be carrying a backpack full of clobber just so you can play a quick game of Mario on the bus.

But handhelds are more vulnerable in your pocket than consoles are when nestled safely under your TV, so tricking them out with just the right accessories is vital to keeping your DS Lite in top condition and ready for action.

  • Carry case: The single most important accessory for your DS Lite is a carry case. It's simply good sense to armour your hot new console while it's on the road with you - even when it's safely in your bag you've got keys and clutter scratching up its shiny case, so make sure it never goes out without its coat on.
  • Game cases: DS Lite game cartridges are nice and small, but that makes it all the more important to have somewhere to put them - both for protection, and to make sure they don't get lost. Our GAMEware Cartridge Cases keep your DS Lite games together, keep them safe, and keep them convenient.
  • Spare/replacement stylus: Practically all DS Lite games rely on the use of a stylus for operating the touchscreen. Lose it while you're out and you could find yourself without any games to play, so a spare stylus is always a great idea.
  • Car charger: On the road much? The DS Lite is a great companion for when you take a break from driving (maybe to play one of the many awesome DS driving games?), so having a car charger in the glove box means you'll never run out of gaming juice.

We've talked a lot about cases here, for the console and the games, but look around at our selection to see which suits you best. A neat wallet, or something bigger that'll hold your DS Lite, some games and a charger? Decide what you want to carry, and get the right case.

You'll find GAME's full range of DS Lite accessories here.


The benefit of an established game system like the DS Lite is the sheer volume of available games. Right now, the DS enjoys a catalogue of over 3000 superb games, and can provide an entertaining learning experience or a hardcore arcade adventure.

Parents should note that games like Brain Training are especially effective for younger gamers, since it's not only educational, but it's immense fun too - kids won't be able to put it down (and chances are, neither will you!).


Yes, this is very much a handheld for kids, but it's in no way limited to the younger player. This is the ideal first game system for anyone, and still offers enough to keep the experience and hardcore player glued to its dual screens. Regardless of what other game system you have - or if you've never owned one before - the DS Lite is a must-have handheld.

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