The Start and Select buttons have been moved from above the Y, X, A and B buttons, to below them. This allegedly makes them more easily accessible, but I’m not convinced that it makes much difference either way. Finally the power button that resides above the D-pad on the original DS has gone completely on the Lite, replaced by a sliding power switch on the right hand edge – definitely a far more elegant solution.
Talking of elegance, there’s no gaping hole at the front of the DS Lite. The original DS had a large hole at the front for inserting GameBoy Advance cartridges, but it was prone to collecting dust and debris when you weren’t playing a GBA game. That’s not to say that the DS Lite can’t handle GBA cartridges because it can. It’s just that this time around Nintendo has seen fit to provide a blanker in order to stop dust ingress and make sure that the clean lines remain uninterrupted. Of course those lines are spoiled when you insert a GBA cartridge since it will protrude from the front of the case, but then I don’t find myself playing GBA games that often on my DS anyway.
Just like on the original DS, the GBA cartridge slot is flanked by the sliding volume control on the left and the headphone socket on the right. The microphone has also been moved from the front of the casing and now resides at the centre of the hinging mechanism between the two screens.
Despite being smaller than the original DS – Nintendo claims that the Lite is less than two thirds the size – and lighter by approximately 20 per cent, the stylus is larger, both in length and diameter. The stylus on the DS Lite slides out of the right side of the casing rather than the rear as with the original. The extra length and girth of the new stylus really does make it easier to hold and consequently easier to control your games.
The two shoulder buttons are of course in the same place, and although they don’t posses as much travel as the examples on the original DS, they do exhibit a reassuring click when pressed, while the originals were a little bit woolly when it came to feedback. The DS cartridge slot at the rear is pretty much identical to the older model – pressing the cartridge in locks it in place, while pressing it again will eject it.