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Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo DS Lite: £99

I doubt anyone would have predicted it at the console's launch, but Nintendo's DS hasn't just outsold the supposedly superior PSP - it has been the gaming phenomenon of the last five years, selling over 50 million units worldwide, with over four million of those units in the UK.

As with the Wii, its secret has been a combination of widespread appeal, intuitive touch screen controls and a simple fun factor. As Nintendo is pushing with the current TV adverts, the DS has something for everyone, from cosmopolitan young women to respectable sixty-something thesps. Your sister will like Nintendogs, your mum will like Brain Training and you'll like New Super Mario Bros. What's more, the DS plays host to some of the most interesting, different and innovative games around at the moment. Elite Beat Agents, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney might not be perfect, but each one gives you such an unusual game experience that you owe it to yourself to try them.

Of course, there's a lot of poor-quality shovelware and wretched licensed nonsense on the DS too, but Nintendo and the various Japanese third-parties have done some excellent work on the DS, and that's not going to dry up any time soon. What's more, the hardware has improved immeasurably since launch. The DS Lite has better, brighter screens, improved battery life and a much more stylish, high-tech design than the original model, and it's arguably a more attractive, friendly looking unit than the macho ‘boy's toy' PSP. And though Sony's system has the superior 3D firepower, the DS can still dish out some surprises: Metroid Prime: Hunters is probably the best FPS on a handheld, and Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass looks fabulous.

Frankly, this is the easiest call to make in this entire console run-down. If you don't yet own a DS and you have a sizable interest in gaming, then this Christmas is the ideal time to rectify your sad situation. And if you have a partner, close friend or family member in the same boat, then do the same for them. Whoever they are, they'll thank you for it.

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