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Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:41 am
by greenberet79
Now that I've ticked off the Vita and the PS3, my voyage into older systems picked up at a good price continues....

Which DS should I be looking at second hand? I did have an original DS way back when it was released, I'd prefer something newer and less bulky. I haven't kept up to date with the DS though - which model should I be keeping an eye out for??

Also, the obvious question, can they be modded?

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:04 am
by Antiriad2097
For less bulk, DS Lite is the way to go. Retains clamshell design to protect the screens and is a nice size to carry about if you don't want the bigger screens of the XL. Screen is still bright and sharp compared to modern systems.

Doesn't need modding, just need a flash cart to run homebrew or anything else. It's a perfect fit for ZXDS, with the screen res showing off Speccy games to great effect.

3DS may be an option, but I have no experience of those.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:12 am
by Matt_B
The DS Lite is still my top pick. Smaller than the original DS but wirh a bigger screen, phenomenally good battery life, and the GBA slot if you need it. They're common as muck, so cheap to pick up too. Flash carts give you access to emulators, homebrew, backups, etc. if you want to go down that route, but it's one of the cheaper systems to get original carts for too.

The DSi is almost as good, but loses the GBA slot for a load of now useless internet features. There are a few enhanced games but nothing really compelling.

The DSi XL is nice if you want a really big screen, otherwise same as the DSi.

The original DS is bottom of the pile by pretty much every metric. It does have a GBA slot though.

The 2/3DS is great for its native games, but has scaling issues and relatively poor battery life, so I wouldn't recommend it just for playing DS games.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:02 pm
by pratty
As already said the original DS probably isn't worth bothering with unless you can get one dirt cheap.

Of the DS models I'd personally opt for a DSi, or a DSi XL if the price/condition was right.

The best reason for the Lite is the GBA slot, so a lot depends how into GBA games you are. The mushy d-pad on the Lite can struggle with diagonals and he hinge on the Lite is quite prone to breaking, not sure if the DSi resolved the hinge issue. My assumption would be a used DSi/DSi XLwould be morely likely to be in better condition, it's the slightly newer system probably more likely owned buy an older gamer rather than a child.

Price wise you're roughly looking at £15-30 for a Lite, £25 to £45 for a DSi, and £40-75 for a DSi XL.

Since you can get a used 2DS for as cheap as £30 on ebay they might be worth considering. They don't fold to protect the screens but that benefit loses some appeal in the used market since most used DS and 3DS systems will already have wear and tear on the screens anyway. Condition alone would make me lean towards one of the 3DS/2DS models, I'd rather pay more for a younger and better condition system, plus then you can play 3DS games too and personally I'd rather play 3DS games than GBA.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:09 pm
by ALK
Worth noting that the hinges on DS Lite tend to crack under normal use so I would not only look out for that but be very careful with whatever used one you pick up.

Also check any DSi/DSi XL model you come across. The Internet features maybe gone but there's a small chance there might be some games already installed on the system. Nintendo did offer £10 free credit when they system first came out I believe, so there's a good chance of free goodies.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:17 pm
by RetroBob
Personally I'd go DS Lite because you can still play original GameBoy, GBC and GBA games. The DSi were nice but unless you want the bigger screens of the XL (I had one, but wasn't overly enamoured with it).

You're in for a damn treat, the DS has an incredible library and some really cooky thing that used the DS's features in inventive ways.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:49 pm
by Matt_B
The 2DS is a weird one. It's only got a single screen that is partially blanked out to make it look like two, hence the slab shape.

While it'll play all the same games, obviously bar games like Xenoblade that need the New 3DS, it's about as pocket-friendly as a Switch with Joycons attached.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:31 pm
by Megamixer
RetroBob wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:17 pm
Personally I'd go DS Lite because you can still play original GameBoy, GBC and GBA games. The DSi were nice but unless you want the bigger screens of the XL (I had one, but wasn't overly enamoured with it).
Only GBA games, mind. The older, bigger carts don't fit. If you are hardcore about playing all GB/GBC/GBA stuff then tracking down a backlit AGS-101 SP is the ideal option but they are expensive.

As for cracked hinges on the Lite, I had one and absolutely babied it - never dropped it or anything. The hinge still cracked and a small piece of plastic fell out of it.

I've still got my original launch DS (though the battery is probably no good now as I haven't charged it for years) and I will say this: it was definitely the most well-built and sturdy of the line with quality-feeling buttons. The Lite feels flimsy in comparison. Obviously though - as has been said - there's no way you would put up with the dullness of the screen in 2019, especially after playing the Vita. It's one of those where you thought nothing of it in the day but after using more modern handhelds (and smartphones!), the screens are just so dark on the OG DS.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:30 pm
by ALK
I think the screen quality on DS games played on a 2DS/3DS is not as good as on the Lite or DSi, I remember it looked darker or blur-ier. Think it might look a little better on the New models but I just recall what I saw trying out DS games on my launch 3DS.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:49 pm
by Matt_B
That's the scaling issue I referred to earlier. The DS screens are 192 pixels high versus 240 on the 2/3DS so there is no exact upscale. You've either got to live with large borders (less of an issue with the XL models) or a bit of blurring.

GBA games on the DS also have a border added but the screen is so much larger and, from the Lite onwards, brighter that it's still a better experience, for me at least.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:31 pm
by Antiriad2097
Megamixer wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:31 pm
RetroBob wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:17 pm
Personally I'd go DS Lite because you can still play original GameBoy, GBC and GBA games. The DSi were nice but unless you want the bigger screens of the XL (I had one, but wasn't overly enamoured with it).
Only GBA games, mind. The older, bigger carts don't fit. If you are hardcore about playing all GB/GBC/GBA stuff then tracking down a backlit AGS-101 SP is the ideal option but they are expensive.
You may not be able to slot a GB/GBC cart in, but you can emulate those systems very easily on the DS.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:31 pm
by RetroBob
Good point - I misspoke about GB and GBC being compatible on the the DS Lite.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:32 pm
by Matt_B
I'd have to think that there are good and bad batches of the Lite, as mine has practically clocked up more air miles than Chuck Yeager but still works fine. I won't dispute that others have managed to snap theirs just by looking at it though; there are plenty of such stories about.

If you want to play it safe, you can get cases that allow you to operate the clamshell but will minimize any stress on the hinge. I had one for the 3DS, which probably didn't need it for the hinge, but still saved it from a few chips and scrapes.

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:22 am
by kiwimike
I picked up a DS Lite to play my old GBA games in a cheap way with a decent screen, and didn't look back. It was mega cheap, especially as I bought a salmon/pink colour no one else wanted, but I didn't give a crap! Since then bought a few multicarts both GBA and DS, and it's just one of the best and versatile little handhelds, great games, good size and good screen

Re: Best DS in 2019?

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:19 pm
by gunbladelad
As others have said, a DS Lite is probably the best all-rounder you can get thanks to the GBA slot - but if you're not afraid of homebrew methods, you should be able to emulate most of them on any of the DSi or 3DS lines - but you'll need to look elsewhere for information on homebrewing those systems.