July 27th, 2006, 19:01 Posted By: wraggster
The Nintendo DS Lite may be one of the sleekest and sexiest handheld systems the company has ever released, but that doesn't mean it's the most durable. Or even unsusceptible to defects or design issues. The system has only been on the market for a little more than a month now in the US -- add another couple of months to that thanks to the earlier launch of the system in Japan. And in that time, tiny issues have sprouted up from the purchasers of the first generation units.
Don't consider yourself lucky if you've escaped the wrath of these defects with a pristine Nintendo DS system - perfection is the way it should be, and the chances are high that a perfect system is what you'll get. Status quo. Instead, consider yourself unlucky if you happen to find one or more of these symptoms in your handheld unit.
If you feel that you do have a defect, Nintendo of America's customer service is notoriously top-notch. Representatives will do everything in their power to make sure you're happy with your purchase, and if you do end up with a problematic Nintendo DS Lite system under its 12-month warranty. If it breaks on your own accord, you may be required to pay a repair fee. Contact information for Nintendo's customer service is located on the bottom of your Nintendo DS system.
Symptom: Dead pixels on one or both screens
Description: This is easily the most common of the handheld market, and it's not solely an issue with the Nintendo DS. Any LCD display is susceptible to an always off or always on pixel in its display, a defect that slips through the quality assurance check at the LCD manufacturing plant. The Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance SP, and PSP have had this issue since they hit the market - cellphone, computer desktop PC, and HDTV LCDs are also at risk.
"Dead" pixels can be black, white, red, green, blue - essentially a "dead" pixel is one where one of the millions of dots on the screen remains on or off even when it's supposed to be a specific color. They're noticeable on a very white or very black image, but stick out like a sore thumb because they don't move when the image does.
Recommendation: It's all depending on your tolerance for unmoving tiny dots, and where the dead pixel is located on the screen. Contact Nintendo's customer service if the pixel gets unnerving and distracting, or you have more than one to deal with.
Symptom: Cracked hinge.
Description: On the external portion of the Nintendo DS Lite system, a single - but obvious - crack will form along the hinge. According to sources, this is caused by an overtightening in the Nintendo DS Lite manufacturing process. It's a common defect, but in the swing of things, it's an uncommon occurrence.
Recommendation: The crack is only cosmetic on the plastic surrounding the hinge mechanism - it doesn't affect the integrity of the hinge itself. If the crack really affects you in a Tony Shaloub's Monk sort of way, then Nintendo will replace your system if you contact them.
Symptom: D-Pad has weak diagonals.
Description: The D-pad has four internal contact switches: up, down, left and right. In order for Nintendo DS games to recognize a diagonal direction from your thumb, it has to press two contacts at the same time: up + right, up + left, down + right, down + left. The Nintendo DS Lite system seems to require a little more pressure to activate a diagonal direction. If you let up on the pressure, even if the D-pad is still pressed into the system, your on-screen character may end up just going in one of the up/down/left/right directions.
Recommendation: Unfortunately, this is just the way the DS Lite's D-pad was built. Most of our systems have this issue. One of our systems in particular feels like it has a physical abnormality inside of the unit that causes a plastic-against-plastic "pop" effect. This is the extreme case - if your D-pad "pops," contact Nintendo for a replacement. Otherwise, just learn to press more firmly for the diagonals.
Symptom: Shifting Touch-screen
Description: Pressing on the corners or edges of the Nintendo DS touch screen will cause the panel to slightly "give" under the thumb. It's a slight, insignificant, but noticeable shift.
Recommendation: It's a harmless "settling" of the touch screen panel over the LCD screen that you shouldn't be concerned about. Though we've had a touch screen that eventually lost its sensitivity and it had to be replaced. If your Picto-Chat sessions start getting all screwy and scribbly that's not due to your lousy penmanship, contact Nintendo for a replacement/repair.
Symptom: Yellowish screen.
Description: One of the screens has a slightly yellower tint than the other.
Recommendation: Live with it. This is something that's only noticeable on bright white screens - like, say, the boot up screen where it displays the Nintendo DS logo and the Seizure warning on a flat white screen where you can compare the two displays on the same level. Two of our DS Lite systems have the differing coloration, but we only noticed it when a reader asked if we had the problem. Unless there's a drastic difference in contrast, you shouldn't worry.
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