DS Lite officially announced

Smaller, lighter DS arrives on March 2nd.

Nintendo has officially announced the widely anticipated redesigned version of the Nintendo DS handheld console, with a more compact version of the hardware, dubbed "DS Lite", set to arrive in Japan on March 2nd.

The system was quietly unveiled on Nintendo's Japanese website last night, with just one mock-up image of the console available, revealing a slightly sleeker and more streamlined version of the existing flip-top DS design.

DS Lite will come in at 133mm wide, 73.9mm high and 21.5mm deep, as compared to the proportions of the original DS which was 148.7mm wide, 84.7mm high and 28.9mm deep - which in real terms, means that it's 42 per cent smaller than the original DS.

The weight of the console has also been reduced, from 275g in the original model down to 215g in the new DS Lite, representing a drop of almost 21 per cent. Despite the smaller size of the unit, it's not thought that the screens themselves have dropped in size, although Nintendo doesn't appear to have made any official comment on this.

Aside from the smaller size and weight and the redesigned shell, the DS Lite has few functionality changes, confounding earlier reports from some commentators which suggested that it would add voice communication capabilities and even IP telephony.

The main new feature is an adjustable brightness setting for the screen, similar to the one offered by Sony's PlayStation Portable, which will allow users to flick between four different levels of brightness.

Some components have moved around on the new unit; the power button is not visible on the face of the machine and may have been moved to the side, while the microphone has moved to the hinge between the two screens.

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Nintendo DS Lite. Cheeky scamps.

Nintendo will launch the new system in Japan on March 2nd, priced at 16,800 Yen (118 Euro); which is marginally higher than the general retail price of the existing DS console at present (well, perhaps not at present - the stock shortages of the DS over New Year saw prices pushed to silly levels even on second hand units at some retailers).

Despite the widespread rumours of a redesign, the company has been remarkably secretive about the DS Lite so far - even with its own staff, with Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton telling Eurogamer two days ago that "we haven't got any plans at the moment - nothing I know of" when pressed on the question of a DS redesign.

He also said his staff would "probably throttle" him if they did have one to deal with. So, er, we wish him all the best with that.

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