Is Nintendo 3DS Better Than DS Lite?

3DS Better Than DS Lite

Is Nintendo 3DS Better Than DS Lite?

Have you ever wondered how well the Nintendo 3DS stands against other handheld consoles? We have already written an in-depth comparison of the 3DS and DSi, but how does it compete with the DS Lite?

Well in this article, we are going to talk about 3DS vs DS Lite and see how well they go up against each other across different categories.

In this guide, we’ll talk about:

Let’s get started.

Nintendo 3DS vs. DS Lite: Compared Across All Categories 

Here’s a categorical comparison of the two great Nintendo handheld consoles.


The Nintendo 3DS, staying true to its name, has two screens. But it also comes with an extra feature, the top screen of the 3DS is a 3.53” 3D display that gives players a depth effect. This 3D display has a resolution of 800 x 240px, which makes it 400 x 240px for each eye. The bottom display is a resistive touchscreen with 340 x 240px resolution. 

The DS Lite, like its predecessors, comes with two LCDs, both 3.12-inches in size. They have a maximum resolution of 256 x 192px and pixel density of 103ppi, capable of displaying 262,144 colors. The bottom screen has a transparent analog touch sensor. Both screens have less peak brightness as compared to the 3DS.


The Nintendo 3DS has many games developed specifically for it, and on top of that you can play many new and all existing DSi games on it because it comes with support for all DSiWare games. All the original and downloadable games developed for the DSi are termed under DSiWare. So this brings up the 3DS game library to over 1350 titles.

DS Lite comes with support for all DS games, and it also has an extra slot for GBA games. Yes, the DS Lite can run all Game Boy Advance games. However, it doesn’t support DSi or 3DS games. If you enter a DSi game, it gives a notice. But it does not even read 3DS cards because it lacks the 3D hardware.


The 3DS has 10 buttons in total, arranged to form a very simple layout. The 3DS takes input from 4 lettered buttons (A, B, X, Y), 2 shoulder buttons (L,R), Start and Select buttons, a Power button and a Home button along with a D-Pad and an analog input called the Circle Pad. It also has a slider to turn on/off the 3D effect, along with a volume slider and a wireless switch.

The DS Lite takes input from a touch screen, 4 lettered buttons(A, B, X, Y), a directional control pad, 2 shoulder buttons (L, R), Start and Select buttons, a power switch and a volume slider. It does not have a Home button unlike the 3DS. It also comes with an included stylus that is 2mm thicker and 1cm longer than the stylus of the original DS.


The 3D feature of Nintendo 3DS allows gamers to capture 3D photos and videos. To pull this off, the handheld features two cameras placed outside the device and one above the top screen facing the user. All three cameras have a maximum resolution of 640x480p. These cameras are only capable of digital zoom with one-point focus. There is also a microphone placed at the bottom of the handheld.

With the DS Lite, Nintendo reduced features here and there to cut costs. These reduced features made sense because the launch price was lower, and the target audience was different with the “Lite” edition. Therefore the DS Lite came neither with any camera nor with any software feature using it.


In terms of hardware, the 3DS leaves the DS Lite in the dust. It is powered by a dual core 45nm ARM11 MPCore-based running at 268 MHz. Its graphics processor is also clocked at 268 MHz. Combine that with 128mbs of RAM, and you’ll have the smoothest gaming experience of your life. However, such power takes a toll on battery life, the handheld console only lasts 4-6 hours with 3D enabled.

The “Lite” theme follows throughout the console, the DS Lite is powered by two ARM processors, with clock speeds of 67 MHz and 33 MHz. It only comes with just 4mbs of RAM. The smaller CPU and less power usage means a smaller but efficient battery. By taking roughly three hours to fully charge, the Lite’s 1000mAh Lithium-ion battery lasts 15-19 hours.

Exterior Design

The first thing you notice when you hold a 3DS is it’s glossy shell. Some people like the look, some don’t, but one downside to having a glossy surface is that fingerprints are very noticeable which can be annoying at times. As of size, the 3DS has 135mm and 74mm of width and height respectively. It weighs 235g and has a thickness of 20mm. 

The DS Lite also features a glossy top finish, but it comes with many more colours as compared to the 3DS. It’s just a smidge thicker than the 3DS at 21.83mm. But the rest of the measurements are light, as it weighs just 218g and has width and height of 133mm and 73.9mm respectively.


The 3DS takes the crown when it comes to features. It has a 3D display, a motion sensor, and a gyroscope for three-dimensional gaming. It comes with eShop, an internet browser, and the Mii Maker. You can use the two external cameras to capture and share 3D pictures. It also comes with a feature to stream movies from Netflix. 

The DS Lite lacks a lot in terms of features, it has no 3D hardware so it does not support anything 3D, other than that it doesn’t have a SD card slot. Unlike the 3DS, where you can use a play store to download more apps on the console, on the DS Lite you can only use game cartridges and DS Download Play.


The 3DS did not come at a low price. It was launched for $249.99 back on 27th March, 2011. Nintendo discontinued the complete 3DS family 9 years later on 16th September, 2020. Now you can pick up 3DS for just $140.00 which is a lot less when compared to its original launch price.

The Nintendo DS Lite is a lot cheaper, and the low price tag is what makes it a compelling option. The DS Lite was launched for just $130.00 on 11th June, 2006. It was later discontinued 5 years later in April 2011. Today the DS Lite is available for just $90.00 which makes it a great value for money.

Both consoles are available on our website Retro vGames.

Overall Experience

The overall experience of the 3DS is unparalleled. Its games are visually better and run more smoothly. It packs more power with 32x RAM and a better CPU. It dominates the DS Lite with its features like 3D gaming with motion sensors and significantly more titles. It’s also ahead of the DS Lite in terms of software experience, combining all of these together, the 3DS gives you the gaming experience like no other handheld.

The DS Lite aims for a different category, it is a budget handheld console. So following that it has everything less when it comes to comparison with the 3DS. But it still manages to provide a good experience to those gamers, who just care about the nostalgic DS games without any bells and whistles.

FAQs About Nintendo 3DS and DS Lite

Let’s answer some of your frequently asked questions about Nintendo DS Lite & 3DS.

Is Nintendo DS Lite the same as 3DS?

No, DS Lite was the second iteration of Nintendo DS. It was a budget-friendly handheld. The 3DS is the second generation of handheld consoles. It packs significantly more power than the DS Lite.

Was the 3DS a failure?

Certainly not, Nintendo sold 75.93 million units of the 3DS console. It was not their best-selling handheld but the sales figures don’t show a failure.

Is it worth buying Nintendo DS Lite?

Yes, it is worth buying the Nintendo DS Lite because you get the gaming experience of DS games for far less price.

Why did Nintendo stop the 3DS?

Nintendo discontinued the complete 3DS family on 16th September, 2020. After the success of Nintendo Switch, the company most likely discontinued the 3DS lineup because it was no longer selling like it used to.

Our Verdict

Coming back to the original question, is Nintendo 3DS better than the DS Lite? Well of course it is. The 3DS was launched 5 years later. It has more improved and innovative technology. It is better than the DS Lite in every category except the price, and that is the only reason to buy the DS Lite, its significantly lower price tag makes it a convincing handheld to purchase.

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