Nintendo DS: lots of fun but flawed design

My DS broke!

I have had the Nintendo DS lite for over one and a half year now and played some really fun games mostly during traveling or waiting for the train/bus to come. As a hand held console I really found it heaps of fun but what disappoints me is the build quality.

I know from cellular clamshells and notebooks that hinges are very prone to failure and should be of good quality especially if it also gets into the hands of the ‘not so careful’ kids. I know that back in the days when I was a kid and I had the old ‘grey brick’ gameboy it had to endure a lot but did not fail. The Nintendo DS however did fail in my careful adult hands. It first started a half year ago with a small crack on the right hinge which gradually grew bigger.

Right hinge failure Nintendo DS LiteFailure right hinge inside

Then the left hinge also started to crack resulting in poor stability and screen malfunctioning during hinging.

Left hinge failure Nintendo DS Lite

I have to press that at no time my Nintendo DS ever hit the ground or was abused, just normal use to pass the time during my daily traveling. By the time I contacted Nintendo helpdesk about this, I was 1 month past my 1 year warranty and they could replace the unit if I’d cough up 90 euro’s (and know that a new one costs 120 euro’s in other words the damage/value ratio is way off making it a bad offer). Which really annoyed me because its clearly a flaw on their end, since the main audience is kids which are likely to be less careful then me. Anyways I’ll probably put it up on ebay, it still works fine for now, but any more hinging and the thing might come lose. A big thumb down for Nintendo on that part.

Overview of failure Nintendo DS Lite

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2 Comments on “Nintendo DS: lots of fun but flawed design”

  1. Did you ever get anywhere with Nintendo with this. This seems to be happening to a LOT of people. I’m at the same time-period as you, about 18months, and my right hinge developed the same crack, and has now broken off altogether.

    I’m too old to admit my age on the ‘net, let’s say it’s quite a bit beyond 21, and I’m certainly not a kid anymore. These devices are expensive, and I treated mine with the upmost respect.

    It died through proper use, starting out as a known defect! Nintendo want to charge me the higher “MISUSE” fee. This isn’t on. In the UK we have the “Sale of Goods Act” which specifies that items must be of a suitable quality, and as such, if they weren’t cheap, and were properly used, last a reasonable amount of time. I’d expect a MINIMUM of a couple of years of very careful use. (And yes, I know that, strictly speaking, the sale of goods act applies to the retailer who sold the device, but to some extent that’s moot — Nintendo really should be addressing this given it’s a manufacturing defect.)

    So I’m pushing this matter with Nintendo, and will be a royal pain in their arse about it until they at least reach a compromise.

  2. fl0g says:

    I sold mine on e-bay, didn’t want to waste much time over it since I didn’t use it anymore. In your case you should be able, with some persistence, to get a new one, since supposedly Nintendo is one of the more customer service friendly company’s out there.
    As a backup solution you could try installing (partially) a replacement case (for example this one: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8696) however this is a tedious job.
    Good luck!


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