Best Nintendo DS console to buy in 2024

The Nintendo DS line has a charm that cannot be matched and choosing the best Nintendo DS console in 2024 can be daunting despite not having that many variety of options available. However, each offers certain features that might suit your needs better. So, I’ll be ranking each model by my preference while giving the pros and cons for each one.

Every decision you make reflects your evaluation of who you are.

Marianne Williamson

3 - Nintendo DS (Phat)

While this version comes at a low price point, it lacks elegance compared to newer models. Also, you might be disappointed by the dimmer lights and quality of the screen when compared to other options.

However, it offers the advantage of backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance (GBA) games. If playing GBA games is a priority and other options are unavailable, this might be the choice for you.


  • Plays all Nintendo DS (not including DSi Ware) games and GBA games
  • Affordable price
  • Decent Battery Life (~10h)


  • Dimmer screens
  • Too clunky

2 - Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL

Best Nintendo DS console - Nintendo DS XL

Although most people see the DSi as an upgrade, I still prefer the previous iteration since we lost the capability of playing GBA games natively. Still, if I had to choose between them, I’d go for the DSi XL.


I’ve had one for a long time when I was a kid, and I loved it just for the big screen. It has lost some of its portability since then, but it’s still smaller than most handhelds these days.


It’s the perfect option for someone who just wants to play Nintendo DS games and DSi Ware and doesn’t care about GBA games. Unlike the other Nintendo DS (Original) and Nintendo DS Lite, this one comes with an SD slot, meaning you won’t need an R4 to expand your library of games. Still, if you’re thinking about it…



  • Bright, sharp screens (not as good as the DS Lite in my opinion)
  • Great battery life (13-17 hours for DS games, 4-5 hours for DSiWare and other software with screen brightness set to low)
  • SD card slot


  • Removed the GBA slot

1 - Nintendo DS Lite

Best Nintendo DS console - Nintendo DS XL

The Nintendo DS Lite represents everything right with a console revision. It does everything the Phat version does, but it’s much thinner, the battery life is longer, and both screens have improved brightness and clarity.


Although the screen size could be bigger, it’s still the console I prefer to play my original Nintendo DS games and even GBA games since it’s more comfortable to hold than a GameBoy Advance.


  • Great Battery Life (15-19 hours at the lowest battery setting, 5-8 hours at the highest battery setting)
  • Also Affordable
  • Bright, sharp screens
  • Slim design
  • GBA cartridge slot


  • Small screen

Bonus: New Nintendo 2DS XL

Best Nintendo DS console - Nintendo 3DS

What is a Nintendo 2DS XL doing on a list like this? Well, anything from the Nintendo 3DS line also runs Nintendo DS games, so it’s always something to consider. Plus, any GBA game you want to play, whether legitimately or not, will run natively on the console’s hardware, which is amazing.


Also, there are a ton of GameBoy and NES titles released on this console, meaning you’ll be able to play games from 5 different Nintendo systems.


As for the console hardware, it’s great. It doesn’t feel as premium as a New Nintendo 3DS, but the screens are big and bright, the controls are very responsive, and the circle pad comes in handy.



  • Plays games from 5 different Nintendo systems
  • Easy to mod
  • Big, bright screens
  • Great controls


  • It’s a bit plasticky


These were the best Nintendo DS consoles to consider buying in 2024! As you can see, each has its perks, and choosing the right one is all about finding the one that has the features you are looking for.


In my case, it’s the Nintendo DS Lite without a doubt, just for the ability to play GBA games! Let me know what your favorite is!

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I'm an Outsystems Developer from Portugal and Gamer By Mistake has been my little corner on the internet since 2017.

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