I have been looking for a stylish yet practical case for my Nintendo DS Lite for a long time and when I found sfbags.com I knew my search was over. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present my new NDS Lite Case from Waterfield Design, a lightweight of leather and ballistic nylon at 85 grams and slim as can be with a mere 14.5 x 9 x 3 cm.
The ordering process was painless and the confirmation and shipping was prompt. The look and feel of the case is excellent and it has room for enough games, too. I read other reviews where people also put the charger in there but this is not possible I am afraid. The (EU) charger is just too bulky for this case to fit in. The pocket at the back could hold an USB charger cable, though.
I went with the Black, Kiwi/Pattern design and it looks great, although orange would have been even nicer. You can see the flap has two big buttons with which it closes the case firmly. On the front you have room for 3 cartridges and an extra stylus.
Some people wrote that you can put two cartridges in the front pocket but I would strongly advise against doing so, these front sleeves are not really made to hold 2 cartridges safely and you may end up damaging them, besides the case just gets too bulky for my taste if you try and squeeze in six games.
So why the extra stylus you ask? Honestly, it’s just a way to effectively use the space between the two flap buttons. I certainly do not need to carry a second stylus around with me but it doesn’t hurt either.
At the bottom of the case you see a pull tab in the middle which you may use when pulling your NDS out of the case. At the top, there are two small loops left and right of the bag where you could attach a carrying strap. Unfortunately, the case does not feature a belt clip, something future models may want to offer, maybe even as an optional feature like Tom Bihn does with his products. Also, more and different patterns on the flap to choose from would be another asset to further individualize this great case.
Now let’s get packin’ and load this baby up! Below you see my NDS Lite with memory pack, three cartridges in the front sleeves, the extra stylus, the rumble pack and 2 protective cases with 2 cartridges each, that makes a total of eight cartridges (one is already in the DS) I feel comfortable with packing in this case.
I could pack more (max: 18 Slot-1 cartridges; 6 front, 12 back) without the protective cases but I’d rather not, besides I’d like to leave some room for my earbuds, just in case. Alternatively you could also use the slide type protective sleeves from Hori and fit up to 10 Slot-1 cartridges in the back pocket that way. Let’s put the Nintendo in the case first, shall we?
The main compartment holding the DS Lite has soft, padded lining and fits just right for the Lite. Note the company’s logo is on the inside of the case, another nice detail. Since the compartment is an exact fit you may notice that the edges of the back of your DS Lite may get stuck if you do not slide it in or pull it oout evenly, the pull tap helps you here. What I did notice though is that you could accidentally switch your unit on when sliding it into the case.
The power switch, a small design flaw from Nintendo’s side, can get stuck on the edge of the case just enough to switch the DS on and if you are in a hurry to pack your DS away and e.g. get off the bus, well then your DS will be on standby… This just happened once and normally should not be an issue at all and if anything it is something Nintendo may want to address for future handheld devices.
Now let’s have a look at the back pocket. We still have a few things to pack!
As you can see the two protective cartridge cases (2 x 2 games) and the Slot-2 Rumble Pack fit exactly into the back pocket, unfortunately there is not enough space for 3 cartridge cases, unless as mentioned previously you go for the less bulky slide on type sleeves from Hori. if you wanted to push it you could put more cartridges in there but again the case will then become rather bulky and that is not good.
For me this is the optimal amount to pack this case with, once I can get my hands on the slide type sleeves from Hori I may up the cartridge count with this case to 10 and let’s face it, this case is a “daily use” case and not “I am going on a 2 week’s vacation and want to take all my games with me” travel case and as far as cases for daily use go, how often do you have need to carry more than 10 games with you for your DS?
So far, I am thoroughly impressed with this very stylish case. The material is high quality and you can see and feel that careful craftsmanship. Is there any downside? Not really, it is so far the perfect NDS Lite Case among all the cases I have looked at and tried. There are however one or two things that could be improved for a future model.
If you take a look at the picture to the right, the case flap closes the case alright, what it does not do is protect the NDS inside from dust, sand or other (tiny, sharp) objects that you may carry with you inside the same bag. Unlike other cases, this case does not “hermetically” seal your NDS against external forces. This could be remedied by adding either an extra zipper for the main compartment, a second flap or remove the 2 button solution and zip the front flap, too.
Regarding space there is little to no room for improvement since it is already used very efficiently. I for one could do without the extra stylus space but what would you put there instead. What I would have liked to see is 6 sleeves for 6 cartridges at the front instead of advertising that the three sleeves can hold up to 6 games. While they certainly can, no one will feel comfortable squeezing 6 cartridges in there.
Here’s an idea, the closing flap offers plenty of room for 3 additional cartridge sleeves. Should the guys at Waterfield decide at any point to whip up a successor to this awesome case, why not add sealed cartridge sleeves on the inside of the front flap next time and make the flap close the case “air tight”. Keep your games safe!
At last, cases are for carrying – you all agree, I guess. If you own a small or medium Café Bag from Tom Bihn then you are all set and put your NDS case in there. Alternatively you may want to take a look at the Vertigo bags from Waterfield. However, as far as carrying options go, this case would do well with a waist or shoulder strap or belt clip. Maybe an idea for the next case!
You can buy this baby online at www.sfbags.com for a mere $ 39.
- Very stylish! (comes in different colors, black, kiwi, pink)
- High quality material
- Superb craftsmanship
- Small, compact and functional design
- Sufficient storage room for Slot-1/2 cartridges and other accessories
(safe number: 14 Slot-1 cartridges, 3+1 in front, 10 in back pocket;
max: 18 Slot-1 cartridges without using protective sleeves)
- Front cartridge sleeves advertised to hold 6 cartridges while the safe number here is 3
- Closing Flap does not fully close the case on the sides
- No belt clip or carrying strap