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Nintendo DS Web Browser (Opera 8.5 Powered)
Section: Game Reviews

I recently had the chance to pickup a Nintendo DS Web Browser, and wanted to have a review / brain bump available on this device.

The DS Web Browser was created with the support of Opera 8.5, and there is a forum community @ Opera, that contains some good information and experiences with this device. I also opted to make a subdomain @ for easy DS Browsing, and swift 'Info Get!'.

Let me say this now... if you think the DS Web Browser will load pages in a similar speed to a PC, you will be disapointed, as this was not the intention. This device is intended for text-based, and moderate image browsing. Unsupported common web formats are Java (JavaScript is OK) and Flash, while you might feel this is limited, keep in mind how many sites currently load advertisements in Flash, and the scope of Java plugins. I have found my DS a better choice to investigate some shady web pages.

There have been many reviews that trash this device for the lack of flash support, and slow performance loading pages completely built of images. I side on the supportive tip, as making a web browser for a handheld, that uses the Touch Screen so dynamically, makes the web browser non-rigid to use. There are 2 modes of browsing that the DS operates in:
SSR Mode - This mode basically removes all formatting of a webpage, and scrolls the page down both screens. This mode is a good choice when on forums, and news sites.
DS Mode - In DS Mode, one display (Switchable via the 'X' button or toolbar) shows the full page in it's orignal format with a dragable 'Zoom' Box, while the second screen is a magnified display of the focused window. This mode is handy when browsing standard pages, where you are looking for a link, image, login, ect.

Currently, there is only the Japanese Import version of the DS Web Browser available for purchase. While this may sound akward, the interface is quite easy to use, and the language barrier is broken after the first hour or 2 of tinkering, not to mention the entire Preferences menu has been translated to English. For the record, the input On-Screen Keyboard is completely in English, and can be changed in your Preferences. The Toolbar icons, could not be more simplistic IMO, and detailed info is in the linked forum topic.

While Java applications and Flash are not supported in this version, you can use CGI, and Javascript based applications to do things like Instant Messaging, Remote Desktop Administration via, Router and other Secure Page logins. If you like to tinker, and find yourself browsing the web on your couch, yet wishing you did not have a laptop on you, the DS Browser might be right up your alley.

The DS Browser is like an Atari Web Browser, my reason for this is because, with the exclusion of bookmarks, cookies, cache, browsing history, ect, are reset when you reset or power down your DS. Some folks may not like having to re-login to forums and such, but I feel this keeps the browser far more secure then your nomal PC, since all cookies and such, are purged before you start your next web session.

In summary, if you would like the ability to browse the web on your DS, start some MP3's on your PC remotely, administer routers, secure websites, and of course, check out handheld pr0n, you should be happy importing a DS Web Browser. Just be sure not to think you can play flash games, load Java Applets, or download application to the DS Memory.

This device has worked at every Hotel and wireless LAN I have visited in the last month. If you would like to import one for yourself, goto Play-Asia or Lik-Sang.


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