We have a few systems. Other than PC's, the DS is actually our 2nd most-owned system. I know it's not really a console, but considering the prices of handheld systems now, and the expansive libraries they have, I consider them to be in that category. With the 3DS and Vita ringing in at $250 and the Wii and Xbox 360 cheaper, I think it's fair.
Now unfortunately, I do not have a 3DS. Technically, I don't have any DS systems, because my kids each have one (two lites and DSi). Still, I do get the play them and I definitely have some thoughts on these.
First, I love the library of games. Between the franchise sweethearts like Zelda, Mario and more to the downloadable content the DSi and later have access to, and the myriad of old-school RPGs that I absolutely love to play - there's a good collection here. The controls are unique and intuitive. I will be honest, my personal preference is a controller to the touchscreen overall, but in some games it does work really, really well.
The fact that your gaming is on the go is of course the primary selling point. I also have to give these things pretty decent credit for durability. Decent, not great. My youngest has had the same problem on her unit (bad cartridge port) twice, and my son once dropped his on the ground, Nerf armor and all, and it cracked the screen even though it was closed and landed on its side. Then again, those units have been dropped tons of times and still hold up, and my oldest has had hers since the beginning and it's in great working shape.
There are some downsides though as well. The screens are a bit small and hard to see - especially in a brightly lit room. The very nature of using an item to touch and drag across the screen scratches and scuffs it over time. The sound and video are a bit weak, even compared to another handheld like the PSP.
It's really not the system of choice either, when the kids have other options. My son will play a full console or my PC before playing his DS. My youngest will also. My wife and I fall into that category as well. It's not unanimous however - my oldest actually prefers her DS to any of the consoles and it is runner up only to her PC - and she uses it for Facebook and writing - not gaming.
There's really not much of an online presence for playing online either for their units. In fact the DS Lites can't even get online here because of our router encryption type, though my son's DSi can.
One last problem is the way the data saves to the games instead of the unity memory. This makes it impossible for the kids to share a game like Pokemon Diamond, because they are only able to have one save file, no matter whose DS it is being played on. That's caused several problems in the past unfortunately when someone bought a game and realized there weren't enough save slots to go around.
Favorite Games for the System so far:
- Final Fantasy Tactcis A@ - Grimoir of the Rift
- Final Fantasy XII - Revnant Wings
- Zelda Phantom Hourglass
- Great selection of games
- Unique interface
- Weak audo/video
- Data saves to games, not memory
- Minimal online presence