Monday, March 5, 2007

Review: Soft Jacket ADV from Capdase for Nintendo DS Lite

Ever get frustrated that there is not much choices available for protection of your DSL? Or just plain ole “ihateshardcase”? There are various casing designs available in the market available for NDS. There is silicon casing which encompass the whole DS, there is also a hard cover casing which protects just the outside of the DS, giving the DS another shell. But what if you want a silicon soft casing which covers only the outside of the DS? And don’t feel cheap?

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the Soft Jacket ADV. Made out of the combination of silicon cover and a semi rigid frame. The Soft Jacket provides the DS with a perfectly soft cover on the top of the DS and a rigid frame to hold the shell onto the DS. Many silicon cases that is in the market has one problem. They requires slip on and wrap the DS in a cocoon of silicon. This gives full protection for the DS, but most users found one minor tiny wittle problem with this design. The DS cannot clamp down perfectly as the silicon prevents the DS from closing tightly which thus defeats the whole purposes of protection as dust gets into the DS easily (phew, that’s a mouthful). There is also a problem with the full body silicon ( It looks a lot like condom ). The silicon tends to either be too loose or too tight on the inside of the DS control pad. And after various pounding and button mashing on the DS, the player’s sweat will eventually seep in. Put that in a cocoon of silicon and you get one hell of a dirty DS despite the fact it’s “protected”.

To avoid this entire problem, Soft Jacket ADV has taken the smart way out. Not protecting the control pad. Instead, the Soft Jacket ADV is more like a casing for the DS. It protects the outside of the DS while leaving the inside of the DS virtually untouched. Totally bypassing the whole “can’t close DS problem”. Smart aren’t they? Furthermore, for those that have been itching to get the hard shell casing for their DS but do not like the feel of plastic casing, the Soft Jacket ADV might just solve that problem. The casing itself is more or less made out of very thick silicon. It doesn’t feel like just a layer of skin on top of the DS. It feels more like a layer of very thick silicon on top of the DS. And the silicon is soft and comfortable to hold onto ( And your hand can’t sweat when holding it, I have no idea why).

The side of the Soft Jacket is made out semi rigid frame which keeps the jacket fit snugly onto the DS. The semi rigid frame snaps onto the DS easily. And when it does snap on, it clings onto the DS tightly. This though brings onto a few problems for the user. I tried to remove the Soft Jacket a few times. And the impression I get is, if I do not remove this carefully and gently, I might rip the casing into two. This is because the frame gives me the false sense that the whole Jacket is rigid, but upon forcing the frame out, it would suddenly dawn on me that the frame is made out of soft silicon!

Then there is another problem, the whole semi rigid frame is quite an interesting concept, but after holding onto the DS for quite some time, I realize that they should have made the side of the frame which clings onto the DS to be on softer edge and maybe dull the edge a bit. This is because the frame itself cuts into my hand from the weight of the DS. Its nothing much of a biggie and I manage to ignore it after a while. But still, the sharp edge gets on my nerve. Then there is the hole for buttons. The volume control and the power control button is slightly hard to access if you do not have finger nail as its located deep inside the casing, ( that’s how thick the casing is)

The back of the soft jacket also provides one problem. As the DS opens, the rubber edge between the top cover and the bottom cover will expand out. But after the cover is open for more then 135 degree the hinge can go no more as the silicon jacket sleeve will get stuck. Some might say this is a blessing in disguise because of the whole crack hinge issue. As the sleeve of the jacket prevents the user from opening the maw of the DS too large, this in turn prevents the whole cracked hinge issue from happening. Good design you say? Dumb luck I say.

The good folks at Capdase have also designed the Soft Jacket Advance to come with 3 cover for the DS port. One cover is for the power port, one cover for the slot 2 cartridge’s port and one more cover for the microphone/headphone cover. It’s quite a thoughtful gesture of them to provide those cover. But I would be more grateful if they have provided a cover for Slot 1 cartridge.


All in all, my conclusion for this Soft Jacket ADV is that, the cover is a perfectly good silicon jacket. It provides protection for all the vital part outside the DS and the installation is easy as the jacket only needs to be snapped onto the DS. The Jacket has semi rigid frame which provides a hard like feel for the corner of the DS, giving the DS some protection on the side. The Silicon is thick enough and does not give any rubbery feels and the design actually looks pretty!

If you are interested in getting one of this baby, There are four color available Black, Pink, Blue and White