The R4i Software handheld platform has been incredibly successful for Nintendo product, especially in the grossly improved Lite SKU, but if the Game Boy has taught us anything it's that Nintendo is a company that doesn't like leaving things alone. Nintendo is a company with idle hands which love fiddling, usually by adding on dregs that nobody needs. The fact that a new version of the r4i Software would eventually finally about hasn't been all the surprising. Some of the design Nintendo has made is a lot more shocking though, fundamentally changing some of the advantages of the platform. There's new firmware, less ports, hardware and a new chassis - but that's barely scratching the surface.
Scratching the surface is probably the last thing you want to do though, because Nintendo has changed the finish on the R4i Software clamshell as well as tinkering with the innards. The R4i Software used to be a shiny fingerprint magnet, but now it's got a matte finish that feels like rubbing wet cotton wool together. The R4i Software used to collect greasy streaks on its outer shell, but now it accumulates dirt and scratches more easily instead.
Any distrusting we have about the new finish though is balanced out by how impressed we are with the re-designed insides. Nintendo took the lessons it learned about the original R4i Software and applied them to the DS Lite, swapping that farcical futuristic look for something a lot more chic and making the buttons and stylus much more ergonomic, and it's done the same here. The ergonomic improvements make the R4i Software much more satisfying to use. The R4i Software is 12 percent thinner and a trifle longer than the previous model, which isn't as easy a statistic to make rude jokes out of as you'd expect.