As reported earlier this morning, a number of DS Lite owners have complained of cracking on the left side of the hinge that connects the handheld's two screens -- and now we're one of them. As is, this distinct crack is merely cosmetic. To be clear, in our experience, the crack does not alter the performance of the hinge.
The cause of the cracking remains a mystery. We can confirm that our DS Lite has not been mishandled (i.e. dropped on to hard surfaces or sat on), but does undergo the expected daily regimen of a portable gaming device, which includes being opened and closed multiple times and transported (inside PSP sleeve) in back pockets and bags.
Currently, reports suggest that Nintendo will repair the crack for $50, which is the standard cost to repair/replace a DS Lite that has sustained damage not covered under warranty. In other words, your DS Lite's hinge could be defective by design or your puppy could maul your new toy, either way, it's gonna cost you $50. Not cool.
We've reached out to Nintendo for an official statement, but are still awaiting a response. Stay tuned.