Nintendo builds its portable game consoles with endurance in mind. The Nintendo DS's clamshell design and sturdy plastic exterior allow it to take a licking. Nevertheless, the system isn't invincible, so protective carrying cases such as the Mad Catz DS Pro-tec Kit ($25) are still popular accessories.
While the kit comes with a set a screen guards, the centerpiece is the 7-by-4-by-2-inch case. Stainless steel on one side and clear plastic on the other, the interior is heavily padded with foam rubber. The case fits the original Nintendo DS system a little too snugly, but leaves a tad too much room so the DS Lite is able to move around. Ideally, there'd be slots to store loose games or accessories. Or, at the very least, Mad Catz should have left a little more room for the system's wrist strap/thumb pad. As it is, we had to work a bit to fit it into the case along with the DS. That's disappointing, considering that the majority of DS owners utilize the wrist strap.
The case comes with a detachable shoulder strap. Because the case is too big to stuff in your pocket yet too small for a handle, the strap provides the most practical, though not the most fashionable way for you to tote around your DS when you have it in the case. That said, the case is built to withstand punishment, and it does that quite well. Drop this puppy and your DS will still live to see another day.
As noted, you also get a set of screen guards, which are of dubious value, not to mention hard to apply without trapping tiny air bubbles beneath them. . True, the bottom screen does take quite a licking, but as long as you're not a psycho with the stylus, the system's clamshell design should protect the touch screen just fine.
Bottom line: If you're looking for an added layer of protection for your DS, the Mad Catz DS Pro-tec Kit certainly fills the bill. However, we would have gladly traded the screen protectors for some internal slots to store a few games and other extra items.